Thursday, April 28, 2011

Autonomic Art

I’ve been involved in music since I was a kid. I tried to write songs at a very early age, and I started instrumental music with piano lessons when I was 6 or 7. The piano teacher told my parents I just didn’t have the talent to play because I struggled with it so much, but what was really going on is that my eyes were bad and I couldn’t see the music. No one knew it at the time, but after I got my first pair of glasses, it all went clear. Yet, I didn’t go back to the piano because it cost a lot and too much time had passed, which is a very sad thing for me.

But no one could keep me out of music. I kept trying to write songs. I listened to music like people drink water to stay alive. Then, in fifth grade, they put some of us on recorder flutes and started to teach us melodic notation and, as we prepared for sixth grade, our band teacher asked us what instrument we’d like to play. I said “trombone.” I was very enamored of the trombone. Who wouldn’t be? But she looked at me and said, “You look like a drummer.”

So I was a drummer.

I went on to play drums with school band, drum and bugle corps, a local symphony, rock bands, a country band, a rockabilly band, church bands, so on and so forth. With drums and percussion, I was better at the symphonic and drum corp stuff than playing on the set, but I did okay. I always liked to sing, so I tried my hand at that and did okay. I eventually took guitar lessons and a few piano lessons to get the theory down, and kept writing songs which, for me, was and still is an autonomic response to life.

But I’ve known some musicians and other artists who quit. They just quit playing, quit singing, quit painting, quit their crafting, quit making quilts or building cars and whatnot. They quit producing their art pretty much completely. Which has always been strange to me. I honestly don’t understand it. It makes me wonder why they were doing the thing in the first place. I mean, there are all kinds of petty reasons we might cling to in order to justify our expression of art or craft or skill, when we shouldn’t be trying to justify it at all.

I like this quote from Stephen King. He said,”"Life isn't a support system for art. It's the other way around."

I’m with that.

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2011

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