Last night, I had my first real music lesson. I have taken a couple bass guitar lessons before, and I knew the very basics. What the name of each string on my bass guitar is named. That’s about it. E, A, D, and G.
I’ve taken just a handful of lessons before, I never stuck with them. I’ve been thinking of taking them again, as one of my themes I’m working towards and with is Performance. Four years ago, I turned 45 years old. I opened up to try the things I always wanted to, but was too afraid to.
I studied improv comedy and performed a couple of times between 2017 and 2019. In early 2020 I studied stand up comedy and performed once. Then the world went to shit. I’ve performed that same standup set from early 2020 twice recently (outdoors). I’m hooked. What was so terrifying before - standing up in front of people and creating an experience - is now like medicine to me.
Back to the music. I realized what I’m really looking for in my bass/music study isn’t to be Flea, or Claypool, or Jaco. I’m not seeking to be a technical and creative master of the instrument. I want to learn to make music, with the bass guitar as my tool. I want to be good of course, to be able to express myself through writing and playing music. To collaborate with others to make a shared experience for ourselves, and whoever may be watching and listening.
One can draw with a pencil, pen, computer mouse (not recommended), digital stylus, or their fingers. The tool isn’t the focus. Same is true for the bass in my case. I love the sound of the bass and how it can keep harmony and rhythm going throughout a piece of music. It’s my favorite tool at the moment. But my goal is to be able to play music, with multiple tools. I’d like to get to the point where I can improvise with other performers, just like with Improv.
Luckily my teacher has a strong interest in teaching music theory and an improvisational background. So we’re a good fit, straight away. Plus he’s a friend.
I made a sketchnote of my first lesson. It helps me to remember what I learned when I get it out of my brain and onto paper. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to ask for the kind of lessons I have just started taking. I would not have the ability to do even a simple sketchnote like this. Or express all these things in writing.
What will you be able to do in five years, that you would struggle with today?