Years ago, I could muster the basic guitar chords and play a few rhythms, making my friends feet tap to some cool ‘get down on it’ staccatos. Their praise made my head swell, man, I was it, and just as I scaled the ‘top of the pedistal’, one day my mother asked me to go buy bread at the corner store. En-route, on a street corner, I saw a commotion, people gathering around something curious that was happening – to my jaw-dropping amazement it was two buddies from four streets away who were playing my favourite jazz numbers effortlessly, as if a higher power taught them these difficult chords and rhythms, worst of all, playing songs that I found too difficult and could only whistle at the time!!
Pulling away from the crowd silently, for fear someone could spot me and coax me to play with, I got a scolding from mum for being away for an hour – but that was soft compared to my hurt, realizing my music world has just crumbled to pieces, the guitar I was playing was not worth six five-cent strings!
It taught me a valuable lesson: climbing a ladder from step number four will result in torn pants – embarrasment! humiliation!
So what did these guys have that I didn’t have at that stage? Not a whole lot of difference, but they had something valuable: their heroes. They listened, studied, mimicked, dug their heads into their jazz heroes until they lived them out on their instruments. On the other hand, all I had was just a few friends that I wanted to keep happy.
Do you know that human behavior is such that one always finds an excuse at someone else’s expense to cover one’s own incapability?
For a while I reasoned that:
– I was better schooled than them, they dropped out.
– Let them play guitar on that corner forever, one day I will have a degree.
– I was brought up better than these “unchurchly” blokes, I will sing in a choir one day
…All these lame excuses, when all in all, it was a deadly dose of jealousy mixed with disappointment in ME.
What haunted me most was that I couldn’t get away from this thing, because me and these guys HAD A COMMON LOVE: MUSIC. And from that day I started honing my mentality towards music, learning the heroes, their careers, paging through their albums, tracking their paths, studying the ups and downs of their personal and professional lives and see where and how I could fit myself into their experiences. All these digging had one thing in mind: PROGRESS ONE STEP AT A TIME.
Valuable lessons are learned only on roads filled with trials and errors! Easy roads lead many-a-time to over-ripeness!! Sometimes I marvel at young, upcoming people who think they can “go it alone” musically. Sure, you will create your own identity, your own brand of style, maybe you could end up being a One-hit-Wonder, who knows, but all of this can only be done in the greater scheme of things. Not to digress, I guess we can all learn a lesson or two from the Lion King, okay!
It’s imperative that it be a painstaking task to sort out the real you in music and not run the risk of “blowing yourself up” like a balloon doll, becoming musically SO big that a small needle is all it takes to burst your ‘larger-than-life’ music world to pieces.
The music planet out there is so much bigger than all of us, so don’t be duped into thinking that you ‘have arrived’, and that you are the cat’s whiskers, when in fact you only started out yesterday!
* Allow your “smallness” to grow into “BIGNESS”!
* Dont flabbergast!
* Dont allow others, especially those closest to you to put you on music pedistals you should not be on yet – the fall could be hard!!
* A key from me personally is: ask music what it requires you to do, and NOT what you want to do with music – that okay?
Trust me, I could write a book on this, but to conserve space and keep your interest (hopefully!) lemme shut the funk up here and allow you to drift on this topic in the comfort of your own mind…next time around, I would wanna discuss some freaky, mad ways to enhance your creative world…Bye for now.