- Tuesday, July 25, 2017
The history of my musical journey
When I was very young, I remember admiring people who could play an instrument. The thought that a human could pull a bundle of horse hair across a string or blow into a pipe to make beautiful melodies was such a foreign concept to me, and being a kid from a small town in Alaska with non-musical parents led to an assumption I would never have the chance to learn.
This could not have been further from the truth.
When my family moved to Oregon, I saw that my new school district's music program was very good. In the 3rd grade, part of the music curriculum involved buying a recorder and learning the very basics of music theory. The following year, a "strings" program was made available for 4th and 5th graders. This was a district-wide program that was available until students graduated high school, where students could learn to play the violin, viola, or cello and walk away with a solid foundation in music theory and live performance skills in both a group and solo setting.
When I told my parents I would like to be involved in this program, they were very supportive of my decision... so long as I didn't pick the cello. "That's too bad", I thought; that would've been my first pick! They told me it was too hard to transport and too expensive. Sounded like a fair compromise to me, and I wasn't paying for it anyway so I was willing to take what I could get. A childhood friend of mine had been playing the violin since she was three years old, so I chose the violin to follow suit.
You don't know what note that is?
In the 6th grade, my English class read a book about a kid who sang in a boys' choir and discovered he had absolute pitch. The language in the book really confused me... why were people getting so excited about a task as menial as identifying which note you're listening to? I started reading this very article I've linked for you from Wikipedia.
It was at that moment I realized this was not something everyone could do.
Perhaps this is why I've always felt an intimate connection to music that I struggle to put into words. It's as if the notes are my friends, the timbre and articulation their quirks and personalities. This astonishing realization that I was a rare breed changed my relationship with music forever. Armed with the knowledge that my aural ability made me a part of the musical "one percent", I felt it was my duty to exercise that gift and to share it with others.
And share it I did. I started playing music at my local church, which was a huge part of my life during the latter half of high school and continues to be relevant to this day. I stuck with the school orchestra until I graduated, but not without picking up several other instruments on the side: the guitar, upright bass (when they needed someone to fill in for a concert), viola, and most importantly of all, the bass guitar. The bass guitar was my first true love. Sorry, Nikki.
The bass guitar
When I was a sophomore in high school, one of my best friends decided he wanted to start a band. He was really into guitar and needed a bassist. I agreed and eventually acquired my first bass guitar, a Squier jazz bass. Armed with my music theory background and the ability to know the notes of any song I listen to, I quickly picked up the new instrument from YouTube tutorials and lots of practice. The band didn't work out, but I enjoyed the bass so much I never stopped playing. In fact I played so much that some might consider me to be pretty OK at it. I don't often see people cover their ears, which seems like a good sign (there is, however, a funny story behind that which I'll leave for another post; it was one of my greatest onstage blunders).
That brings me to where I am today. I am thoroughly convinced that the bass and I were made for each other, and I've been playing it almost exclusively since I left high school. My favorite way to practice is to pick a song I like and just start playing it. Sometimes I'll practice with friends (a.k.a. "jamming") but we're just out to have fun; our sessions usually devolve into banging out some rock or metal as loud as we can get away with, which ends up sounding more like a ruckus than music, but that's okay.
I am open to the possiblity of gigging or joining a band. If you're looking for a bassist for a jazz, rock, or metal band, I may be interested. Perhaps you're looking for someone to play a one-time gig, or maybe you just want to jam for fun. In any case, please feel free to contact me via LinkedIn and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!