I started playing the piano when I was five years old, I played the violin and cello for a couple of years as a pre-teen then found my love in the guitar around fifteen. Since then I’ve tinkered around between playing the guitar and the piano and only recently in the last few years decided to give my vocal chords a try.
I play guitar for about one to two hours every day and I tend to sing along to covers and originals. I do voice coaching now four times a week and I can’t wait to finally get my piano next week now that I have settled into my new place.
What is interesting is that even only until a few months ago I rarely performed for anyone. I was nervous I wasn’t good enough and always felt the need for further polish and perfection before wanting to let the cat out of the bag.
After all, what if I started singing and people around me scrunched up their faces in agony. I didn’t want to be one of those guys that thinks he’s awesome when really it’s like listening to fingers down a chalkboard.
Slowly over time I have built the confidence to start singing for others, playing for others and I must say that it has become much easier. I don’t always start strong but as I relax and get into it, I find this overwhelming sense of calm and presence sweep over me and suddenly it doesn’t matter what they think.
As I play and sing more and more for strangers, randoms and my friends, I can see that it has become more of a natural flow to just break out a song and feel confident about letting go from the first note.
It turns out that some of my friends think I’m not bad at this performing business and it was nice to hear about their own musical aspirations. It seems we all want to bond around music whether it’s performing, creating or just listening to it. It connects souls, brings people together and it stirs emotions and the mind.
I’m working towards building my music career and creating original music so I can proudly state that, my name is Paul and I’m a musician.
To me, music is the one thing that can’t be taken away from me (unless I completely lose my mind). It’s not a car, a job, a new gizmo or even a person. I don’t have to worry about it letting me down, becoming ‘broken’, outdated or disappoint me. There’s always a new melody, a new lyric, a new beat that can lift my soul again. It’s my way of telling my story, my opinion and my emotion that connects with people, each on a very different level.
What surprises me however is when my friends and others who admire my efforts say with a slight dejection/regret/remorse that they wish they had the time/energy/resources to get better at their own music. They have a slight sense of admiration/envy not because they wish evil upon me but because just perhaps I represent something within them which they have suppressed. I know this feeling because I too have felt (and at times still feel) this of skilled musicians.
I think we always have enough time, energy and resources. What we lack is the courage to make it a priority. You might want it – but just not as much as the other things you have around you. If it meant being able to breathe in the world like music does for me, it’d be in your space first and foremost.
When I tell people that I sometimes sit all day and play my guitar and write music and they look at me as if that’s a luxurious/lazy thing to do. To them it’s what one does in their ‘spare time’. Spare time? What the hell is spare time?
Maybe your music is writing or sport or building a company or a work of art or gardening or toy trains. Whatever it is, there isn’t spare time in life, just time – your time.
Do the things that make you feel alive, including the work you get paid for. Don’t feel overwhelmed, just make the conscious decision to prioritise.