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The Greatest Music Store in Town

Anne is a freelancer with a passion for writing and helping others by writing about important topics and issues.

The Passion of Music

Drumming is one of my biggest passions.

Drumming is one of my biggest passions.

Introduction

The following is a "letter" that I wrote to the manager of the company from my favorite music store. I reflected on the amazing experiences I had at the store and how it had become such an important place in my life at the time. I hope this story also brings you the same happiness as you reflect on your own "happy place" that you have, wherever it may be.

The Letter

Dear Sammy,

I wanted to take the time to write to you and share my story and personal experience with Sam Ash Music Stores. A little over a year ago, I mustered up the courage to go to the Sam Ash and ask about drumming. At 28 years old, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted out of life, I was married, living a life I had built for myself for six years, but it always felt like there was something missing. To this day, I don’t know what inspired me to be so brave and walk through those doors on that day, but it is a day I will never forget for the rest of my life, because that is the day that changed my life.

When I was about 14 or 15 years old, I can remember going to that store whenever I was feeling depressed, and I instantly felt so much better once I got inside. It was always something about the atmosphere: the sound of music playing as soon as you walk in, shiny instruments from wall to wall and displays that catch your eye, the staff greeting me as soon as I walked in the door. Something about that place was always so comforting to me as a teenager. More than 10 years later, it felt almost crazy to be walking in there and seeing everything again, but I will never forget the feeling of walking in there again for the first time. My heart was pounding in my chest, I was excited and nervous at the same time, and I didn’t really know what to expect. As I made my way back to the drum room, something came over me; this rush of energy, this feeling, this sense that I was in the right place. I still can’t get over the beauty of everything around me in that place, even today; the way the light glistens on the top of a crash cymbal, or the way a new electronic kit makes you instantly happy to see; the way you can look at a kit and feel like it is somehow calling your name, beckoning to be played. There is something beautiful and romantic about it. There something absolutely alluring about knowing how many footsteps have walk past the guitars, or the drum kits, and made memories happen. When I made my way to the counter on that first day, I was immediately greeted with a smile and almost instantly we started talking about drum lessons. I set up my first lesson and left the store that day feeling excited for the future ahead of me; I could feel in my heart that something great was about to happen.


My First Lesson

The day of my first lesson is probably one of my favorite moments spent in the Sam Ash, because it was the day I realized that this was going to be a forever thing for me; this what something I had committed to without even realizing it at first. I honestly had no idea what was ahead me in this journey, but as soon as I sat on the throne and looked at the amazing sight in front of me, I think I fell in love. Right there in front of me, the beautiful, shiny cymbals, the snare, the toms that looked aged, but in a good way; like they had been played and loved and used for a long time. The way everything felt; it was magical. The moment I played my first beat, I felt this adrenaline rush through my body; this feeling that all of a sudden I was on top of the world. I thought to myself; this is where I want to be, always. For the first time in my life, I felt like this was my moment; I was in control. There was an intrinsic motivation building inside of me that I didn’t even know I had and it kept building and growing with every new visit to the store.

I think one of the things I was initially worried about when I first started my lessons was not getting the support I needed. But here, I got all that and more. The team at Sam Ash have always been supportive of me and are always pushing me to do more, to be more. I feel so inspired every time I go there because they work so hard to make customers feel like more than just customers; they create an environment where you almost feel like they are a part of your family. There is never a dull moment walking in there every single day, because this place is more than just a store; it is a place where memories are made, where conversations about music last an eternity, where time doesn’t even matter. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked in there and left 4 or 5 hours later thinking; where did the time go? Sometimes I even joke with the people there that I live there, because sometimes I feel like I do. Even at closing time, there is this beauty about the place that I can’t get over. When the air is warm on spring and summer evenings outside, and I can sit outside looking out in the parking lot in front of me and have long conversations with my friends about music and life and just about anything else. Those little moments that I share with the people that work there mean the world to me.

Atmosphere

The atmosphere of the music store is exciting and beautiful.

The atmosphere of the music store is exciting and beautiful.

Buying My First Kit

The best day of my entire life was the day I bought my first kit. It was a beautiful, sunny day, the kind of day that makes you feel hopeful. I walked in and started looking around at the kits, playing each one; listening, really listening to the way they sounded; deciding what I liked and didn’t like. Then, there it was, right in front of me; the shiny, beautiful PDP kit that I had been eyeing. I sat in front of it and started to feel the rhythm surging through my soul; one hit on the toms and I was sold. They had this deep, big sound that I was looking for. The crash sounded crisp and fresh. I think looking for a kit is a lot like buying a car. You’ve got to test it out, you’ve got to make sure everything feels right for you. This one was the one. When I left the store, I felt high on life; nothing was going to damper my mood that day. I always look to that day, the day I bought my drum kit, as the real turning point for me.

I set up my kit in my office at home and began to explore all of the possibilities; I started practicing every day after work. At the time, I lived about thirty minutes from Sam Ash, so I was only able to make it out there once or twice a week maybe, so my office became my sanctuary. Anytime I was having a horrible day, or feeling depressed, I would just go into my office and play for four or five hours at a time, letting the music take me to another place. I learned how to play some songs, I started grooving to some drumless tracks I found online, and even recording myself. I even started a Youtube channel to not only post some things I had been practicing, but to document my journey as a drummer and a person.

About half a year later, after hours spent practicing in my office with my kit, I was about to make one of the biggest decisions of my entire life. Even with all of these great things happening for me, I still had a lot of tough things going on in my life at the time. I am a high school teacher, and I was experiencing one of the hardest years of my teaching career. Not only that, but I was also dealing with a lot of personal issues. My husband and I were experiencing a lot of problems in our marriage, and after years of living with it, I was finally ready to leave that life behind. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made in my entire life, and one of the most difficult battles I have had to face in my life, but to this very day, I credit drumming and my unwavering love and passion for this new piece of my life as being the thing that got me through it all. Even on my darkest days, I would still go into my office and continue working on my rudiments or practicing a new rhythm. I refused to give up on myself, and that is a lesson that I learned with my time spent at Sam Ash. Drumming gave me the courage work out all of the problems that were going on in my personal life, and even when it felt like the world was shattering around me, still, I continued drumming. I found my hope and strength in the Sam Ash. Sam Ash became my home away from home. I don’t think I could have ever gotten through and fought these hard battles in my life without it; without the people, the atmosphere, and the beautiful memories I have made at Sam Ash.

Finding My Strength

Somewhere between learning my first beat and buying my kit, I became a strong woman. Someone who wasn’t afraid of the future and of change, but someone willing to embrace that change and make a better life for myself. The person I was before drumming and before becoming a “regular” at the Sam Ash is not the same person that writes to you today, and that is something I credit to my time spent at Sam Ash, not just drumming, but thinking, really thinking about life and where I wanted to be. I remember sitting in front of an electronic kit one day, practicing, and all of a sudden, this realization came to me. It was like a light had turned on in me somewhere, like I had finally figured out something really important. I think that you can have a lot of spiritual moments in there; moments where you realize these amazing truths about the world around you. This place is a place where I have found a new reason to believe that there is something bigger out there, something bigger than myself, bigger than the people, and the instruments. There is something in there that makes me believe, every single day, that there is beauty, and love, and passion, peace in this world, and it is right here, in Sam Ash. That’s why this store means so much to me. It is so much more than a place that I started taking lessons and drumming; it is a place where I found myself. It is a place where I found a home, a family, and friends I truly love deeply with all of my heart.

When I finally moved out of my house, I moved to my own little apartment in Henrico, coincidentally right down the road from my favorite place in the world, the Sam Ash. I started going to Drum Club on Monday nights and jamming with other people. I started connecting with other drummers, meeting new people, and now I am embarking on a new journey: joining a band. It was in that store one night at Drum Club that I met my bandmate. We hit it off almost immediately, something about the way he played guitar just spoke to me, and we instantly connected. We formed a connection in that store, and I am truly grateful for that and all of the amazing experiences that I have had there just for that. Being in a band was an aspiration that I have had since I was a teenager, but I never thought that it would come true. Now, I feel like things are finally coming together for me, and this is why I truly think that Sam Ash is a place where dreams can come true.

I can’t say enough about how much the associates at Sam Ash have helped me grow as a musician and as a person over the past year and a half. It always makes my day to walk into the store and be greeted by their friendly faces. Buddy Bryant, manager of the drum shop there, is one of the reasons that I stayed. When I felt like quitting, when I felt like I couldn’t go on anymore, he kept pushing me, motivating me, and inspiring me to do and be my best. I am so\ grateful for everything he has done for me in my life, and I look to him as a source of inspiration in everything I do. I see how hard he works to help every customer in the Sam Ash feel like much more than a customer, but a friend. Buddy is the type of person that would go out of his way to help any person in need, and that’s what makes him such a great associate at the Sam Ash. He truly puts passion and love into everything he does, and I so admire him for that. I don’t think that store would be quite the place that it is without his unwavering love, passion, and knowledge.

Lifestyle

Drumming is more than just a passion; it is a way of life.

Drumming is more than just a passion; it is a way of life.

A Great Teacher

My drum teacher, Kevin, has also been a big source of inspiration in my life. I remember my first lesson with Kevin. Almost instantaneously, we connected on a deep level. He was the perfect teacher for me because he knew and understood me, respected me, and most of all, he kept encouraging me. On days when I went into my lesson feeling like I wasn’t doing so great, he always managed to show me something and when I did it, he would always tell me that I really had something; the way I am able to take something he shows me and make it my own; or the way I am able to learn so quickly from him, but really, it’s the way he teaches. The way he breaks things down. Not only that, but hearing all of the stories that he shares with me about touring with bands, hearing the knowledge that he has to share with me is something I look forward to with every lesson. During my toughest times, Kevin was not only there for me as a teacher, but as a friend, a companion, someone I could go to about any problem I had, and I knew he would find a way to help me with it.

Then there are all of the countless others at Sam Ash who instill in me a love and passion for music and who make going there every day a joy for me. I always tend to make the rounds when I go in there, because I truly enjoy just striking up conversations with the people that work there. I could spend hours in there just having those little moments with the associates, talking for hours about music, about instruments, about life, about love, about passion. That’s what makes it all worth it; the people, the community that lives inside of that store is a big part of why I continue to go there.

This place is so much more than a music store to me, it is my home. I found myself and my life at the Sam Ash, and I am forever indebted to this place for being that place for me; where every new and exciting experience that I have there every single day is another reason for me to love and enjoy life, to feel that I have a purpose in this world. I can’t say enough about what this place has done for me, what drumming has done for me, what all of these memories and moments that I have shared with people in the store have meant to me. This place truly changed my life, saved my life, made me a better person. I thank God every single day for that.

Conclusion

So for me, the Sam Ash has taught me so many important lessons, not just with learning to play the drums, but with life. I had spent so much of my life not living the way I wanted. I didn’t love myself before I started drumming. In drumming, I learned how to love myself, and I found the love I had always been searching for at Sam Ash; a love that runs deep through my bones and surges through my soul and echoes through the store as I sit there and play. I am now a strong woman, unafraid of what’s ahead of me, and with every beat, every count, every rhythm, I am writing my story, following my dreams, living life to the fullest all because of this store. My story isn’t over yet, it is just beginning, and I am so thankful and blessed to be able to share this experience with you today.

Lastly, I wanted to take a moment to personally thank you for making all of this possible. I can’t thank you and your family enough for creating a place in which all musicians can go and not just buy instruments; but to create a life, a journey, a story. Sam Ash is not just a music store, but a place filled with that love and passion for music that never stops, never ends. Every single day, there is a new story being made right inside that store, a new customer walks in; maybe a young girl or boy excited about taking their first lessons, maybe an older musician looking to get back into music after years of not playing; maybe it’s someone like me, unsure of the future ahead but sure that this is the place that will start everything for me. This is the kind of place that your company has created; a place where the music never stops.


© 2022 Anne Marie Carr

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