“A long long time ago / I can still remember how / That music used to make me smile” – Don McLean
I can remember like as if it were just yesterday that I was running home after school, searching for a big black bristol board in the closet and pasting white letters across the top spelling out the word Musician. That day we were assigned a project on what we wanted to be when we grow up. I didn’t have to think twice because I already knew that I wanted to be a musician. I believe I was in grade seven, because that was when we were able to play the instruments at school. I played clarinet, but got my friend to sign out her flute for me. I taught myself how to play the flute, as well as the piano. Anything that allowed me to play music.
I love music. My dream was to be a part of an orchestra or symphony and travel the world. I had it all planned out. I was going to see the big cities of the world by day, and by night play in the great music halls, on stage in front of thousands of people. I was going to play for ballets, musicals, famous singers. I wanted it all.
I’m not a musician. I’m not even that good anymore. I don’t remember how to play, how to read music very well. I haven’t played an instrument since high school. I’m not sure what happened and why I let that dream slide off into the side lines but I did. I kind of regret it, but I believe everything happens for a reason. But it didn’t deter me from my love of listening to music. I love all kinds – classical, rock, jazz etc. I even love what is played on the radio right now (and some of that is even questionable!)
This summer I’ve been attending jazz meet ups every so often. I think it’s an awesome concept where people get together and just play. You don’t have to know anyone, as long as to can play music, or love listening to music, you’re welcome. I think it’s mind blowing how people who have never played together before, just get together and play – and sometimes without sheet music. They just feel the music. And the sounds are amazing. Wow.
I’m working up the courage to get up and sing. Maybe when I decide to have a few drinks in me I’ll be able to. 🙂
However, sometimes I’ve noticed things not going so well at the meetups. There is always that ONE person who shows up and changes things. You know this type of person, the one who doesn’t want to play nice and wants to do his own thing? When you’re playing music within a group, being that way isn’t a good thing. It never is a good thing, but it’s somehow worse like this. There is this guy who sits there and plays his own thing. He doesn’t listen to what’s going on around him and he throws everyone off. The rest of the musicians struggle to keep the beat. It’s bad. Really bad. And when he leaves, people relax, things pick up and the place becomes lively. It’s smokin’!
Last Friday I went to see Don McClean play at the CNE. I was excited to go and hear him play his old classics like Vincent, Jerusalem, Winterwood, And I Love You So and the famous American Pie and also him playing solo. It already started out to be a gorgeous night. The temperature was warm, I was outdoors sitting on the lawn, I had great view of the stage. When Don walked onto the stage, I was even able to walk right up to the front and stand within twenty feet of him. I was pumped!! Everything was perfect!
And then about ten minutes into it, the concert took a dive. A steep incline type of dive. The concert ended up being mostly crap.
Seriously, it was. He played only a few of his old work, and then was playing all this stuff that wasn’t really him. These songs weren’t what made Don McLean “Don McLean.” It appears as if he was playing these songs to fit in with today’s music, with what most of society wants to hear. It was crap. Let me say it again….it was CRAP. At one point he started singing a song called “In A Museum” and I thought, OMG, this guy has lost the plot!! What the heck happened?!
You’re probably wondering what my lightbulb moment is in the post. Here it goes: While observing these two separate events I noticed how easily it is to get wrapped up in yourself and not notice what is going on around you and not be true to who you are. And how good music can easily turn bad when you don’t feel it anymore, when you just want to be famous. Things don’t jive, they don’t work. It’s amazing how one person can do this and ruin it for everyone around them. But what can you do? Nothing really. I guess you just have to take it in strides and wait patiently and move on. Pitty really. I wonder when the music died for them?
I did realize another thing though. I miss playing. I want to play the piano, and learn the guitar. Life is pretty hectic these days, and finding time to play will be hard – I find it difficult at times to find time to write. So I’m thinking about taking up singing lessons. I have a friend who will be able to teach me when I have time and also because it’s something I can practice anywhere, like in the shower, in the car, and even in the kitchen (should make the cooking a bit easier)! Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do!