Finding Rhythm and Balance as an Amateur Musician
A long, long time ago… I can still remember how that music used to make me smile…
Well, actually, no.
A long, long time ago, I can still remember how I used to know how to play the drums. And I knew that if I had my chance, that I could make those people dance, and maybe they’d be happy for a while.
Really, I’m a bass player at heart. As I’ve aged, the acoustic guitar is in my hands more often than any other instrument. But, borrowed lyrics aside, I used to have my own drum kit. I also knew how to play. I wasn’t great, mind you, but I could hold a beat.
This past spring I got myself an electronic drum kit because I felt like it was time to try again. Since I have neighbors, and a partner who works from home, and because I’m generally respectful of others, playing into headphones seemed like a much better option.
The kit has been assembled and in my basement for almost half a year now, and I’m getting better. I’m still not where I was, but I’m improving. And while this could be a “mid-life crisis” thing, I think it’s more of a “being balanced” thing.
While I do lack direction, and I’m still out of work, I want to be constructive with my time. I write this blog, produce my podcast, meet with people, and occasionally consult with them, but I want to continue to do some things purely for myself.
As those of you who follow this blog will attest, I read a lot, but you also have to do things. For me, music is a thing worth doing. I love my guitars, though I still regret getting rid of my first bass, I still enjoy getting them out and plucking or strumming. Hitting the “digital” skins with my new drum kit is refreshing and frustrating, and that’s the point.
I wanted to challenge myself. I know my abilities on guitar and bass. I know they are in some ways better and in some ways different from what they were when I was young and I still considered rock-star as a possible career path.
I no longer harbor such illusions, but I still want to be well-rounded. I’ll never be talented enough to be a “studio musician” on any of these instruments, but I want to be proficient enough to play with my friends, as I did recently, or to just amuse myself.
Not every hobby needs to be for other people or to be the beginning of something larger. Sometimes, the hobby can be the goal. I enjoy playing music on a variety of instruments, I can get better at it, and I have finally added drums back into my repertoire.
This has been fun. The challenge of moving from being unable to do things to doing them well is enjoyable. If I work at it, I know that I will be able to do those things. I don’t mind putting in the work. My only issue now is trying to balance all of it. I don’t want to dive head first into drumming only to get rusty on other instruments, so there is a balance that I’m trying to find. But on a whole, it’s been fun revisiting the instrument I once knew better than I do now.
I say all of this because it’s never too late to go back. There’s nothing wrong with picking up a guitar again or, in my case, drums. You may have enjoyed playing with your friends in a garage decades ago, but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy playing along to the music in your basement.
It won’t bring back your youth, but it’ll bring a smile to your face, and isn’t that worth something?