Monday, November 15, 2010

An Awakening

As I posted last week, I went to a concert last Monday night. I had a great time listening to the music and this past week I've been thinking a lot about how much I've strayed from music. All my life, music has been a huge part of my existence. Growing up, my dad played harmonica and percussion in several bands, most notably a band called the Zen Okies. I wish I could find a picture of their tee-shirts for you guys; they were so cool. It was the Oklahoma flag, but instead of the circular crest in the middle, it was a yin yang. Neat, huh?

Anyway, as a kid, my dad would always drag me and my mom (probably less "dragging" on the part of my mom) around to various gigs and festivals. Every year we would go camping for a weekend in Winfield, Kansas for the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival. I'd find ways to enjoy the shows and the festivals, and despite the boredom that came with being forced to listen to genres of music I wasn't particularly into at the time, the love of music has always been deep set in my blood.

As a teenager, part of how I defined myself and those I hung around was by music. Honestly, I kind of became a bit of a music snob, which is something I'm still trying to shake.

When I was 19, I bought my first guitar: a Martin Backpacker.

Isn't she pretty??
For those who might wonder, yes, this is a real guitar. It's been called many various things, like a ukelele for example, but all of them are wrong. It's a guitar. It has a slimmed down body and it is short 5 frets, but it is a guitar. And I love it. It was perfect to learn on. The fretboard is slightly slimmer than that of a regular, full bodied acoustic guitar and it's really easy to maneuver.

I spent hours upon hours upon HOURS fiddling around on this thing, learning to play. My friends who played guitar at the time all told me that I was learning at an incredibly fast pace and for someone who had played for such a short time, I was rather good. I was still a novice, but I was a good novice.

Then I got pregnant with Gracie. I gained almost 100 pounds during my pregnancy with her. I went from a tiny 114 lbs to a whopping 194 lbs (I say whopping for me. Because in comparison to 114, that IS whopping.) And let me tell you something: it is near impossible to play guitar around a ginormous, pregnant belly.

After having Gracie, I spent my time doing what most new mothers do: being a mom. I had already gotten out of the habit of practicing regularly and I didn't pick up my guitar very much in the first year of Gracie's life. And then I spent the second year of her life chasing her. Because that's what you do when your kid starts walking and running. I didn't set aside much time to play guitar, and over the past 5 years I've continued to pass over my guitar except in times of extreme boredom or random bursts of creative energy.

But hanging out at that concert last week, listening to the beautiful sounds that came out from the ukelele and the guitar on stage, these one person shows that were performed in front of me, my musical senses have been awakened. I've been spending more time practicing, and although I can say that I've got 8 years of playing guitar under my belt, I'm still only a novice. But I'm practicing, and I'm working hard. I don't ever intend on trying to become famous, but perhaps one day I'll be playing my guitar in front of someone and that sense of wonder that comes from the love of music will be awakened in them too.