Missing the Past

There are sounds from my childhood that I miss dearly. Like the sound of my grandfather’s grandfather clock or the perk of his coffee maker in the morning – two sounds I could conceivably replicate today. But there are other sounds I fear I’ll never have again.

The sound of summer without the ring of tinnitus! Rotary phones. The pop and crackle of a vinyl record. The sound of a manual typewriter.

Our world is changing. These sounds are unknown to most people under the age of 25 today. Arguably it’s not a bad thing. These sounds are replaced by others.

The beep of a cell phone, the pure music heard from digital recordings (though i still think the warmth of sound from vinyl is unbeatable!), the soft click of the computer keyboard… All these will change too. What will replace those?

In 100 years all these sounds will predictably be completely different. In 1000 years those will be completely forgotten… and in 10000 years every bit of history we’ve ever known up to this point will be completely forgotten.

Is this why we feel nostalgia? Because we also know how fleeting everything is?

Man… what a bummer!

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Do You Want to Play?

You might say you wish you were good at playing an instrument. You might believe that musical talent, and perhaps all talents (sciences, languages, drama, etc) are something you are born with. Over the years I’ve come to think this belief is completely wrong.

There are studies (which I alluded to in the Bruce Lee post) that demonstrate that people gain expertise through an investment of time and energy – through practice. Anyone can play! Waiting for a divine gift of talent will probably only be an exercise in frustration… If you don’t put in your own energy, the most likely outcome will be nothing!

To play for pleasure, which most musicians do, you need a smaller time investment than you would need to become an expert. Pros play for 4 – 8 hours a day! As a hobbyist, half an hour to an hour a few days a week would probably be perfect.

So ask yourself, “do I really want to play?” If the answer is yes, the next question is “what?” What kind of music do you like? What instrumental sound in the mix seems to always catch your ear?

The next step is to get yourself an instrument! I suggest an inexpensive one – just in case. It’s been argued that when a serious investment is made then you will be more motivated to practice… I’ve seen that this doesn’t always work.

Now, do a little research. Look for a little info about your instrument, who the best players are, maybe where there is a good teacher nearby, and by all means, make noise! Experiment with your instrument, see what kinds of sounds you can make. At first, it’s most common that everything you do will probably sound terrible!!!

The penultimate step is to find time in your busy schedule to play. This is usually the most difficult. Especially since we’ve been programmed to think it’s frivolous and selfish to play. The studies show that the benefits of playing an instrument go beyond just making music. It has positive effects on you intellectually, socially, and emotionally. It just happens to also be fun! Let yourself have fun.

Which brings us to the last step – enjoy.