Dear Musician: Music Over Matter
By Dendy Jarrett | (edited)
Term: Mind over matter
Interpretation: The use of willpower to overcome physical challenges
Let’s face it – if you’re reading this, you most likely love to make better music. Even the most seasoned players, however, can face times when they don’t feel like making music or you allow small adversities to stand in the way of their making music. It happens to all of us, and, for some, it can be the habitual excuse not to sit down and play. You know, “I need to clean my sock drawer” syndrome.
Being a drummer, I’m most familiar with Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen, who lost his left arm in a horrific car crash in 1984. Rick was determined that the loss of that arm would not sideline him from the drum throne. To a drummer, it’s quite an inspiring story.
I was reminded once again of Rick’s story when I recently saw a BBC story about Keith Xander, who was born with only half a right arm. He had every reason not to play guitar. He could certainly have chosen to feel sorry for himself and let the lack of his arm stand in the way of making music, especially when most perceive the instrument to require two arms and two hands.
He sought out a music teacher who, instead of discouraging his desire to play, taught him how to use his hook as a plectrum. And, for him, it became a game of perseverance.
And persevere he did! He’s a fantastic player. The 4-minute video tells the entire story, and you’ll be glad you watched it.
So, when you think you’re having a day that isn't going well enough to practice or to learn a new song or just to sit down and play, think of these words from Keith: “It’s just quite simple: It’s about not giving up. It’s got nothing to do with whether you have one, two or three arms; it’s to do with your attitude toward yourself and the world around you, and whether you’re limited in the beliefs of others in yourself. If I can do it…you can do it!” You might say Keith and Rick used music over matter to make their love for music a reality.
And with that, we hope you’re inspired to make better music. -HC-
video courtesy BBC
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.
Edited by Dendy Jarrett