Heh bloggers, I want to write this post about where you are in life and where you haven’t been in life.
When I first started playing guitar 25+ years ago. It was like a firecracker going off. I had the big dream to be a hugely successful musician [like most people I guess], so I diligently practiced every day, learning scales, chord progressions, writing lyrics and eventually putting my first song together for a song competition.
My enthusiasm over the years to write and create music rarely waned as I continually strived to push myself to learn the art of songwriting and reach my enormous goals I had set for myself.
I have been very fortunate, as I have met some very skillful musicians during my musical journey, which I have learned many things from.
Now, I have reached a point in my life that, when I look back at my musical journey, I ask myself “have I achieved the goals I wanted to achieve, when I first picked up a guitar”. Answer to that question is a simple NO! Not even close!!
I haven’t conquered the music world or even made a dent in it and probably never will, so what does this all mean? Should I now quit what I am doing because I set my goals too high? [Not everyone can be Prince Rogers Nelson] or restructure my goals to a more suitable level for who I am and my abilities. “That sounds like a more reasonable solution”.
“Getting yourself caught up in your own fairytale can most times be motivating, but not normally “realistic”. There are pitfalls in following a fairytale”.
What then should we do to keep ourselves balanced and in check with our dreams, goals, desires and most important, what we actually have to offer?
Honesty is the first place to start. My first reality check was, “I am working on a mushroom farm as a laborer shifting up to 44 tons or 2200 bags of compost [at one stage] by hand in a day with two other workers, over a 12+ hour day“. One of the workers drove the forklift, so he got away with doing less. I lifted approximately 850 bags of compost each weighing about 20 to 25 kilo’s per bag. [Not exactly world conquering musician type of work I thought to myself].
To balance things out for me and to try to make sense of why I have worked on a mushroom farm for more than a decade and not conquered the world music stage, was to do a reality check on my musical skills and abilities. This was difficult and frightening for me, as I really wanted to be a successful musician, but my reality check was going to tell me a different story.
Might as well start at the top of the list.
Vocals – I’m not a great singer or even a good singer, I don’t have much of a range, but I can sing in tune. My lower register [Baritone] is where I get most compliments. My high range is the weakest part of my singing.
Guitar playing – I can only say I am happy with what I am able to play these days. It’s all subjective, as someone who has not played for long, may say “I am a great player”, compared to someone who has played for a long time who may consider my playing is average at best.
Piano/keyboards – I think playing keyboards may have been my strongest area if I had put more time into practicing, it feels more natural, but I just preferred playing guitar.
Songwriting – I consider myself fortunate to have learned how to write songs. It is truly a gift one should never take for granted, again classing yourself as a good songwriter is personal and to others, subjective.
Music arrangements – I consider this to be my strengths, as I have not placed any boundaries on the type of music I write, meaning I don’t write music to a specific genre.
Now that I have done my reality check, what does this all mean?
Well for one thing, after a long period of time, I’m accepting my strengths and weaknesses musically, and I place them side by side with each other. When I sing a song, I’m not hiding my vocals in the music so they can’t be heard, like I have done in the past.
The other area I struggle with is, after all these years of playing music; I am still learning to accept where I am in life [working on a mushroom farm]and where I have NOT [earning a living from music] been in life. That has been my struggle, but I am slowly merging the two worlds together into one part of my life, and accepting both as is, as one.
Happy reality checking