25 January 2012

My (Attempt At) Musical Development

Throughout my life I have found myself slowly progressing towards easier and easier musical instruments as my lack of talent becomes apparent, and defeats each attempt I make to coax out the musical genius that my fervent singing in the shower confirms must be in me.
It started off years ago with the guitar; borrowing my sister’s electric one after she stepped out of her punk girl phase and somehow stepped into the ‘country girl’ role she was in for a while. This was back in the late nineties, and I was in the punk rock stage of my musical life. The internet was already on its way to taking over our lives back then, and so each day at school I would browse the ‘World Wide Web’ using Altavista, and find myself pages and pages of guitar tabs to print off, and take home with me.
Vintage Internet.
Unfortunately I couldn’t find a way to print off talent, or patience, and so it wasn’t long before the guitar took its place as an ornament in my room, slowly gathering dust.
The next stage I found myself in was one where I had accepted my lack of chordophonical skill, but had yet to give up the part-time dream of being able to rock out in a band. Thus I moved my attention toward the drums.
Having graduated from a high school student punk rock mentality, into a more mature university student classic rock attitude, I was now a diehard fan of Led Zeppelin, with Achilles Last Stand ranking among my favourite songs of all time (it remains at its perch on the top of my list to this day).
For those of you who don’t know the song, it has some absolutely amazing drumming from a Mr John Bonham, whose prowess with the sticks sadly could not stop him from asphyxiating on his own vomit. Naive though it may seem to base your choice of instrument on a song which contains very advanced examples of that instruments application, I nevertheless decided that perhaps drumming, with its simple ‘hit the thing with a stick’ premise, was my key to conquering the musicians title.
For a little while drumming actually seemed like something I could do. I was happy to learn that almost every basic drum beat in AC/DC’s catalogue was comprised of the same pattern, though perhaps different tempo’s (if you were lucky). So while one minute I was on the Highway to Hell, and the next I was accidently strolling off to do some Dirty Deeds; I nevertheless felt I was actually playing something, rather than just emitting various ill-timed noises.
Though I was far from competent, there was at least the tacit assumption that I was capable, if only lacking somewhat in practice. I was no Manny, but hopefully I wasn’t a Fran either.
Damn your talent Bill Bailey!

But as it turns out drumming is a bit of a commitment. You can’t whip out your drums at a party or on a lazy night, and simply strum out some tunes. Drums are not portable, and they are far from subtle. So while they aren’t mobile, drums are nevertheless in your face; you never miss the fact that someone is drumming near you, because they are actively hammering their presence into your auditory canal.
Look. At. Me. I. Am. Drumming.
As such drummers are usually relegated to the more remote corners of residential existence; to garages, sheds, or ‘back rooms’. Living with my parents at the time, it was the outdoor shed for me. So if I ever got the drumming bug, I had to brave the often frigid Ballarat weather, and sequester myself away to the confines of a shed for a few hours.
For a while I kept up practising; after all I had spent around $400 on the kit, which back then I measured as around fifteen slabs of beer (the standard university students measure I believe).
But this too soon fell prey to the combination of lack of talent, and lack of spare time. The drum kit stopped being an instrument, and started being an unwarranted occupier of space in my dads shed.
Since that last attempt I had been pretty busy, what with marriage, fatherhood, and moving out into the workforce; as such my dreams of discovering subterranean musical talent were put on the side burner (or onto the New Years resolution list, which is effectively the same thing).
But now, as I progress further from my mid twenty's and try not to stare at the big 30 sitting over the horizon, I have decided to again give music another go. Thus I now move on to my latest attempt at musical accomplishment: the harmonica.
My Suzuki harmonica, courtesy of Sovereign Hills Waterloo Store
I wasn’t the best at plucking strings; my attempts at banging membranes were likewise unsatisfying, so perhaps blowing air through something will prove to be my forte.
If i am not successful, at the rate I am going by 2015 I shall be playing the kazoo, and from then on I may just have to relegate myself to humming, or the gentle clapping of my hands.
Wish me luck.

1 comment:

  1. You forgot to mention you can sing!!! Like Johnny Cash!!!
    And please let me clear up the fact that I am not the sister who moved on to country music! I stayed cool :)