“How many of you listen to music?” All hands went up. This was followed by “How many of you have attempted to make music?” A few hands dropped down, and a few remained.
Again: “How many of you can successfully make music?” A lot of hands dropped down this time.
I was sitting at the back of the Music Club, a mere spectator to all of this. I had no intention to be a part of the Music Club. Sitting in a corner, I was trying to attract as little attention as I possibly could for, although I love music, it perhaps doesn’t love me back. I can play no instruments and I’m a lousy singer.
I had found my way to this Club on a lazy Sunday afternoon for I had nothing better to do that day. Indeed, it’s sad to have gone to such an amusing setting but which would teach me so much. Nonetheless, it was merely because I had time to spare that I found myself in this club.
I watched intently as the instructor talked passionately about music, filling her every word with music. This girl seemed to know what she was talking about, and more so, she seemed to know how to make melody out of seemingly unmelodious things: she would clap his hands following a certain beat, use a gavel against the wooden podium for some rhythmic effects. As I watched her, I thought how naturally music comes to her!
Of course, I was only partially correct. She was a gifted musician, this instructor. But like with any other ability, her musical talents thrived because of her persistent efforts and hard work.
Now enough about hard work and skills. Let’s get back to what rekindled the musician in me, so to speak.
So, yes, by the end of that lazy Sunday afternoon, I was so taken by the idea of learning how to make music – or to play an instrument, more specifically – that I decided to enroll myself in this Club.
Of course, after the basic introductions were done and we were all informed about the various instruments we could choose to learn, I made up my mind to go with the clichéd guitar.
A guitar would be uplifting, it would be strong, and it would be a very cool instrument to play. And out I ventured to buy myself my very first six-stringed instrument.
I didn’t know which guitars were the best, or how each one was different from the other. I didn’t understand the obsession among musicians when it came to their instruments.
However, these were the observations of a mere amateur who was yet to learn the value of “the very first guitar.” So I purchased a plain, simple and an affordable guitar that would serve my purpose – to help me learn how to play it: nothing more, nothing less.
Week after week, I found myself in this same amusing setting amidst eager musicians ranging from kids as young as twelve years of age to mature individuals around thirty years. Surely, age is no barrier when great things are destined to happen.
We all strummed away our prized possessions, and before long, the class was divided into the “good” guitarists who could upgrade their level, and the rest of those who needed more time to become good guitarists. I was in the latter lot.
I wanted to hold my guitar and beautifully and eloquently sing songs of spring and rains, and God knows what else these musicians get inspired by. But all in vain: I simply couldn’t find the musician inside of me.
Alas! Had I started learning the guitar at the age of, say, six, I would’ve been a maestro by now, I thought. And sometimes I thought that it simply wasn’t in me to be a musician. But whatever the reason was, I feel that taking up an instrument at a younger age would definitely have made me go a longer way in my attempt at playing the guitar.
So I urge all you young people to ask Mommy and Daddy to enroll you in some classes that enhance your creativity. Don’t just spend time going to school and doing your homework or watching TV. Make sure that you’re creative as well: It’s an important attribute to be a well-rounded individual.
Again, back we go to my music classes: The truth of the matter is that I was a substandard guitar player, struggling to play the instrument the right way. Although I dreamt of doing wonderful things with the ability to play the instrument, my dreams and the reality of the times were at two different levels. So eventually, I dropped out of the classes, but never regretting the fact that I took them.
Oh, how I wish my little anecdote had a happy ending, to leave everyone inspired about the wonderful possibilities of life. However, it didn’t work out that way for me in this case. I tried, and I didn’t succeed.
But you know what? That’s completely okay with me, for I call to mind what Bob Marley said, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”
The writer is a student of Political Science at Thammasat University who enjoys exploring life and all that it has to offer.