The Story Of An Unlikely Dream
To Become A Musician
The Story Of An Unlikely Dream
To Become A Musician
It's been nearly 2 years since my very first lesson, I can still remember clearly how much my fingers hurt after just 45 minutes of trying to do a couple of simple chords. I remember clearly how hard it was to do a C chord and the G really wasn't happening! I remember my first hammer on attempts being completely soundless. I remember the early tears of frustration the feeling like I would never do it but that I could never give up trying. I remember the joy every time I could do something new and the pleasure making any kind of non-offensive sound gave me. It's gone by in a flash and yet at the same time it's been an incredibly huge amount of work and it's been such a joy.
Here are ten things I've learnt so far.
1) Playing one instrument can hugely benefit learning another. Learning them at the same time requires a serious amount of dedication, hard work and commitment but they all help with each other. The drums are helping me with timing and dynamics, the guitar with finger strength, expression, melody and rhythm. The piano with melody, loosening up my fingers, rhythm and the bass with syncopation (something I REALLY struggle with on all instruments I find slightly easier on bass although I've no idea why).
2) I really like playing bass, it's something I was very surprised to learn about me. And I LOVE playing drums (I wasn't surprised about that)!
3) Playing music can unlock other creative aspects of your personality, it can help with mental health issues (I knew that was the case from past research but to actually experience it is really amazing). It's helped me understand myself more than the rest of my life combined and it's building my confidence slowly, not without blips, but it's so important.
4) The guitar is a seriously difficult instrument to play and takes a lifetime to learn a tiny portion of what you could. It's a beautiful instrument with so many options and it requires a lot of love to play, really play not just strum out a few campfire tunes! It takes a physical toll, a mental toll and demands you love it regularly or it punishes you but if you do give yourself over to the love then the guitar will reward you hugely. It's a true friend. I'm sure others feel the same way about their instrument but the guitar is my true love.
5) I suck at timing, I suck at rhythm, I suck at technique ... but I can still play. You can be absolutely rubbish, with no talent what so ever and you can learn to play. It requires more work than others perhaps but learning an instrument will require a lot of work from everyone eventually, no-one has enough natural talent that they won't have to put the effort in at some point. Being rubbish has the advantage that if you can train yourself to stick with it and work hard from the beginning you always will.
6) Theory is cool - I did a whole post on why here so I won't go over that again. I love learning how things work so it's no surprise I like theory what is surprising is that it's just not just interesting it's actually very very cool and I'm excited for when I can really start to apply it. I already am of course a little when I look for a new voicing or when I try to figure out what chord I'm playing when I just noodle around. When I think about where I want my 'story' to go I'm starting to think in minor or major chord or 7ths etc.
7) Calluses are annoying things. It's cool that I can now play for hours and hours without getting sore fingers but these things are irritating. After a shower my fingers look like they've been in a fight with a blender and lost. They constantly come off, I'm shredding myself all the time. They take FOREVER to really build up, the number of times in the early months I'd be getting some pretty cool calluses only for them to come off and the whole thing to start again. Although a thick layer will still come off now on a regular basis they are so deep it doesn't affect things any more.
8) I thought I had little interest in funk music - I LOVE funk music. I wasn't dismissive when my teacher introduced me but I wasn't very enthusicastic. To be fair (sorry mate!) but he is a little stuck in the past with it, I mean the stuff he likes is very very cool but on it's own I couldn't listen all day, BUT,,,,,!! Add a dash of pop, a little heavy metal, some serious rock, some ska, some jazz & a dozen other genres. Give it all a good shake up and you suddenly have a wicked collection of tunes that you (I) can listen to for days without getting bored. I'm going to do a funk bands post soon!
9) I like jazz a lot more than I thought I did (I can see both my teachers being a little smug about that!) but I still HATE traditional 'play at different times, impro like no one else is playing with you, weird timing, no melody that I can discern' Jazz. I don't mean to offend anyone by that it's just that's how it sounds to ME. But I like - no love - jazzy chords and sounds and I think I will like it more as I go. But I will never ever like jazz club type jazz.
10) I can write music (I need a shock emoticon here!) - so so cool! Given the nature of this blog that seems like a stupid thing to be surprised about but up until about 6 months ago maybe less the idea of actually writing music wasn't something I considered. In fact at first I actually fought it (so that's another thing I owe but this time to my other teacher) and didn't enjoy writing (yes seriously!). It's something I find very difficult because of the way my brain works. Consider that I find a simple decision very very hard so writing with all the billions of possibilities is so overwhelming. I over complicate the simplest of things which is also an issue etc etc on and on. But I can do it, if I can anyone can, again it's just going to require different levels of work and commitment for different people. It's very very very very very very very (you get the idea?) COOL. Think of it this way, you wake in the morning and it's another day. You play around on your instrument/s and an idea begins to form it's maybe simple but it grows, you grow it, then it grows some more, it evolves time and time again and then suddenly a song exists. It's there in the world and YOU made it happen. It doesn't matter if people don't listen to it, doesn't matter if they don't even like it as long as you do because it will always be your creation. And getting better and better is a wonderful feeling, so no matter how bad I am at the start (right now!) I will always have this wonderful journey behind & in front of me. That's special right?
There you go, ten (maybe boring, maybe not) things I've learnt in the last two years. I'm sure in two years time I'll be posting another ten - I look forward to it. 4.5 years to go until the big day arrives and in some ways it feels so far but in others it's approaching way to fast. 6 months has gone by in a flash and I have so so very far to go. I respect that each instrument is a huge challenge to learn on their own, doing them all together already requires a serious commitment from me and it's going to get harder.
Learning Time Log
How long I've been learning as at at the end of Dec 2020.
What's This About?
One fateful day I decided to get guitar lessons. 5 years later I'm learning four instruments and trying to become a musician and songwriter. I've set a five year goal (Aug 2021) to create a very special song for my 25th wedding anniversary and this is a record of my crazy journey, weird thoughts, strange doodles and unapologetic music obsession! Enjoy!