On the Need to Make Music

Since I’m retired (whatever that means), I have more time to excavate long-ago crannies of my life.

I was reflecting on when one transitions from boy to teenager.  “One” being me, of course, as the overwhelmingly predominant source of my material.

This was in northern Canada (although the Bulkley Valley in north central British Columbia is not that far north really).

Young and impressionable, after listening to the inspiring music of the late 1960s from afar through a few records and more importantly, night-time rock radio, I longed to create the same emotions I felt.  I wanted to rock, to move people, to express truth.

I hungered to play music, to play guitar, to stir people.  There was nothing I wanted more, in the way of the young.  My failure to accomplish anything in that realm, through a combination of lack of musicality, of lack of instruction, and without proper equipment, had a rippling effect through my life that even at this remove I can glimpse. (I fear that it was mostly lack of musicality.)

I wonder if there isn’t something similar for every young person, an object or area of immense emotional sustenance if only it could be brought fully into one’s life.  In my case, I think it was rock music and guitar.  For some other young one, it might be racing motorcycles, or painting landscapes, or being a comedian.  I think there must be some such for every one, although it might only be foggily felt, or deemed too mundane or too special to receive encouragement.  There are artesian wells of yearning in the young that the adult world often tries to cap.  Or the yearning is allowed to exhaust itself through indifference.

In some ways my failure at music helped make me remote, painful, standoffish, insecure, and melancholic. Although as a teenager, this probably was the normal state of affairs!

RamblersPhoto1I was the nerd who sat and listened, the only audience in the noon-time classroom, while the school sock-hop band – voice, guitar, drums and bass – practised Secret Agent Man and Wipeout for a dance.  I couldn’t play, but at least I could listen….

The poor old school band was surprised at receiving such attention at their practice times.  There was something obsessive about it, I admit.  I always clapped after they finished playing.  They were unsure how to acknowledge their audience of one.

It is true that passion does not necessarily signify talent.  I am a good example of that.  But now in the latter half of my sixties, I learn to once more play guitar and appreciate the modest musical abilities I do have.

I am lucky enough to have some rewarding recording experiences thanks to a music teacher and producer.  It means a lot to me, and makes me want to do more.

The fountain is bubbling in my heart again, like a boy.

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Note: Image is of the band, The Ramblers, from the site GarageHangover.

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2 Comments on “On the Need to Make Music”

  1. MDW Says:

    I’m always interested to find people that have an artistic talent separate from what they have to do on a daily basis to make ends meet. They do it because they love it not because it makes them a pile of money.

    I was at the local hospital the other day and one hallway always has a display of art created by their employees. Some of it is quite good.

    As a ‘computer guy’ I find it very frustrating that the Web, with all its potential to give voice to artists that lack opportunities for wider exposure, is completely unable to fulfill that function.There is just too much chaff to be separated and companies like Google have yet to invent an algorithm to handle it. Search engines are designed around quantity and group think rather then quality and uniqueness. It’s sad really.

    Keep playing and writing!

  2. fencer Says:

    Thanks, Mark….

    That’s a good point about the chaff. From time to time I create some of it myself! But we do suffer, in North America, from too much of a lot of things including information. None of us have the time to sort all the good stuff out, and there are so many entities striving to claim our attention and money, never mind appreciation.

    I think Google more and more as a commercial enterprise is always subtly tweaking their algorithm to present their priorities (also on the basis of cookies and other mechanisms used to track me). There was one major change a few years back that sent this blog site into the dumpster in terms of coming up in a search. I have the feeling that similar changes are ongoing now again favoring commercial and retail sites.

    I wish there was more competition in useful search engines!

    Regards


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