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Gabel is an avid percussionist and has been a multi-instrumental musician most of her life. She hopes to one day perform in the “Commandant’s Own”, United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps.

Photo by Cpl. Connor Hancock

What I’ve Learned: Nickole Gabel

6 Apr 2016 | Cpl. Connor Hancock 10th Marine Regiment

Lance Cpl. Nickole Gabel, maintenance management specialist, Exercise Support Division, is an avid percussionist and has been a multi-instrumental musician most of her life. She hopes to one day perform in the “Commandant’s Own”, United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps.

> I grew up in Dallas, Texas. I love it there because there’s a good amount of diversity. It’s a big city but there are still farms and ranches nearby.

> In high school, I was on the drumline and was in [Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps]. I met a lot of great people in JROTC and still keep in contact with most of my friends. Although it wasn’t as intense as the Marine Corps, it helped me prepare.

> I had a tightly knit group of friends and we’d spend a lot of time roller skating together and playing roller derby. I started playing on a roller derby team for fun and I
enjoyed it even more when I started to get good at it. It can be a big adrenaline rush. It took me years to develop but I stayed consistent. I’d like to find a team nearby I can get involved with.

> When I was six years old my mom taught me how to read sheet music and play piano. My interest grew, and as I got older I wanted to learn percussion.

> Fortunately, my father was also a musician. He was an experienced drummer so naturally I got some tips from him.

> He taught me how to properly play a drum kit and in my middle school band I played snare drum, marimba, xylophone, and a variety of percussion accessories.

> In high school I was primarily focused on drumline. I enjoyed playing tenor drum the most but I also played snare and bass drum. We went through a lot of hot summer practices but in the end I got a lot better. The same mentality can be applied in the Marine Corps. Sometimes we struggle but it’s always worth it.

> Now I play with the Joshua Tree Philharmonic Orchestra and listen to all types of music to get inspiration. We play everything from classical to rock.

> I want to keep getting involved in more concerts with the orchestra. It’s a fun learning experience and a great way to get out of the barracks. Playing music again and meeting other musicians reminds me a lot of home.

> Music is important because each song can have a different spirit or mood. Having the power to evoke emotions in people is what makes music special.

> After seeing the “Commandant’s Own” perform, it definitely got me interested in trying out. It was motivating to see how sharp their drumline was.

> The Marine Corps has taught me to never quit or give up on your goals. My goal is to practice as much as possible while finishing up my first enlistment. Around then I should be ready to try out for the band.

> If music doesn’t work out as a career, I plan on majoring in Aerospace Engineering. I’m a huge fan of science fiction movies like “Star Trek” and “Star Wars”, and try to keep up with science news whether it’s reading magazines or online articles.

> I’ve always been into astronomy and would like to work for a private aerospace company. It would be great to be a part of a team that builds something that goes to space.

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