Thoughts On Todays Younger Musicians Part 1

As a musician one of the things I really enjoy is meeting, getting to know and listening to other musicians perform. Sometimes when I myself have a heavy schedule of performing I am not able to have the opportunity to seek out live entertainment. When I am able to do it I almost always enjoy the experience. It is a good feeling to be able to sit and relax while listening to someone else perform for a change.

Through the years (and there have been many more than I care to count) I have had the good fortune to hear many great performers. From international recording artists to mainstream festival performers to traveling singer songwriters I have witnessed a full range of musical talent.

One thing I find particularly exciting is listening to much of the new music being written and performed by young up and coming singer songwriters. I think back to my early days of playing my guitar and singing anywhere I could. I practiced songs and ached for the opportunity to sing them to someone….anyone.

When I look at these youngsters (and I don’t say that in a demeaning way) I get excited for them. It seems that today they are so far advanced in their playing abilities, songwriting skills and ability to find venues where they can perform. I think that has a lot to do with the technology available to them through the internet.

When I was starting out learning to play the guitar I had a guitar instruction book that taught me how to play the chords on the guitar. Then once I learned the chords I had to decide what song to play. Once I decided that, I had to listen to a recording of the song and try to figure out what the chords were and at the same time write down the lyrics so I could memorize them. The cost of purchasing a music book that included the songs I wanted to learn to play ensured that I would have to rely on my “musical ear” to achieve the desired result. But it wasn’t an easy task. I feel fortunate that I was given the gift of a good musical ear. Luckily it made the process a little easier for me. Now that I look back on the whole process I realize there was a problem that didn’t even occur to me at that time. And that was the fact that I was limited in my exposure to guitar playing technique. I had to find other guitar players who were further along in the craft than I was so I could glean from them what they knew and apply that to my own frail abilities. Finding others who could play the guitar better than me was not the problem. There were plenty out there that fit that bill. The problem was accessibility. The opportunity to schedule joint practice times so we could exchange information and techniques was difficult. Getting to the particular location to have a practice session was a hindrance as well. As they say in the current UPS commercials it is all about logistics. It was a struggle….but a good struggle. It is what we had and I feel fortunate that I was able to utilize as much as possible all of the avenues we had back then to learn the craft of guitar playing and singing. I am a product of that environment.

Today there are so many tools available at the touch of a mouse click that can enable a musician to learn anything you can imagine. From music tutorials on YouTube to personal one on one sessions through Skype a person can learn whatever it is they want to learn. Is that great or what? I find it extremely exciting for the present age. At our fingertips we have the resources that can transform a thought into an action that produces a finished product..a finished work of art. All within a very short amount of time. It is fantastic. The young people today are certainly lucky to have these tools at their disposal. And guess what? So are the older people like me. I am learning new things everyday.

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