My initiation to a musician’s world happened at a thankfully early age, compared to several of my peers. My sister gifted me a Spanish acoustic guitar for a very young birthday, and being able to pluck strings nonchalantly without making any kind of sense still made me instantly cooler than the rest of my seventh grade classmates. As wannabe-ish as that might sound, in my defense, I always felt extremely strongly about music and the thrill it produced in my adolescent mind.
A sincere, no-holds barred attempt to learn and master the fret-board soon began; but I learned very early on, that tutors were more interested in filling their pockets up with the hourly charge than truly imparting knowledge. I went on to play the same scale for 8 continuous 1 hour long sessions before switching tutors and then follow a similar ritual again. A disoriented, impatient rock-star in me that strongly believed he was capable of more, decided to finally quit and start self-training lessons. I made enough progress to learn a lot of basic stuff and front-man my first show to an auditorium filled with teenagers who understood little of how good or bad we were (it was mostly the latter), but still cheered for all they were worth. That moment of standing ovation from an undivided audience will remain etched in my mind as my most successful moment as a wanna-be musician.
Reality hit pretty soon though, as I realized I was blessed with a great ear for music, but mighty little musical talent to make anything substantial out of my early success story. Although I always had extremely competitive potential on vocals, my obsession with wanting to play an instrument in a musical unit meant I started switching through instruments. Moved from rhythm to bass duties and soon took a background role as a bassist+backing vocalist on the “ever-popular” college band. It took several genre switches from metal to alternative to progressive and then back to alternative and several lineup changes before I finally accepted my technical incompetence was too grave an obstacle to manage anything spectacular in this field. I continued occupying a place in several outfits until I graduated before finally realizing that I’d get nowhere with my half-jack measures.
My two guitars and a special edition Hohner harmonica now ‘rust-in-peace’ in a small corner of my house that I seldom visit and are taken out only on occasions where I have that sudden pang of nostalgia for my supposedly glorious career as a musician.
Truth is, as much as I love music, I was never devoted to it enough to study, revere and worship it the way it deserved to be. The stardust and popularity it offered was a very tempting, motivating factor, but my impatience and indiscipline never let me reach the highs I allowed myself to be promised. The grim looks and frowns I had to deal with every-time I made the mention of music as a serious career proposition didn’t help my cause either. The fact that I encountered absolute douchebags for most of my mentors and gurus only compounded the misery further and drove me further away from success.
But once I was done with all the excuses, I finally accepted something a small part of me always knew, I was never really cut out for this job – music didn’t come to me as creatively and freely as say writing does; I DID try, gave it shot for a very very long time, and I know I’d still be able to learn enough if I religiously, systematically began to learn but I’d still remain incapable of creating and producing beautiful, inspiring music – the kind that moved me to take this up in the first place.
I believe creative spheres like music, are privileges that not all of us may be entitled to. We may all love them beyond measure and be amazingly capable of identifying and appreciating good stuff (I TOTALLY do), but sadly, like I found out the hard way, some of us are just not gifted enough to offer our best to the cause. Although, my love affair with making music ended in a heartbreak so to say, I still believe I am entitled to take my lovely piece of Spanish wood & strings out of its case every once in a while and play the limited few beautiful melodies I know, just to soothe my conscience; I almost wiped off a tear as I promised myself that I will one day learn enough about the guitar to at least justify a role in a cover-artist lineup and experience the cheers of a filled stadium that every wannabe musician craves! 🙂