Saying goodbye to musical instruments, part two

Last week, I shared the story of my inability to let it go of my drum set during our big basement clear out. I had succumbed to sentiment! After much deliberation, I’ve made a decision — the drum set stays — for now. There’s a deal in place, which I’ll describe in a bit.

First off, I’m going to refurbish them. They need new heads, a good tuning, some cleaning, and maybe some new hardware. (The bass pedal is older than my marriage.) Once the upgrades are done, I’m going to play a bit and see how it feels. I’ll adopt a regular practice schedule and see if I can stick to it while working off the years of rust. Perhaps my kids will express an interest. If so, I’ll provide lessons.

Now here’s the deal. If, at the end of one year, the drum set is still satisfying the definition of clutter (an item that is unused and without purpose), then away it goes. What will happen to it? There are several options for an unwanted musical instrument:

  1. Selling is the most obvious choice. These drums are very old and not worth a lot, so I’d give them to a young musician who is looking for his or her very first set. It would be nice to see them inspire a student they way they once inspired me.
  2. Donation is also an option (and I can get a tax write-off too). I’m sure a local community center, church, or school would gladly take a free drum set.

I could get real fancy and turn them into art, but that’s a bit beyond me.

Parting with sentimental clutter is never easy, but it’s something we must do eventually. Memories are more important than the things themselves and great memories are never clutter. Additionally, here’s a good opportunity to practice the concept of non-attachment. It reminds me of this little parable, the origin of which I do not know.

There was a man who kept a glass on his bedside table. He loved the glass and would look at it and think, “How lovely this glass is. When it catches the light it looks so beautiful. When it’s full of water, how lovely it appears. If I tap it with my finger, what a pretty note it plays.”

“But if I bump the table and the glass crashes on the floor, I may think, ‘Oh, of course.’ Or, I can realize the glass is already broken. Then every moment with it is precious.”

In a way, my drum set is already gone. Some day it will fall apart, or be in the dump, or reside in somebody else’s basement, or I’ll be too old or frail to play it. And that’s OK, because every moment I’ve had with it has been precious.

4 Comments for “Saying goodbye to musical instruments, part two”

  1. posted by Jorge on

    Those drums appear to be vintage ludwig’s… from what I can tell from the picture they appear to be from the 70’s, they might be worth some money if they are nicely refurbished. You can check prices on ebay or, and there are some facebook groups where you can get help to get an estimate of their worth.

  2. posted by Dave Caolo on

    Happy to read that you are considering playing for Grace and William. May or not spark interest but more importantly will create a memory for them.

  3. posted by Carol on

    As a mother, I try to refrain from interfering publicly with personal posts. Representing many years of support and pride, this is also emotional for me. So, here goes. This was your own endeavor from the start, and you took it far. Do you remember the story behind their purchase? A newspaper ad. When you committed to their purchase, a young man delivered the set to our house. I felt his own pang of separation. I asked why he was selling them. He needed money to purchase Christmas gifts for his kids. Hence, the sentiment of the previous owner added to your/our own. Glad they made the cut.

  4. posted by Melissa on

    I think that’s an excellent plan you have in place. I too am struggling with this. I have a Fender strat I bought when I was in high school. I haven’t touched it in over 10 years. My friend who played drums died of cancer less than a year after our little band formed and I never played again. The guitar and all the gear that goes along with it is currently taking up 1/2 of a closet in our guest room. We have very little closet and storage space in our home so every year when I start my spring cleaning, I agonize over keeping vs. purging my guitar. Its still there for now. I hate that it takes up space but I can’t seem to get rid of it. Maybe one day I’ll come to a conclusion that I can live with and feel good about.

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