Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Shall We Begin At The Beginning??

For as long as I can remember I have always loved music. There is not a single recollection of me not having music in my life, even from a young age. Though I couldn't have been older than three or four years old I fondly remember playing the tennis-racket-guitar with my older brother Cameron whenever my mom put on "Revolution #1" by the Beatles. There was no such thing back then as playing the wrong note or being in the wrong key. Performance anxiety was never an issue. A few years later my brother took up playing the cornet and with it came a consistent practice schedule as well as school band concerts. Cameron went from sounding like a piss drunk Louis Armstrong being mauled by zombies to, well, like Louis Armstrong. For several years to come I attended his school band performances and witnessed my brother transform into an accomplished musician. Hearing my brother play his cornet through my bedroom wall and seeing him play in front his entire school inspired me to want to play an instrument.  The bands Soundgarden, The Smashing Pumpkins and Deftones were also my new inspirations. 

The summer before 5th grade I finally decided it was time to pick up an instrument and play in the school band. I didn't know what instrument I wanted to play though. At the time I had two options and that was to either go into symphonic band or regular band.  Both options mostly used woodwind instruments and they held no appeal to me. Percussion instruments were limited to the snare drum or the bass drum and a full kit was out of the question. Since I was really into bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden and Nirvana the electric guitar seemed like the right fit for me. However, because I had really chubby fingers and was intimidated by six tiny strings, I decided to pick up the electric bass instead. Four huge strings generously spaced apart seemed ideal.

I played in the school band for a few years but after switching schools and band teachers I eventually lost interest in playing classical music and watered down renditions of Top 40 hits. In my last year of band class my instructor really tried to emphasize the importance of music theory and how it can make you a better musician. However, the material was mind-numbing and the teacher was even worse at trying to communicate the information. After a semester of trying to learn music theory I hated it so I quit band.

I wanted to play the music I liked and was tired of studying classical music. Though I continued to play the bass for a few years after formally leaving the school band my playing became sporadic and mostly me just banging on the bass as loud and fast as possible. As a result I never really improved as a player and actually began to backslide in terms of ability. 

Because my first impression of music theory was a negative one I am hoping that by studying the music I like it will provide me the opportunity to see something again almost for the first time and in a better light. 

**P.S. Please make use of the red, underlined links in this post. If you click on the link you will be able to see and hear and example of the artists and their music I am referring to.**

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