Dear Musician – Does Music Inspire You?
By Dendy Jarrett | (edited)
Inspiration is defined as the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
In the recent PBS Ken Burns Country Music special, Vince Gill said something that I thought very poignant— “I just wanted to be inspired by music and, in turn, inspire others.”
As most of you know, I’m a drummer (please don’t hold that against me, and no drummer jokes)! In my freshman year of college, we were returning from a long, hot day of college marching band rehearsal, and we heard a commotion from a nearby soccer field. This was in the early 80s, and, as it turned out, Pure Prairie League was putting on a free performance for the student body. We quickly put our gear away and rushed over.
The future-well-known Vince Gill was playing on stage and pulled out a mandolin to play Amie. I had grown up in the country where I played drums for square dances, and we played a lot of “fiddle” music; however, this was the first time I had experienced a “blue grass” instrument being used to accompany a contemporary song. I was smitten. I remember the day and experience so vividly. For years, I’ve made the excuse that I was a drummer and not a stringed instrument player, but I always had that nagging in my head that took me back to that sunny day on a soccer field watching Vince play. The mandolin has haunted me for years.
Little did he know that 38 years later, he would still inspire me! I recently purchased an Epiphone Mandolin and have begun the process of teaching myself the instrument. Yes, it’s frustratingly slow, especially when you work a fulltime job, have a family, and try to find time to learn a new instrument. My mind, however, keeps taking me back to the inspiration catalyst—Vince Gill. It’s a very percussive and rhythmic instrument, so that holds my drummer interest.
The music inspired me that day, and that inspiration stuck with me for all these decades. What about music inspires you? Do you listen for inspiration? Do you play to inspire others?
Music can inspire us in so many ways, and many times can take only something small to motivate us to act on that inspiration. It struck me when Vince Gill made this statement on a TV show: and little did he know, that sometimes… it only takes a spark. Make Better Music, folks! -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 and music 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.
Edited by Dendy Jarrett