I never had the opportunity to meet my great-grandfather, but I am told that he was an amazing musician. When he played music, he impressively played by ear. The instrument that he was best at was the accordion.
I felt really grateful when my grandmother gave me my great-grandfather’s accordion. As you can see, it’s very large on me! 🙂
(You can read more about this accordion in, “My New Instrument: A Family Heirloom.” )
Unlike my great-grandfather who had a knack for playing music without ever being formally trained, I learned how to be a musician from school.
I learned how to play the flute and strengthened my flute skills by taking band class from middle school through high school. Band was where I learned how to read music.
I like to think that some of my great-grandfather’s abilities were passed down to me because after I learned how to read music and play the flute, I taught myself the piano. When I play the piano nowadays, sometimes I read sheet music, and other times, I play by ear.
Later in high school, I wanted to play guitar, and I started teaching myself acoustic guitar. I then took lessons for a little while and learned about ways I could strengthen my guitar skills. However, rather than moving forward with learning about guitar theory, I chose to discontinue lessons and focus on exploring the instrument independently and creating my own music.
When I started working on my first album, TEMPTATION, I bought my first drum set and taught myself the drums.
After that, I started playing around on my great-grandfather’s accordion and applied what I knew from playing the piano. (And my cats are not a fan! 😀 )
I was never formally trained on any instrument except for the flute, so I do not consider myself to be someone who is strong in discussing music theory with others, but that is not so important to me. What matters the most to me is that I treat music as art. What matters the most to me is that I play instruments and sing because I feel moved to do so. I don’t really think about the technical aspects.
Some musicians may consider this a weakness, but I consider this a strength. Rather than focusing so much on the technical aspects of playing an instrument that you miss the pleasures that music gives you, I focus on being in the moment with the instrument and feeling the way my fingers and body move as I play-being one with the music. ❤
For the musicians out there, do you find yourselves to be more focused on the technical aspects of being a musician or the artistic aspects?