Saturday, July 18, 2015

"How many instruments can you play?"

Ahaha...that question again. 

When I introduce myself, I say I play the piano, so people tend to be surprised when I'm suddenly playing the drums or guitar. Then the question comes: How many instruments, can you play, exactly?

This is a common question for musicians everywhere, I believe. 

I once read an answer to that question given by a better musician: Does it matter?

Of course if I would sound like an obnoxious prick if I said that, but the idea is: does the number of instruments you play really matter? 

I think that for some, your musicality is judged on how well you play an instrument, and the more you play the better you are. Of course discipline, hard work, technical skill, improvisation and expression are all crucial. But at the heart of it is music and whether you love it or not. If you do, you would want to pursue it in your own way. 

Why do I even care about playing more than one instrument? It's not out of showing off, I assure you. I think over the years, musicians all over the world have taught me that there can be no showing off in music. You know how to play 15 instruments like an expert? Just you wait, there will be someone younger than you who would have mastered 20. You started to compose music when you were 13? That's great, but this kid who's like 4 years old has been doing that for awhile now. You learnt how to play the piano by ear? Psssshhhhhhhh that's the most common thing out there, okay? There is no way you can stay proud for long in music. You learn to admire everyone and be happy with what skill you have.

Google "piano boy youtube" and tell me you won't find something that makes you slam your 
head on your piano and cry. I DARE YOU. 

Is it out of interest? Yes and no. Most of the time, I don't even know how interested I would be or not be in it. Example: I hadn't touched the drums for easily 10 years (stopped after a short lesson from my cousin when I was ....7?), but in uni, out of necessity, I became a drummer a number of times, and somehow it just grew on me. I don't consider myself a drummer, or guitarist. I only "dabble" in them, though if I had the proper budget for classes and equipment I would like to take them seriously. I dabbled in violin for awhile too, and if I could do it again (minus the traumatizing experience), I would. I have dreams of trying out a wind instrument, and I sometimes window-shop online for melodicas.

But why all these interests? It's not like I'm even doing a music degree or planning for a musical career, right? 

Mmmm, how to explain this? Well, in brief: I love music, and I want to explore as much as I can in my life. It's not about earning money, or being famous, it is about me enjoying this beautiful thing that is here on this earth. If I can help others through my playing of any instrument, all the better, but I'm not doing it for them, per se. 

The piano is my go-to instrument to express myself best, but if there is no piano around, I'll find something and make music in some way. Because I'm a musician first, and there should be no limits to what you can play, just what you want to. 

So how many instruments can I play? In all honesty, and with greatest humility, it really doesn't matter.

Music is music is music. Just enjoy it. 

Letting the tap flow

I'm not putting off blogging because I have nothing to write. If anything, it is because I have too much to write, and too little time or inspiration to edit. 

My dilemma is that I constantly feel like I need to produce the best, most heartfelt post, every single time. For example, those three sentences I just wrote? I've edited it three times in less than five minutes. I may edit it more as I type along. 

I have 6 posts stored away as drafts, unfinished, or finished, but not "perfect". It's making me rather pissed off at myself. I mean, if there is one place for me to produce crappy work, it should be in the toilet and here, you know? And yet my own inner critic is holding me back, afraid of making any mistakes. 

I'm annoyed, because I shouldn't be afraid of making mistakes, as long as I learn from them. That's what I tell myself, my juniors, my students. And here I am, being a coward, not wanting to write, because I don't have the right words, the right plot, the right timing, situation, topic, etc etc. 

Screw that, I tell myself. It's high time to take my own advice. 

I've been trying to read up tips on writing, on doing things, and the only advice I get is to do it. Do it, suck at it, learn from what made it suck, and do it again. Let the clogged tap flow and let all the muck and sewage out, and eventually, we might hit clean water. 

So, I'm locking away my screaming inner critic. That voice in my head that tells me everything I do will never be good enough. I'm putting her in house arrest (or brain arrest). And I'm just going to crap. Every post that comes out now, will be a draft. It will never be in the perfect standard that I imagine it would be, because that standard, that place, is imaginary, and I'm never going to achieve it. 

But if I take the first few steps to get on writing, maybe I'll find something. 

I've edited this post 4 times now. I'm a chronic editor. Hence the need for this new mission.