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Daily Inspiration: Meet Noa Kahn

Today we’d like to introduce you to Noa Kahn.

Hi Noa, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to play the drums. My parents, on the other hand, didn’t like the idea so I started playing the piano at the age of six. Only five years later, I finally managed to convince them to let me take drum lessons instead. We lived in an apartment at the time and my parents didn’t allow me to own a drum set so as not to disturb the neighbors.

Luckily I had a very determined teacher. We scheduled a time to pick up my cousin’s old drums and placed them in my room without my parents’ knowledge. When my mother found out, she was shocked but miraculously agreed to keep it. Ever since I fell in love with practicing and playing the drums and have been doing so every single day for hours. Today, of course, my parents are supportive of me and my passion for drums.

I studied in a music program in high school, after which I joined the army and served as a drummer in the Israeli Army Bands. When I completed my two years of service, I was accepted to a unique program at the Rimon School of Music, called The Rimon Jazz Institute. In this program, I was able to develop and grow as a musician and continue my studies at Berklee College of Music from which I graduated with a B.A. in Music Performance.

My time at Berklee was amazing! I met some incredible people and musicians who inspired me and pushed me to become a better musician myself. Even though I only just graduated recently, I already miss the Berklee community.

I plan to move to Los Angeles in September. In the meantime, I am playing gigs across the east coast and working as a drums teacher, but I am so excited to move to LA!

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
For me, it wasn’t a smooth road since for years, my parents didn’t support my decision to pursue a career as a musician. To them, music couldn’t be more than a hobby, and my father always dreamed I would become a doctor. I had to prove them wrong by showing that I am good at what I do. I am diligent, willing to work hard and am able to pay my bills on my own.

In addition, being a female drummer is unfortunately considered unusual and at times brings with it strange interactions. It’s not just my gender. I’ve had to deal with bizarre comments regarding my height and size, as some people assume that a 4′9″ person can’t reach the drums or play loud enough.

Thankfully, in most cases people only care about how you are as a person and as a musician, and the gender/height factor is not an issue – as it should be, of course.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
My favorite music to play, and record to, is original music. Whenever I receive a new piece of music and am asked to record drums, I love coming up with different grooves and ideas in order to tell a story through my playing. It is the place for me to explore my creativity and try new concepts. I also love to be a part of the process of creating a song. It’s amazing to see how an unpolished idea turns into a full song and how the drum parts affect its overall feeling and atmosphere.

I believe that recording drums to an original tune isn’t all about the groove, although it is one of the most important elements of it. The way you hit the drums also affects the atmosphere, whether it’s the touch, the dynamics or the sound you want to create in your playing.

I enjoy playing music that moves me (whether it’s the harmony, melody or lyrics), regardless of its drum part’s complexity. My goal is to keep playing music that moves me. That’s why I started playing the drums in the first place.

Are there any books, apps, podcasts or blogs that help you do your best?
I have recently started practicing meditation, especially before bed. I noticed it helps me sleep better, and as a result I wake up the next day filled with energy. Meditation reduces stress and it’s incredibly beneficial not only for my playing, but for my mind and body in general. It affects everything I do. Dave DiCenso, my former teacher at Berklee, taught me different ways to meditate in the middle of my last academic year. It helped me stay calm and focused in a very stressful time.

I am no expert in this field at all and I definitely need to practice more but I am still able to notice its huge effect on my quality of life. I recommend it to everyone!

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Image Credits
Amir Halevi Berklee College of Music Ofek Haim

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