April 8, 2020 at 8:54 am #47356
Dramatic title yes but seriously, read this if you are a young musician/composer.
This is what I should be at my age:
A concert pianist
A world class guitarist
This is what I am not:
A concert pianist
A world class guitarist
This is why. Looking back at my musical life, I made some really bad choices.
This will be long but I will put it here as I don’t want people to make these bad choices because you WILL regret it in later life.
So it all started when I was six years old. My brother was having classical piano lessons. The teacher would come to our house every week. My parents asked me if I wanted to have piano lessons too and cos I thought my brother was cool, I said yes. Now that was the first ‘best choice of my life’ I made, even though I was only six lol.
So I started. Lessons, practice every day, lessons, practice every day and so on.
I think I got to grade 2 but can’t fully remember. I remember going to be graded in Crouch End North London.
I was doing well, piano and theory.
When I got to the age of twelve, I heard Led Zeppelin and that hit me like a ton of bricks. I told my parents that I want to stop the piano but I will learn the guitar instead. Reluctantly they agreed. Huge mistake No1.
I had one guitar lesson and as it was Spanish guitar, I didn’t like it, I wanted to be Jimmy Page so I said to them, I will teach myself.
Ok, that wasn’t too bad. Every day, I would rush home from school and play my guitar for hours at a time. I loved it, playing along to all my records, getting books on chords and learning how to stand in front of a big mirror lol.
When I got to 21, I decided I wanted to play keyboards again but under my own steam.
I sold my guitar that I saved up £600 to buy (top of the range Yamamha SG2000 Santana’s guitar)
and lost a lot from that sale but I bought a pidley little keyboard.
Selling that guitar, huge mistake No2.
By now, my taste in music had widened. So I was playing classical, rock, blues and some pop.
If you saw my little video clip of me playin a part of a Gavotte, I got to a point where I could learn and play things like that so I was progressing pretty well on the keyboard.I forgot most of the theory I had learnt but I could still read music to a certain degree and learn that way.
I also had a good ear for listening to classical piano pieces like Moonlight Sonata, and learning them by heart just by listening to them.
So now we hit the 90’s. In 91 I got married and the first thing we bought was a computer.
I used to record all my music on a double cassette over dubing each part, then I used a 4trk recorder but everything I recorded was ‘Live’.
Now the computer was great and I got into midi and I got Cakewalk.
Huge mistake No3. I stopped recording ‘Live’ and I started step recording. With midi it was so easy plus I could compose things that where way above my playing ability.
Specially when I got into Trance as everything I wrote I programmed in.
I didn’t touch a guitar for at least 15 years and I didn’t physically play my keyboards anymore, I just programmed music through Cakewalk.
That was huge mistake No4.
Huge mistake No5 was, thought the 80’s 90’s and early to mis 20’s, I was sending out demos to all the major labels and game devs. I came so close on so many occasions but it always when wrong. The huge mistake No5. was I gave up trying. I pushed and pushed and it got me down so I stopped.
If I could go back to when I was twelve, I now know exactly how I would pan my life out but you never learn until it’s too late.
These are all the mistakes I made that you shouldn’t. Specially if you are just starting out. Push yourself but don’t stop.
I hope I didn’t bore you too much but I just wanted to get this out.April 8, 2020 at 3:57 pm #49214ConnerParticipant
Many of us do things we regret, but the best news Keith is that you have your whole life still ahead of you and you know where you want to be.
For me discipline has always been the hardest part of the craft, and sure – by now I could be a way better keyboard or guitar player than I am, but I also wouldn’t be as familiar in the DAW as I am or as proactive to seeking out new and experimental musics as I am now. And I think for me that’s something I couldn’t imagine missing out on, even though I’m sure I would have found joy in different musical avenues too.
For you I can’t really say anything definitively, but I know if you were a famous concert pianist we would sure miss you around here!April 8, 2020 at 4:52 pm #49431
Thanks Conner, yeah maybe we all make bad choices sometimes but I didn’t have anyone tell me these things when I was younger. At least now, I can put my story out there for others to make them think.
As for me now, I am 62 so realistically, it’s a bit late.
That’s why I said at my age I should be these things cos I started from 6 yrs old.
As for being a concert pianist, or famous, I am one of those types that think it wouldn’t make me feel that i’m better than anyone else so I would still be here and do what I do.
It’s all about interacting with people that you have a lot in common with.
Fame for most people tends to make them feel above everyone else.
I am a Human being just like everyone else on this planet and in my eyes, we are all the same if you know what I mean lolApril 8, 2020 at 7:18 pm #49914
I don’t know if this link is going to work but here goes.
I recorded this a few days ago.
This is part of a piece I taught myself when I was about 20. It is called Gavotte with variations by Rameau. I used to play the whole piece with no mistakes all the way through.
This is what I gave up by making a bad choice.
Imagine what I could have been 40 years later if I had carried on the piano lessons.April 9, 2020 at 3:19 am #51090Richard FerrandoParticipant
Good thread, Keith.
Personally, I’m a firm believer in the butterfly effect; that one small change in the past can result in enormous repercussions in the future, not all of them good.
For a long time I wished I hadn’t given up the saxophone, which I sucked at playing most egregiously. But giving it up let me focus on building my skills as a filmmaker and storyteller, something that led me down a life path I never expected, and gave me lifelong friends who I cannot imagine living without.
The funny thing about regret is that we tend to view it through rose-colored glasses, like everything would be better if we just made this one change here, another change there. But the amount of living that might not be enriched by those changes, the accomplishments we wouldn’t achieve, the friends and family we may never have met, never have loved; for many, myself included, it’d be an unfathomable loss.
My philosophy: Be not regretful of the life that might have been, be grateful for the life that is, for it is a miracle.
Hope that helps.April 9, 2020 at 6:11 am #51247
Thanks Richard, you do put some very good points here.
Yeah my life would have gone a totally different way, that’s true but if you do make the right choices from the very start, you wouldn’t know the alternate life you may have had with wrong choices.
It is a bit of a complicated subject how we are breaking it down but at least it is putting both sides out there for people to really think about.
If you are young then at least you can read this and understand how you can shape your life ahead of you.
I hope this makes sense. 🙂April 9, 2020 at 9:34 am #51584Richard FerrandoParticipant
Of course, sir! To quote the immortal Dr. Emmett L. Brown, “The future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.” Encouraging the young to follow their dreams is always a wonderful thing, as is advice from those who have learned by experience!
I guess I was speaking more as someone who has spent a lot of time looking back from what is, at best, the halfway point of my life, wishing I had made better decisions in my past, but at the expense of actually living in the present. I wasted an awful lot of time feeling discouraged over things I can’t change instead of being thankful for all that I do have, taking steps to achieve old goals now, and being ok with it if those goals need to change into something more realistic and practical.
Heck, that’s why I’m here. I gave up writing music 15 years ago, didn’t think I’d be able to turn the sounds in my head into reality. But I finally said “F— it. I want to try.” I might never learn all I need to know about composition. I might never be able to do it professionally. But I’m going to do whatever it takes to make the best-sounding failure I can. 😁
Cheers, sir!April 9, 2020 at 11:52 am #51888
Well said Richard.
I have gone through self doubt about my composing ability too, I think most composers do.
When I started composing my own music, I thought it was great, I thought I had a real talent. ok, so I was wrong lol. There is nothing wrong in being self confident in what you do but the bottom line is, it’s not us that matters, It’s what other hear and think of our music that matters.
I once posted that I have spent over 20k on instruments and software so I can write music for myself as no one else listens to it. So is it an expensive hobby for a lot of us?
Well the only way of making it in the music biz is this way and you either get a break and it starts paying off or you don’t.
I have always believed there are 100’s of John Williams and Hans Zimmers out there but most will go un noticed specially now days as there are so many ‘bedroom studios’ producing fantastic music.
Just write music to your ability and put it out there on internet platforms and just leave them there. You may only get a few hits but one day, the right person might stumble upon one of your pieces and that could change your life.
Just believe in what you do 🙂
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