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Dear Musician – Is Your Instrument Calling?

Pssst - It’s dark in this case …

 

by Dendy Jarrett

 

Many musicians go through phases of playing interests, which is a natural part of being a musician. I’ve known musicians who were so into playing that they  began their day with a one-hour practice routine—every day. Of course, these are players who make a living with their music. For most of us, however, we play either because we supplement our normal day job with some weekend gigs, for the relaxation (interpretation – stress outlet), or for the love of making music. No matter the reason, some of us go through times when we don’t touch our instruments (we refer to these as ‘dry spells’). No doubt, there will be people who comment that a musician going through a dry spell isn't  truly an inspired musician, but —trust me—this is normal.

 

For those who work fulltime jobs, time can be an issue. “Life” gets in the way. I have friends who play for church. Some are super devoted and are there any time the band performs; others rotate in and out with their ability to participate.

 

Finding a music/life balance is the tricky part.

 

It may be that your instrument is stuck away in a dark case calling for you. “Play me!” it calls. The old adage “out of sight, out of mind” may be the reason you’ve not picked up your instrument in some time.

 

In a previous Dear Musician, Why Choose Music, I explored some of the reasons you may be a musician. I speak about the fact that you may have started playing because your parents wanted you to, or perhaps you chose band as an elective in school. "...but then a funny thing happened: you didn’t stop playing music! It wasn’t just a passing fancy. You found out that playing music could make you feel better when you were down. You had a sense of accomplishment when you mastered some riff from your favorite song. You enjoyed the open-ended challenge of a world that, even if you lived for 1,000 years, you could never fully master or even fully understand. You found out what Quincy Jones has been saying for years...and is indeed that common thread: Music is food for the soul.” 

 

And Souls need to be fed!

 

Harmony Central’s mission is to inspire people to make better music, but perhaps we should start with simply inspiring you to make music. It’s ok to go through a dry spell, but this is the time of year for camp fires, vacations, family gatherings, and more. Switch off the television or your devices. Then ask yourself … is your instrument calling?  - HC -

 

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and Executive Director of Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.

 

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Mooseboy  |  June 05, 2018 at 12:24 pm
Being a semi-pro now (formerly pro, and soon-to-be pro again), I have a practice routine that I stick to just about every day. It involves warmup exercises for about 45 minutes, and then practicing on whatever material is needed for the coming weekend's gig.

I have a small collection (18 guitars, 2 mandolins, 1 bass guitar) and I rotate through the guitars so that each of them gets played once about once every two weeks. To accomplish this, they're hung on a system by StringSwing. This is the same slatwall system that a lot of guitar stores use. It makes them really easy to get at right away.

Do they collect more dust? Sure, but I dust all of 'em once every three weeks and they all get played instead of sitting in the case not being loved.
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Schporg  |  June 04, 2018 at 10:30 pm
I always keep a "living room" guitar out with easy access to a working amp (I often just leave it plugged in) so that I will pick it up and play it.  I once went the better part of two years without playing the cherry 335 I'd bought with my lawn-mowing money when I was 15 because it was in a case under my bed.  It was too hard to get it out and, for a stretch, I had no amp at all.  Not having to find it, unpack it, move the amp out from behind the sofa and find the cords, gets me 7/8s of the way there.
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Fretish  |  June 04, 2018 at 2:03 pm
Dweezil Zappa recounted in an interview once that Frank would go for months without playing his guitar when he was between tours/projects.  No one could credibly say Frank Zappa was not an inspired (or prolific) musician.
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Frozen Fingers  |  June 04, 2018 at 1:29 pm
Very nice and true message.  So much thanks for this.  Good to hear I'm not weird going through dry spells.  Mine seem like emotional down times when I don't feel if I touch the keyboard it will feel good to me.Music.............food for soul..............for life!  Hey:  Listen to Night Ranger doing "Good Bye".  Beautiful.  I do it on acoustic piano.  Even prettier there.  E major. Harold
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