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I finally go off the deep end

October 8, 2012

I couldn’t help myself. I ordered a cheap banjo and a book teaching me how to play it. You are no doubt wondering several questions.

Do I have the time for another instrument? Well, it’s all about time management. Even with all the things I have to do, I have plenty of free time. I just need to use it better. Consider this: I probably have played three hours a day for the last three years on my favorite video game. Much like an instrument, it requires intricate fine motor control and lots of time to master. I have transformed myself through constant daily effort into one of the most feared players in the world at my position. Really. It’s a big world. With that time alone, I could get very good at the three instruments I want to focus on: the harmonica, the upright bass and the banjo. Thankfully, the game is getting boring for me compared to the fun of playing my instruments. My goal is an hour a day on all three instrument. (Sorry drum, you are in the “just for fun” category.) Also, I have spent between half an hour and several hours every day for the last eleven years studying foreign languages. No longer. Music is my passion. Music is much more practical than mastering an obscure video game or learning a difficult language of a place far away that I may never visit. With all my responsibilities at work and at home, traveling to foreign countries is increasingly impractical.

Music is helping me be more happy and content. I don’t feel as sad and frustrated as usual lately. I think having hobbies to work on has been a major help to my emotional health. Much of the world is totally out of my control. My business income, whether or not my clients appreciate my effort, whether the juries acquit my clients, those things are totally out of my control. But my music is something I can work on mastering. I also love how it ties the generations together. It is something every age can enjoy. My mother, both Michelle’s grandmother and parents, my older daughter and son, Tyler, Joseph, and now the babies all love to play instruments. Soon we will get something for Tayler as well. There is no other passion we can all share. Anybody want to hear about my high score on my video game?

Why the banjo? Well, there are several reasons. I like the sad and old fashioned sound of the banjo, much like the mournful tunes of the bass and harmonica. If you know me, I am a pretty sad person myself, so those instruments fit my personality. Also, I have always loved history, so learning to play historical instruments that are no longer in fashion suits me well as well. Plus, I don’t want to be the 5321st best guitar player in Bakersfield. I never want to run with the herd. I always have followed my own heart and wanted to be the best in the community at something. So popular instruments like the violin, piano, or guitar are out. I would rather be the fifth best banjo player in Bakersfield out of eight than in the middle of a pack of thousands with the guitar.

Plus, now I have an instrument in each register: The alto register for the harmonica, the middle register for the banjo, and the low register for the bass. I am a bluegrass band unto myself. If I get good at those three instruments, I will be able to play every type of “roots” music from the blues to bluegrass to gospel to country. Every one of those bands could use my talents someplace.

Finally, if it makes me happy and only brings joy to others, how bad can it be? How much time, money, and effort have I wasted on projects both personal and professional that ended up in failure? I hate to even think about it. Even if in three months I throw my instruments in the trash and never think of them again, it won’t come close to the money, effort and time I have wasted on things that never panned out in my life. In the meantime, lately my house has been filled with music. Everyone practicing their instruments in the evenings is beautiful. My children are doing something I can wholly support. By learning new instruments myself, I am being a good role model.

It works for me.


From → My music

  1. Georgann Greene permalink

    I am excited for all of you. Music brings people together. It is a wonderful way to connect with others. Music has been central to who I am all my life. Music gives my life purpose in my retirement. My music really adds to the spiritual experience during mass. It is a rewarding feeling to know you can touch people’s hearts with your instrument and a song. I feel very much appreciated in this little church for my musical offerings. This acceptance has been central to making this island home for me. Best wishes to all in your new adventure. May it bring you contentment and joy.

    Love, Mom

  2. Donald Greene permalink

    It makes sense to me.

  3. I believe your going in the right direction honey. When video games irritate you more and you find more peace with music. Follow your passion. Time management yes, is very important. As there’s a lot of people here that need your “time” to. Love you honey. I’m proud of you and support you.

  4. Lynn Metzler permalink

    Music is soothing to the soul !! More power to ya love mom

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