I’ve heard that certain people look better on paper than they do in real life.
Me, for example.
I could tell you that I played two instruments in junior high, and one of them with the high school symphony orchestra from the time I was nine years old and you might be really impressed… unless I also mentioned that there were only six viola players in the entire city of Lethbridge, Alberta. I was total seat decor. A place holder in the landscape of the orchestra.
(And yes, I was also the nerd carrying two instrument cases around campus for three of the most crucial years of social posturing. I have a faint scar across the bridge of my nose where my glasses ((I did specify nerd)) came into fierce and simultaneous contact with both the cement and my nasal bone because as I was leaping over a low chain-type lawn border in front of the school, my toe caught said chain link, my arms flew out–one right, one left–in, I’m sure, a picturesque spread, with oboe on the left and viola on the right, and being brain heavy, but not having that organ entirely in sync with the rest of my physical being, I, well… went around with electrical tape holding my glasses together for some time following that balletic moment.)
Yes, I could rosin a bow and drag it across the correct string in time with everyone else. But I was never more than a passable musician. I was too interested in other things to devote that kind of time to one activity. Well, that, and I believed there was this impenetrable barrier between decent playing (mine) and breathtaking playing that I would never cross. I could play decently without any effort at all, or bang my head against the barrier indefinitely and still only play decently, so why not just play decently to begin with and skip the concussion entirely?
Today’s grateful shout out goes to all those people who didn’t, and do not, believe in that barrier that I placed in my own path. Musicians who write and play and sing amazing melodies. Who dedicate their entire lives to bringing me that miracle we call music. My son tells me I feel this way because I’m a dopamine addict. Good to know. I mean, it really is; I had no idea that the pleasure I get from good music is more than just an absence of whatever sound I’m drowning out with said tunes. It also explains why whenever I press play I usually feel like doing something more than crawling into that space under my kitchen sink, drawing the cabinet doors closed and banging my head against the pipes.
I have no desire to produce music of my own, finally. My childhood interest in the viola and my adolescent affair with the oboe had more to do with being surrounded by that music than with participating in its production. But I love music; I really do, and I’m so grateful for its influence in my life, for all the people who make it, and for all the technology that makes it so accessible and enjoyable today.