Updated: May 4, 2021
Back in grade 8, during the recess I decided to take a stroll in the hallway of my school to stretch my legs from all the sitting for hours. As I was minding my own business I heard a rhythm pattern infused with sweet tones (a constant strum of a guitar). A senior was playing his acoustic while sitting on the desk in one of the classrooms, one leg planted on the ground and one on the seat. The moment it hit my ears my brain released a massive amount of chemical reactions. I was no longer bored, I completely forgot about my stiff body from all that sitting. Standing there listening and following his hand movements on the instrument.
That picture of him playing the guitar is till date stuck in my brain….so clear....like as if it had just happened yesterday. The guy’s name is clear to me, but his face is faint.
All the time. While I was on the way home, in the bus, during the class...all I could think was me holding the instrument, imagining how the strings would feel on my fingers, plucking away some melodic statements. I remember me going home and begging my parents to get me one guitar as soon as possible and at whatever cost. My first guitar was like a Black Knight, took care of it like a pet. Serviced and made it shine regularly. My biggest disappointment was during its first damage. The ceiling of my room was not too high and the fan hung low, as I took it out from the case, raised it up high and hit its head on the fan. The blade sliced through one of the corners but fortunately, it did not slice away one of the tuning pegs.
Sitting down in shock, I was coping up with what just happened. I was mad at myself and proud of the instrument as it was durable enough to stay intact. Maybe I just got lucky that it did not hit any delicate areas and the instrument played really well as it always does.
Ideally, a person already has a music taste from the beginning of him/her knowing what music is. I was invested in Rock n roll, Heavy metal and soon got interested in blues. I just loved the way they connected to me and I could relate to it the most; so that is where I spent my time learning. All the classic tunes from different eras. The passion and drive was so strong I used to spend hours a day not realising what time it is. I made a practice routine of exercises, songs, revisions, you name it.
Meeting new people.
For the first couple of years I just played indoors I never connected or interacted with any other musicians. I was only hungry to progress individually.
Eventually, I threw myself off the nest of my comfort zone and started to network. I met a guy in a guitar store next town. He worked there, I saw him play the guitar and I was in shock that he could play so well for someone who has only been playing for 5 months. His passion for it was twice as mine. We quickly bonded over our favourite musicians and bands and what not, he helped me meet so many more musicians from different backgrounds and tastes. You will not believe how much you learn from meeting new people, ever since that day I never hesitated meeting new people. Their ideas, beliefs and way of doing things may just inspire you all of a sudden and make you realise the importance, and implementing such habits may benefit you immensely. The passion that they show towards their artform, the background where they are from, the story of their journey...all these aspects and more can ignite a spark in you and release a boost of positivity.
Over the years, I have not been to many live performances, at least not enough. The power of seeing someone perform live is unreal, it can only be experienced; words would fail to explain. All the band members get in sync with each other, conveying the feel and emotion. The songs that you adore playing right in front of you, live, it gives a huge dose of adrenaline rush and excitement. Moreover, a place filled with people with the same taste in music amps up the atmosphere.
Struggles as a musician.
To learn any skill your mind brings up a lot of barriers involuntarily. It builds self doubts, frustrations, disappointments and countless others things. Truth is, you receive so much information on a certain topic that your physical self cannot catch up with. Your taste develops too quickly as compared to practice, this makes us impatient and makes us feel worthless sometimes.
Over the years I have learnt that giving up to that situation is a waste of time, take breaks when necessary, don't feel pressured over the progress of others, remember why you started playing in the first place, learn to enjoy the process and don't focus on the end results all the time.
Being a musician is a process of a lifetime, you cannot fully learn music, you only become efficient at it with constant efforts.