The three great phases of life:
1) Being able to create something new and inspiring.
2) Keeping oneself afloat in the world.
3) Knowing when and how to let go of what does not serve you.
Of course everything ebbs and flows between them.
Technical ability and being impressed .... not!
I used to 'like' John McLaughlin, especially in his Mahavishnu Orchestra days, though his version of Bill Evan's Peace Piece was one of my 'if I could just play that I would be happy' inspiring pieces of music. When I was younger, Jimmy Hendrix was a guitar 'hero' as well.
A few years later, I went to a concert where John McLaughlin, Al de Miola, Paco de lucia and Steve Morse were on together. All ARE virtuosos on guitar for their own styles, but I ended up finding it hard not to fall asleep, because while they exuded technical competence and flair, they were clearly doing stuff to impress, and I wasn't impressed, but bored! At that point, it really brought home that technical ability per se is not life inspiring for me, so not worth my effort in its own right.
Popular imperative and inspiration
Several years ago, an Australian band did a song called Down Under. It went ballistic worldwide, and has become a rallying point for Australians everywhere, notwithstanding the legal problems with the flute riff much later. However, they followed that with what seemed like a fairly depressing sort of songs. Then I heard an earlier live recording of their big hit, and it seemed to have the same depressed feel about it. Obviously someone else had pushed them where they naturally, if left to their own devices, would not have ventered. I'm glad for that person(s) being there that pushed them out of themselves. Was it a sellout or that someone saw potential for the song to be something much more and made it happen?
Making decisions that open doors
When my current wife and I got together 14 years ago, I didn't know that she could sing, nor did she know that I could do mixing.
We bought her a guitar so that she could do something with it. I wrote a few simple lyrics to which she wrote some music, and that opened a door to her composing lots of songs.
Eventually, we decided to get a sound card so that we could record her. When I heard the first ever few seconds of a rough test recording, I 'knew' that we needed to get her music down and it was enough to inspire me to go through the 'agony' of the hundreds of hours it took to get her first CD out.
We hired a couple of musicians to play her songs on the CD to which she sang. We managed to get it into JB HiFi (35 copies in the biggest CD store in Australia), but unfortunately didn't have the money or the marketing skills to make it any more than a concept proof that we could make a record that someone would want to sell.
Since then we moved to another city and every time the crunch came between earning money at my lucrative IT job to keep us afloat and making something of the music, the music kept getting rated down in importance.
However, for six months at the start of last year, I could not get any work, not even at 2/3 my normal rate. At that time, we decided that music needed to become a major focus of our business. Later found out that that was my double Saturn return, which is a time when circumstances in life force one to make a choice about the direction of one's life.
Now, over the years, I had bought all sorts of instruments -- a flute, bass guitar, Takamine 12-string -- but on none of them could I even remotely make music, and let them go. It just did not seem to be within me.
However, soon after the music decision, I saw a Griff Hamlin '4 note blues' YouTube, downloaded it and suddenly it all made musical sense and I could actually play lead guitar. Which was interesting because while my wife had become very proficient on finger-style and rhythm guitar, we were stumped as to how we could get lead type stuff done. Problem solved!
Now, me wife's folk-country-whatever 'mongrel' music (her words for cross genre) is not something I would buy for my personal entertainment, which tends to favour 60s pop, but I can play with it. I have even heard some hints of Peace Piece in my playing at times (not by my design as I wing it by feel).
I got to building a proper studio for audio visual recording over the next eight months and we have just got out our first YouTube and download, 18 months after the decision to up the musical ante. I played Martin OMCPA4 guitar and U-Bass on it, and played bluegrass-style Eastman mandolin on the next one coming up soon.
The question then is: Have I sold out or am I doing what I am supposed to be doing?
While you ponder on that, I'll take the $64,000 to keep doing it, thanks.
PatanjaliHalf of the folk music duo, DevaKnighT. Music available from CD Baby (MP3/FLAC) and the usual culprits. All recorded and processed on Cubase 7.x at 192k.Comp: i7-4930K : Asus P9X79-E WS : 32GB : GV-N750OC-2GI : SSDx4+2 : UAD-2Q : Dell S2340Tx2 & Samsung 55" 4K.
HW: Nmn U87 Ai : JA251x2 : YRG : Korg padKontrol+uKEY2 : RME FF400+800 : M-Patch-2 : Tannoy Reveal Active+TS-12.
SW: Win 8.1 Pro 64 : Cubase 8.0.5 Pro 64 : iC Pro : RX4Adv : Ozone5Adv : Goliath/SO PP/Pianos/Gypsy : Sup.Drum 2.0 : AT7.