#StudiousSeptember: Dropping that Beat(box)

6 Oct

I come from a family of musicians. My mom plays the piano, my brother plays the guitar, my cousin plays the viola, my other cousin plays the cello… you get the point. When we come together for holidays, it’s like an entire orchestra. Where do I fall in this ensemble, you ask? I’m the audience.

When it comes to musicality, I’m the black sheep of the family. I played the trumpet as a child, but that was nearly a decade ago. Now, I spend most of my family gatherings wishing that I played some type of instrument. So in the spirit of #StudiousSeptember, I decided to learn a new way to make some music: beatboxing.

My own mouth is the instrument and I use that everyday, so how hard could it be? I turned to my most resourceful, trustworthy friend to help me out… YouTube. The first video I clicked on was of a man who was a ridiculous amount of talented. He began to beatbox and instructed me to clap along to the beat. I was already struggling.


After I finally got the hang of it, it was time to start the beatboxing. I was ready to drop a beat and be the cool, slick person I wanted to be. Then, the man in the YouTube video said the following instructions, “Repeat after me: cat, dog, snake.” Wait, what? This isn’t beatboxing. These are just names of animals.


I sounded silly, but I repeated. Cat. Dog. Snake.  As it turned out, this actually ended up helping. The beginning sounds of each word , it was later explained, were very common in beatboxing. So there I was, sitting in a room, learning to beatbox. Cat. Dog. Snake.

The “ca”, “da”, and “sss” sound from the words created our first beat. Remember when I though that beatboxing would be easy? This is the moment where that idea flew out the window. Trying to repeat the simplest beat was difficult, but I was convinced I was going to be the next Nicki Minaj. (She beatboxes, right?) After a few minutes of practice, I finally got the first beat down. I was the coolest person I had seen all day.


It was the simplest beat that barely sounded like beatboxing, but I was so proud of myself. I decided that it was time click on YouTube video entitled “Intermediate Level Beatboxing”, because I was definitely at an intermediate level! I pressed play on the video and quickly learned that I was NOT at an intermediate level. The simple beat went from Tss-k-ah to something that sounded like it was coming from the movie 8 Mile. Then, the instructor said to repeat after him. I didn’t even know where to start.


It was pretty apparent that I was at a beginner level, but that was okay! I had only started trying to beatbox that day and nothing ever happens overnight. I knew this was something that would take practice, but I had already taken my first step. That’s an achievement in itself!

It’s clear to me now that beatboxing isn’t as simple as making noises with your mouth. Although I’m not the expert I thought I would be, you can bet that when I go home this Thanksgiving break, I’m joining the family orchestra! Beatboxing might not be a good fit with a piano and a cello, but if Mumford and Sons can make banjo sound like pop music, we’ll find a way.

It had a great time laughing at myself throughout this entire process and it was great to sit down and try something new. So, now I’m calling on you! Learn how to knit, learn how to make balloon animals, or learn a new language. Take part in #StudiousSeptember and learn a new skill.



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