I adore music. I love its power to make me happy or studious or motivated to kick ass at the gym. I love that it can occasionally make me cry. I love that you can listen to music with people who don’t speak your language and share an experience with them.
I am not a cool music person. I don’t listen to the radio, and I rarely know who is singing a song I like, much less random trivia about the singer or band. Usually by the time I am aware of a singer or band’s existence, they’ve been around long enough to have made several greatest hits albums. (eg. I “discovered” Aerosmith about two years ago.) In fact, they’ve often been around long enough to be dead. I don’t often go to concerts because I actually would rather invest in the CD and be able to control the volume to my liking (I sound about 80, don’t I?) and avoid other people singing along. (Other people singing along to live performances bring out my homicidal tendencies.)
I used to care about this. Knowing stuff about music is cool, and when I was younger I really wanted to be cool. I have since decided that cool is just not who I am or who I’ll ever be, musically or otherwise. I’ve dealt with it. I like Ricky Martin. His songs make me feel cheerful and bouncy, and if that makes me a dork, I really don’t care.
When I hear great music, usually classical, I have musician fantasies. Mostly these are themed around being an amazing pianist or cellist, but I’m pretty open, and whoever is being awesome is who I want to be. These fantasies are often accompanied by a mild feeling of melancholy. For about seven years while I was in school, I played in the concert band, and I loved it. I wasn’t great or anything, and I played the flute, which isn’t a cool instrument, but I was pretty good for a kid in the school band, and it was a lot of fun and very satisfying to be part of a group producing something that was good. But like most people I know, I gave it up when I graduated. And I miss it. A lot. I don’t obsess about it or anything, but it comes to me in waves now and then that I used to be part of something creative, and I let it go, and while I understand how and why that happened and all, it still makes me a little sad. I sometimes think of taking up another instrument. But I’ve never got around to it.
This weekend I was checking out the garage sale across the road and at it I saw a pink guitar. The very same guitar pictured at the top of this post, in fact. Here was my thought process, more or less exactly as it went, although in reality my mind sped through this in about three seconds:
What is that pink thing? Is that… it’s a pink guitar! I didn’t even know they made pink guitars! Wow, it is exactly the same colour of pink as Barbie’s car! That’s hilarious! Who would buy a pink guitar? Wait! No! [Suddenly overwhelmed by uncharacteristic consumer’s lust] This guitar is great! I love this guitar! It is the most beautiful guitar I have ever seen! I should learn to play the guitar! I need to learn to play the guitar… and I need to do it on this guitar! I wonder how much they’re selling it for.
Please note that I do not usually think all in exclamation marks. I’m generally a pretty calm person. And as it turned out, it cost a bit more than I really wanted to spend on an impulse buy, so I went away to think (read: obsess) about it, but came back the next day to buy it. And I am so happy I did. Still basking in the glow of a new toy, I suppose, but whatever. It really is the most beautiful guitar I’ve ever seen. And it has a nice sound too. Here’s a detail: Note the lovely rose motif. “And is that glitter I see, winking cheekily at me,” you say? Yes, yes it is. (Bliss!)
So of course, now I actually have to learn to play this guitar. I know how to read and how to count, so I figure that’s a good start, and as luck would have it, my computer came with a music program (yay craigslist!) that has beginner guitar lessons on it. So far I have done lesson 1 twice. I have learned how to hold and tune my guitar, what to do with a pick, how to strum, and how to play an E chord. I have also learned — and I must say I was not expecting this — that playing a guitar kind of hurts your fingers. I guess it makes sense, as you are pushing down on wires; I’d just never thought of it before. But that’s ok. I’m willing to suffer for my art.
Tomorrow, I believe, I may begin lesson 2 – the G and C chords. Fame, fortune and promiscuous groupies — here I come!