The Story Of An Unlikely Dream
To Become A Musician
The Story Of An Unlikely Dream
To Become A Musician
First some good news. It will take time to really know but it feels like I may have got through the enormous wall I’ve been banging my head against for the last 3 years. The signs are good though, the “feeling” of constant tension (pushing on a door that says pull kind of thing) especially when doing something new or when I go past a certain tempo but even in general does appear to be going. Or at the very least it’s reduced by an incredibly significant amount.
I can feel it but it’s more than that, I can sense myself getting more control, I can relax more (still a mountain to climb there) and I’m picking things up not necessarily faster (although that too) but much easier, I fight myself much less. I’m able to do a little more in lessons but… it’s early days and I’ll need to see consistency before I believe that particular battle has, well maybe not been won but has certainly gone from being a war to a skirmish! 3 YEARS... even I can't believe I kept fighting for that long but I WANT THIS SOOOOO MUCH.
We will see!
The bad. My anxiety is so bad I burst into tears while hoovering just because I felt so overwhelmed with all my emotions dialled up to 12 and all flowing over at the same time without any break. I refuse to try medication and so I just have to ride it out, it will pass and until then I need to hang tight and fight (literally for my life). This really is no joke and only one person in my life knows just how serious it is, so it's also very lonely and isolating. Mental illness is very cruel.
I’ve been getting my head down into my drumming exercises which is helping as it focuses me but the second I stop it’s all still there. Well if I have to suffer I may as well turn it to my advantage, right? so Ive been working even harder than normal. I’m still not sure of this years plans as that got all thrown up in the air but I know eventually the dust will settle and I’ll have my goals, direction and focus. I hope it’s soon but until I know what my teachers overall objectives are it’s hard to align them with mine. I have no doubt I will be able to as we do both want exactly the same thing, it’s just I want that AND other things and I believe I can have both.
My current plan regarding the exam has changed a little and now the idea is to not pick the songs easiest or that I like most but pick songs that will serve my ultimate goals (short term & long term) best. I may not do the exam at all though, if my teacher isn’t behind me then I will wait but in all likelihood by the time he does think I’m ready I won’t think it holds enough benefit. However if that happens it really doesn’t matter I will move forwards one way or another as well as continuing to strengthen my foundations, fill the gaps and get myself out of this beginner phase once and for all!
But back to the current plan, I’ll “assume” I’m going to do it and evaluate (with my teacher) the elements, skills etc that I’ll need to focus on, work on, develop and learn in order to reach the point where I have enough ability I can apply them to the exam songs. Only THEN will I start learning the songs themselves, that will inspire me to kick my own behind to get there. One more step in the plan but one designed to drive me even more and it's something I learned from doing Grade 7 so I'm simply applying it again. My thought process currently is to do this with exercises & songs suited to my current level within each technique/skill etc and then keep pushing that up as FAST as possible. I hope to work on that with my teacher because he'll have ideas too and experience that matter very much to me. I can't learn without listening! Learn-grow-go ... so work first and then when the time is right I'll go for it but the goal is to make that time ASAP.
Again we will see!!
Finally I’ve asked my bass teacher if we can take one song and really push it, slowly but surely which is totally the opposite approach to what I just described for drums but there’s a reason for that. It’s a song with both slap and finger style, not too hard but still a challenge to get solid. In this instance I see sitting on this song as a way to work on the technical side of my slap and fingerstyle and my confidence. I believe by focusing on this it will open up both styles of playing to much faster development afterwards. I’m never against going slow – as long as ultimately it will make me go faster, it’s just a question of evaluating if long term I’ll get to my destination faster one way or the other and being careful to select the right project for the method. In that regard all I can do is know ME best, use my experience and judge when I think I will get more from one or the other. We will only be doing this half the lesson so there will still be plenty of progress in other areas too and he's already working with me on my bass targets for the year. It's actually a little scary as I feel even more accountable now but that's good right!?
I trust my teachers, they are amazing at helping me learn but I trust my methods too. I've spent 30+ years teaching just one single student... ME and I've learnt a lot in that time. You should see me clean the house (on the rare occasions I do!) none of my kids or my hubby can understand how I do it but I can do it 10 times faster and yet still 10 times better than they can combined. My method is exactly the same I’m applying here, exactly the same as I applied in my business (I could always do my staffs jobs 20 times faster, it was so frustrating) and the same as I did in my old accountancy job (my boss got cross at me for doing his job and mine more efficiently while he was on holiday because his boss picked him up on it, I SWEAR I would never have done that on purpose, it’s just who I am). I organise better, shop faster, I can solve just about anyones problems (except mine, haha no I do solve mine it's just a little more complicated) and I'm superbly efficient when I want to be.
It just takes time to work out what the most efficient methods are to apply to my current situation as it's far more complex because I’m learning a LOT that all needs to be connected. However I'm learning more about that every day by paying good attention to what my teachers tell me and evaluating which elements work and which don't and WHY and applying that knowledge to my personal teaching method.
One final thing. I had a teacher I hated at school who taught Social Science, he hated me right back and I couldn't learn from him. Of course that was all my fault (only teacher who I didn't get on with like a house on fire was him) and his prediction for my final grade was an F. I moved school and they didn't do Social Science so I took it upon myself to do the exam independently. I taught myself and did the projects I had to, completed the assignments and took the final exam and got a C. I did this while battling problably my most severe episode of depression & anxiety ever. My point is I've always struggled to learn like my peers and yet I have 10 GCSE's grade C or above, A GNVQ Advanced in Art & Design and an A in A-Level Accountancy. I can learn it's just I have to figure out HOW to make it work for me. Good teachers (my accountancy teacher was amazing!) make my life easier (my current teachers ALL fit into this category) bad ones make my life so much harder but I get there either way.
Learning Time Log
How long I've been learning as at at the end of Mar 2021.
What's This About?
One fateful day I decided to get guitar lessons. 6 years later I'm learning four instruments and trying to become a musician and songwriter. I 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!