You know what sucks? Self doubt. Fear. Insecurity. Dependence.
I’ve been noticing this pattern lately… small blips of momentum which last for just shy of 24 hours before they’re crushed by some overbearing, seemingly negative does of logistical reality. Like “wow, what a great opportunity!” being crushed by “Well whose going to play with you? You’re not good enough to carry it on your own. It’s going to cost you money.”
I have a current mission. That mission is to learn the guitar and be competent enough to play my whole written catalogue as well as some covers. The goal: to be a self-sufficient-independently-capable musician. See, like most of you, I grew up taking piano lessons. And like most of you, I quit them around the age of 10. Now, to be fair, I never stopped playing piano. Thanks to my Grandmother on my father’s side, I was blessed with a pretty good ear and kept teaching myself and figuring stuff out on my own. Thanks to my underdeveloped but know-enough-to-get-by piano skills, I started writing songs and have made it this far professionally as a singer / songwriter. I guess it’s not too shabby - I’ve written with some amazing folks and my songs have been able to sprout wings and go as far as to major network television. But as an artist… I’ve got this handicap. I’m sick of having to hum the root note of the chord I’m hearing so someone with a more diverse skill set than me can try to translate my musical idea.
I want to be able to stand there, sing my song with no one else standing next to me and not have it be an acapella performance. I want to be able to sit on a bar stool in the corner with a tip jar. I want to be able to play an introduction that people recognize. I want to be able to set the rhythm and tempo of my performance on my own and vary it based on feel.
If you wonder where I’ve been recently, I’ve been learning. I can play most of my stuff now - I’m just waiting for the whole singing WHILE playing thing to click. The last piece to the puzzle will be when my rhythm hand develops a confident detachment from my vocal sensibilities. It’s happening - slower than I’d like, but coming along day by day.
I’ve also been booking shows. From May of 2012 forward, it’s game on when it comes to gigs. Want me to come play near you? Send me a message and if you confirm a date for me, there’s a lovely commission in there for you.
But more than anything, I’ve been learning the art of hard work and patience. It’s such a challenge to know what you need to do but also to know that no matter how much work you put into something, it has to come along in it’s own divine, developmental timing. I’m twenty four which aint old but I sure as heck am not as quick a learner as I was back in the day when I was taking those piano lessons. I bought my guitar 4 years ago but am only just now looking forward to picking it up and identifying the noises coming out of it as actual music. Who knew! There’s a lot of inner cheerleading happening and a lot of repetition of the ‘little engine that could’ mantra . Nevertheless, you’ll see me on stage with a guitar in my hand within the next thirty days.
A friend of mine from college texted me the following today and if you knew her you’d know how out of the blue this is. She’s a die hard music lover but has never played an instrument. The conversation went something like this…
Amber: “Bought a banjo today.”
Me: “Shut up.” (dumb thing to say. She wasn’t talking. She was texting… nevertheless…)
Amber: “Just have to learn how to play it now.”
It’s never too late to broaden your horizons and adopt a new skill set. With the resources we have these days, there’s no excuse not to. I’m about to move and I literally could forego cable in my new place having found all the free - make yourself a better musician - lessons at my fingertips. As a matter of fact, if it weren’t for Storage Wars, my mind would already be made up.
I’m well on my way to becoming better at what I do and feeling a heck of a lot better about myself and my credibility. I can’t wait to play for you. And maybe Amber will sit in one of these days… I’ll give her four years.
Love x 3