Today we’re talking about the simplicity of music. There is an enduring myth out there that music is difficult. It has to be, because if you’ve been on this earth for awhile, chances are you will meet someone who tried to become a professional musician and didn’t succeed. By the same token, when you turn on the radio, you hear immaculate grooves and melodies, harmonies lining up with a clockwork precision. It sounds so good, first you cry then you want to become the next John Legend, then you realize that it will take years of hard work, then you move on to contemplate that mountain you just created in your mind, then you decide it’s not even worth starting.
But that’s a narrow, distorted and discouraging way of looking at music.
We say “playing” music. “Playing” being the active word here. It’s supposed to be fun.
Now, let’s take a person, one of us that live in a human community. You might know some of them. You might even BE one of them. That person can go to her kitchen and grab a wooden spoon. Take a pot too. Turn the pot over and now, start banging it with the spoon. Ha! You got yourself.. what?… Anybody?… On my right over there, yes, you got yourself… a rhythm! Yes, you do, maybe. Anybody else?… Yes, on my left? You got yourself some music, you say. Again, maybe. For me, the way I see it, before you get rhythm or music, you got yourself some fun. That person wailing on that poor frying pan is feeling silly and surprised: she’s having fun. You don’t see it? Ok, go try it. I’ll wait.
So, how was it? Did the neighbor call the cops? Oh, that’s bad. And you feeling about the whole experience? You want to do it again? Good!
Music, seen from the human perspective of playing is first and foremost a fun activity. Whether you play correctly or not doesn’t really matter: you’re not recording for a famous band yet. That fun is what should carry you to the next step: learning.
I know a great drum and piano teacher by the way.
Now that you’re learning, you think that it is serious business. You got to practice, you got to accumulate the hours on the horse, you got to become good. Yes, I agree. But only up to a certain extent. People who learn music, all too often kill the fun they had playing. Their relationship with music becomes a tedious and difficult one. It doesn’t have to be.
This is where I tell you about the next step and the huge freebee you get. Playing with others! That’s the next step. Oh, playing with others is much easier than you think it is. There are thousand of songs you can play with just a few chords or a few drum groove from “Louie, Louie” to “Woolly Bully”. When you’re in a band, you’d be surprised of how little some song require to play, or know.
So, is music easy or difficult? When You play it, music is what YOU want it to be. But I’ll confess this: no matter my level of technique on my instrument, the reason why I’m still passionate about music is because every time I sit and play with other people, I never think about the difficulty, I just think about the fun.