Sometimes you’ve just got to do things. Period.
All of my time since I’ve become a musician I have struggled…in particular to find what part of music touches me the most–the part I am most passionate about. Please understand that I’ve pretty much questioned myself my entire life at anything I’ve ever done, or attempted to do, so it has surprised me lately that a new understanding has come over me.
Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved music–who hasn’t? And it’s always been something I’ve wanted to be a part of but have never felt I’d ever be any good at it. Fast forward a few years ago and my heart started to change. It all happened when I volunteered to run the soundboard at my church for Sunday services.
Now, I had tried playing guitar before–in fact, I think I only learned two chords at the time; E and, maybe, A–but I never truly got the support and help I needed to go any farther. At the time, I was a really shy person (truthfully, because of something that had happened to me earlier in my life during my high school years, a rather tragic moment that I held onto for a long, long time) and so I didn’t persue any of it further on my own like taking lessons and the like.
In fact, I was hanging out with some guys that weren’t really good influences–them being into drugs–and, anyway, none of them had the patience to show me anything on guitar. So, I just put it down, disgusted. Well, eight years or so later, finding myself at the soundboard, I started to become re-interested in music, as it were. And after having watched the band play–the process of them practicing and what not–I thought to myself, “Hey, maybe, I could do that too.”
So, that’s when I started to revisit the whole music thing. And then, suddenly, I remembered how difficult it can be to play guitar. But, I really wanted to be part of the music. That’s when I thought, “Hey, I’ll try the bass–that looks easy enough.” And I already had an old bass guitar sitting around…let me give it a go, I thought. And, after trying it, I was like, “Wow, I can actually play a song and it doesn’t sound bad…”
However, over my whole learning process of playing bass (and God knows I’m still learning), I felt this feeling inside of me that I was still missing something. At first, I tried to ignore it, but it was always in the back of my mind, nagging me, pestering me. Then, I realized what it was: singing. Yeah, that was it.
Anytime and everytime I sang in the car or anywhere I felt fulfilled. Right…who doesn’t? Everyone sings in the car and the shower…and thinks they’re much better than they really are, right? Yeah. And that’s why I kept on dismissing it. I can’t do that. My voice isn’t good enough. I suck.
However, over the year and a half I’ve been doing bass I’ve found that sometimes I’ve had to sing while practicing. This has happened for a few reasons: a) We’re doing the song in a different key or b) It’s helped me remember the chords of the song or c) I’ve just found I could do it with certain songs. And throughout that time I’ve learned a lot. What works. Where I need work. All of it what I thought were perceptions.
For some reason, singing to me has been an intangible thing–something only certain individuals can do. Yet, part of me also rebelled against that notion, too. Then, I found myself talking about it to others…about wanting to sing. Other musicians in the band…just other people I knew. Of course, in the band it has been like, “Well, you need to learn to play your bass better first, man…get that down before you start doing anything else.”
However, no matter how much I’ve learned with bass–or guitar for that matter–I’ve still wanted to sing. Yet, to be honest, I was afraid to even try. Then, I came across this guy who does vocal lessons on the web and, wow, he was nothing but encouraging, saying that anyone can sing. So, I started…then stopped, and started again going through the lessons. And, guess what? I started to pick up on a few important things.
I won’t go through all of that here, but I want to say that I finally got the courage up last night to break out my microphone I have–and have had for nearly a year, along with my personal monitor speaker I have–and sang. I found a song–actually one we’re doing this weekend in the band–that is simple enough for me to play on guitar and sing. I know the melody and bam was surprised when my voice matched what I was playing. I was actually in key.
Yeah, a breakthrough I’d say. Of course, it wasn’t great…I know that, but it was an amazing start. I sat there and sang for a good hour going over and over until I knew I was getting things down better. Wow, does it help when you hear yourself. And those lessons…man they helped when it came to keeping my voice from being too nasally or flat. It was great. I actually shed some tears, too. Honestly.
The words–it being a Christian song–started getting to me. The more I sang and the more my confidence grew…the more powerful the emotions in me became. The more powerful my singing was. It was strange to see and hear and feel it happen, almost surreal. It gave me goosebumps–like nothing else ever has while I’ve been doing this music thing.
I always knew–having sung while practicing, but never really having listened to myself through a microphone–that possibly I was doing a few things right. So, okay, maybe I was after all. I’m still learning, obviously, and know I have a long way to go before I hit the stage doing it, but damn…I’m doing it.
The lesson here: Don’t hold back, just start doing what you want. Don’t let anyone, especially yourself, tell you that you suck at something and you’ll never be able to do it. Just do it. Listen to critcism when you know you should, of course, but otherwise just freaking do it! You won’t regret it, trust me.