People tell me all the time they wish they could play guitar (or an instrument). My response is always the same — it’s NEVER TOO LATE. Wishing is a disease of complacency. What do we do with all our time? Cell phone. Reality TV. Junk food. Commuting. Rat race. Why not music?
Music is unlike anything else in terms of activity, creativity, learning, cognitive skill, and even social interaction. Much like you I had my 5 seconds of fame in high school at the country fair talent show with playing one single song with a makeshift cover band. I never played with a band on stage again until I was 35.
Like most “lapsed musicians” — life got in the way. Career, kids, commuting, and the drive to keep up with the neighbors took over because music didn’t pay the bills. One day on a road trip coming home from a family funeral my wife spied a small music store at the side of a country road. She forced me to the side of the road and pushed me inside, and practically badgered me until I bought a new electric guitar. She had been there in high school and she saw first hand teenage passion for music. Eighteen years later she knew the lamp had been turned down low, but the flame had not gone out. About a month later she bought me my first Marshall combo at the age of 35.
Six months later I was on Craigslist trying to form a band. Within a year I was playing 4 hours a night every Friday and Saturday 3 out of 4 weekends per month. I did that for nearly 10 years (and still play out today).
In many ways I now feel like I almost have 2 separate lives — a musical life, and a professional life in the IT field. It is literally as different as day and night (and day and night are the times that separate them). I can also tell you that each are interwoven more tightly than you would expect, and complement each other in ways you would not think.
Now, more than 13 years after I was “reborn” as a musician I am more outgoing and social than I ever was. Booking gigs, building bands, doing promotion, and talking to people in the audience (on and off the mic) has led me to be more outgoing at work, and driven me to see out new opportunities and speak up more often (in meetings, and with peers and bosses).
The efforts of learning, practicing, and band-building have contributed to a thirst for knowledge that has led me to further my degree studies for work. I will admit that the same wife that pushed me back into music pushed me to further my degree for work — however without the last decade of musical practice and performance, I’m not sure I would’ve been as prepared for it.
Many see music as a hobby that you do on the side, and for many of us it is. But the skills required to build a band and publicly perform on a regular basis will affect your life and the core of your soul in ways you cannot comprehend until you have done it. You don’t play music, you feel it. And once you have you begin to infect others with that feeling, and before you know it it’s not a hobby anymore.
When someone says that you just shake your head and say ‘no — I’m a musician’.