My approach to music has changed over the years. By that, I mean my approach to playing as well as my approach to listening. In my teens and my twenties, speed was the only game in town. Any song was the opportunity to test my speed. I was driven by the need to prove myself, but also impatient to “get to the next part”. I was young with all the time in the world and I didn’t want to spend a moment perfecting the craft of music. Because playing fast is not playing music. Music is something else entirely.
Later on, I became fascinated with acrobatics feats. There’s the guy that plays the drums while turning plates, while standing on one toe, while cooking a duck a l’orange. Isn’t that something? In piano that kind of thing was translated into the most bizarre chords, the intricate cadenza, the strange improvisation, anything out of the ordinary, anything complicated, anything that wasn’t the norm. And I would express my disdain at the “pop” music with sarcasms and jokes I was the only one laughing at. But I was mistaken, once again. Because music is something else entirely.
In my late thirties and early forties, my world began to shift. It was a painful time in my life, a dire time, really. Music became something you use to survive but otherwise don’t pay much attention to. I rediscovered some aspect of it when I had the pleasure of being part of the family band. But I wasn’t practicing as much as before, and, more importantly, I wasn’t listening to it anymore. Music was just a mean to stay alive. I had put it on trial and decided it was guilty, guilty of bringing too much pleasure, and I wanted it to be torture. But music is something else entirely.
So, here I am now, a middle age man and I am in a different part of the journey. Now, speed doesn’t impress me, it gets me dizzy, that’s about it. As for complicated things, I’ve got no problem with that, as long as it’s well explained. And, in general, I don’t go to the most byzantine pattern I can find. I like pop music, The Beatles, Jason Mraz, Bruno Mars, Dolly Parton, etc. When I play music, I know what I am and what I am looking for. I am not trying to dazzle the world with my skills and hiding the fact that I’ve got nothing to say. I now play with a purpose, and, if I don’t have a purpose, I just don’t play. Because music now is a mean of expression and just that. I listen to some sad songs when I am sad, I play the same if my mood goes there. That simple. But within that kingdom there is everything. We are all composed of emotions, that’s the main dough we function with. Whatever country we’re from, whatever culture, whatever gender, shape or age, we are nothing but a ball of changing emotion that rolls from one moment to the next. And music describe that with a deadly accuracy. No need to have complicated chord changes, dazzling melodies and fast fingers, you can find your whole meal in a slow blues. Some of them will haunt you for life! And that’s what music is entirely about.