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Focus, Ben, focus…

October 19, 2012

After a month or so of trying to play three instruments, I have decided to cut back to two. The harmonica and banjo just fit in better with my personality and lifestyle. They are more portable: I can bring them downstairs and play them while the babies play with their toys instead of isolating myself upstairs or bringing all the babies upstairs with me while I practice. The harmonica I can actually bring to work and practice during down times. That’s a big plus. Also, the bass is more of a backup instrument. It doesn’t work very well with melodies. This doesn’t seem like a big deal unless you are playing it and realize that you are very limited in what you can play. Also, I’m not a very social person. I’m a loner, not a “joiner”, so the thought of actually having to be in a group with a leader and expectations and schedules and everything makes me nervous. If you are not interested in joining a band, learning the bass is a waste of time.

I also found it difficult to get in the amount of practice time I felt each instrument deserved. Really, an hour a day isn’t much to learn an instrument. There is a reason while Berklee College wants musicians who are majoring in performance studies to study a maximum of two instruments, not three. Even an hour and a half a day for each is just a little bit. Believe it or not, despite their “homespun” reputations, both the banjo and the harmonica are wickedly difficult to play well. When I watch the professional musicians play them I am just astonished. Also, although this might seem frivolous, it matters to me: I like the sound of the banjo and harmonica better. If you are going to be playing them countless hours, you better enjoy their sound.

I realize the bass is much more versatile. A bass player can play in any group. The harmonica and banjo are much more, ahem, “specialized” tastes. But I am not aiming for a position in Metallica. I just want to make music I like. And that is a good enough goal for me. Thankfully, the rental contract I have on the bass allows me to return it after two months, with no hard feelings or additional charges. So, I will return it and be down to two instruments.


From → My music

  1. Finding the right instrument is a lotta trial and error. That’s why they give you a payment option that lets u out of contract after 2 months. That’s about what it takes to figure out if its for you. I think with ur personality 3 is to much. U will kick ur self if you don’t devote time to it. And u already have a over flowing plate. Lol work and family need a lotta time and focus. And hobbies are suppose to be fun, not a chore. Sounds good hun. Love you.

  2. Donald Greene permalink

    Seems like a wise decision to me!

  3. Georgann Greene permalink

    Useful analysis. May you continue to enjoy your newfound interest.

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