I wouldn't describe myself as musically talented but I do play a musical instrument. I have no idea why. When asked why I play music, words generally escape me and I can't describe the attachment I have to an art that uses wave forms (and silence) as a medium to communicate ideas and emotions. I just play music.
I play music when I am sad, when I am happy, when I am indifferent and I need to feel. I play music when someone asks me too and when no one is around. I play to kill time and I play to savour every moment. I play to inspire people and I play to remind myself how far I still have to go. I play to forget and I play to remember, to relive moments - both good and bad, to remind myself of my mistakes and the triumphs the Lord has given me. Sometimes I play for fun as well.
I have no poetic reason for starting to play or some heart touching, gut wrenching reason for wanting to learn how to play music. It was actually the saxophone that caught my ear for the first time. Smooth sound, rolling notes - easy to lose yourself in. It was too loud though, the neighbours wouldn't appreciate the hours of non stop practicing. Then it was the double bass, like in those old swing bands. It was just so, well, cool. Driving rhythms, keeping everyone in check and occasionally sneaking in a cheeky comment between other instruments. In the end though it was the over driven, phased, echoing swirl of the famous Van Halen track - "Ain't talking 'bout love" - that caught me and I wanted to sound like that.
Many hours of practising, distancing myself from everything and everyone, allowed me to progress slowly. I didn't put the instrument down for the first year I owned it. I gave up skateboarding to avoid damaging my hands or wrists, I gave up partying so that I could practice longer. There was no stopping me, I was going to be a performer, I wanted to share this with the world! After a few attempts I found a band, a group of guys and a gal as dedicated to performing as I was. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times but it was something I would do all over again. Eventually we split, people grow up, priorities change and life goes on. The only way mine could go on was to stop playing.
Pretty soon the once flaming guitar become nothing more than a glory story. A moment in time that you discuss with your friends while laughing about the good old days. Dreams started smouldering and turned into smoke, retaining a steady income became a priority and before you know it you are consumed by the mundane chores of day to day life. Things were good - they were simple, simple is good. Until that day. The day I met her. All of a sudden, I had to play again. I am not sure why but I was overcome with the urge to pick up the instrument and start playing again. So I did and I played - not very well - but I played.
With the advent of computing and the transferring of everything from analog to digital it was now possible for me to record my tracks at home. I am no producer or sound engineer by any stretch of the imagination but at least now, now I could layer ideas, experiment and hold onto the fleeting moments of genius I had every now and again. After recording a few tracks, I was prompted by a few people to continue playing.
In retrospect, I now see the error in my ways as a youth. Having been educated by time and saved by God's grace I now know what I must do, it too is simple and simple is good. All I have to do, is just play.