Attention


For as long as I can think, playing music together with other musicians was the thing that made it exciting. But let me back up for a minute:

The first instrument I picked up was the guitar at age 2 or 3. Of course, I was too little to actually go about lessons at that age. As a matter of fact, lessons in guitar were only taught to students of age 10 and above at the little local extra-curricular music school. I remember bugging parents and teachers alike to get to study guitar, but was fed the same line over and over, which maintained my hands hadn’t grown to the size required to handle a regular fretboard. Eventually, they gave in to me as I must have become too annoying. So I started studying the guitar in the year I had turned 9. However, there were only classical or folkloristic lessons and I didn’t care too much about either (although I’d study a little bit of classical guitar later on). So another student, whom I knew from school and the boy scouts, and I were assigned the leader of the brass section at that school, who knew some guitar, too. And thus it began.

After two years, he let us know that we had outdone his own guitar chops and that he didn’t know anything else, he’d be able to teach us. Now what was next? We were left to ourselves. Said other student and I would meet after school and figure out chords and chord progressions of then famous Beatles songs, which we’d sing to as well. Eventually, we had the sometimes nifty melody lines and background vocals down and started recording ourselves on a simple stereo deck in order to track progress. You could say, this was my first “project” as a musician. Apparently, it was good enough to wow friends and parents and so we were motivated to continue.

From these modest beginnings I was offered a slot as guitarist and background singer in a local band later on. And that’s when I got excited about music and it became the most important, most exciting thing in my life at that time. Drinking, partying, girls and all that – I couldn’t care less, unless they came to hear and see us perform. I guess, I craved the attention and was naive enough to think, it would be about my singing or guitar playing or anything in that vein. I’m afraid it took me until today to become aware of the saddening fact that in most, if not all cases, the music itsself isn’t the source of attention. I don’t even care to mention what I believe to be the real source of it, as it is so inacceptible to me that I’d rather not reinforce those things by calling them by their name. And second, if I did, I’d probably invite a fake argument about it.

Today, I can’t seem to handle this kind of attention any more. And I’m no longer sure, how much I’ve really appreciated it to begin with as I was apparently making a false assumption. In many cases, it seems about what people interpret first and the music seems to merely provide the context. That’s how things feel to me. I’m not saying it must be like this. But in my case, there is something I seem to invite, which then creates a lot of misunderstandings in the aftermath.

I guess I’m saying, some things have gotten old. Or I have. Or both.

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