My Journey into music

One of the biggest mistakes that I made in my life (now that I reflect back) was quitting playing the piano.  My parents signed me up for lessons when I was in the 5th or 6th grade. I wanted to play music and I was happy to learn the piano.  What I wasn’t into was the practice.  Maybe a lot of kids are that way, but I wanted to be outside running and playing – not in the house doing scales.  In those days, at least with my teacher – practice was more about doing scales and drills than it was about actually playing songs.  Now, when I take lesson’s I want them to be song based.

By the time I was in 7th grade I had completely abandoned the piano.  When I was in college, for a short time, I took up guitar but could not afford lessons so my “axe” just gathered dust.

Decades passed.  In my late 40’s I was doing some Christmas shopping at Barnes and Nobles when I saw a display – “Learn how to play the Harmonica.”  There was a C Harmonica and a book with a CD.  On a whim, I bought it.  I ripped open the package in the car, stuck the CD in the player and before I got home I was already playing some simple songs.  I was hooked.

For the next several years, I played nearly everyday.  I would play with friends.  I would play while I was driving to court.  A group of ski patrollers that I worked with started jam sessions and I would play along.  I started going to open mics.  I wasn’t particularly good, but I was willing to put myself out there.  Most importantly, I was having fun.  I joined a band and learned to play a larger variety of songs.  I even began to sing a bit.

One day I read an article that said if you wanted to improve your harmonica playing, learn to play the bass guitar.  I thought, sure, lets give it a try.  My wife bought be a bass for my birthday and I was (again) hooked.  I signed up for an online class and went through it three (3) times.  I got to the point that I enjoyed playing bass much more than the harp – largely because it allows me to sing and be more involved.  A harmonica is really an accent instrument- you don’t want to over play it.  (One of the best lessons I got for the harp when playing with others is – play less.)

Most recently I have started playing guitar and ukulele.  Again taking online courses and practicing regularly has been the key to steady improvement.

The bottom line is that playing music makes me happy and makes others feel good.  While I try to play well, that is far less important than playing with joy.  

It may have come later in life for me, but playing music is one of my life’s passions and allows me creative expression and well as just pure pleasure.

Playing at Skips weekend warriors
One of my very early open mic’s at the Lockdown Brewery in Folsom. I learned a lot from just going out and playing.
Added the bass guitar to my repertory. Playing at the Coyote Bluff Music festival in 2019

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