I’ve always considered myself a music lover. When I left home, one of the things I wanted to buy was an MP3 player. (Seriously. I don’t think iPods even existed then). For a while I had one of those pathetic 500MB type stick players, but frankly it was crap and when I broke my headphones, I didn’t bother to replace them. For a while, I just used it as a backup USB stick, and now BF has gone and lost it – so alas, it lives no more!
I played recorder in primary school, like everyone else did, and then I progressed on to violin. I don’t really remember how much of a choice I had in that, but I went along with it. I briefly toyed with the idea of playing flute, and then considered the clarinet, but in the end I decided I preferred strings over woodwind. And I dutifully went to violin lessons every Saturday morning (primary school) played in the orchestra before school (intermediate) and took lessons during the school day (high school – GREAT way to get out of boring classes!) and played in the orchestra for a couple of years.
I must have been the WORST violinist ever to grace the earth. My attempts at participating in the orchestra were crap. My sight reading was shit. My technique was even worse. I would literally sit there and barely draw my bow across the strings and just pretend, because I couldn’t keep up, let alone know what the correct notes were to play!
One other person was in the same violin class as me in high school, and although he wasn’t totally into it either, he was a darn sight better than me and more committed to boot. NOT that that was hard. I went from practising three times a week to one, or none. It just didn’t interest me. I think the only things that kept me hanging on were those rare moments of true enjoyment, like nailing a passage or playing a beautiful piece, and a sort of feeling of inclusion. You know, I played violin, and that made me a MUSICIAN. It was part of who I was. And of course, I was just too stubborn to admit defeat and give up.
I never really liked classical music. I liked contemporary stuff. I would have the radio on in the mornings before I left, and on as soon as I got home. Sometimes I’d even play CDs during the night to fall asleep to! I would tape my favourite songs off the radio, and my favourite artist was Michelle Branch. When me and my mum went to Singapore, I convinced her to buy me her album. It’s one of the few I own.Then I decided I wanted to play guitar, so I got an acoustic and started writing my own songs. I was a super emo, introverted kid. I poured all my feelings out onto paper, into lyrics and into melodies. I had boy troubles with pretty much the same guy all through high school, and that provided me NO end of misery and inspiration.
Then I moved into my electric phase; I worked two jobs, 20 hours a week after school to save up. I bought my Ibanez and I bought an Ashton amp and I started to focus more on the technical side of things. I wanted to be able to riff and play solos – but I never could play standing up. I got into classics like the Eagles, Zep, Metallica, Nirvana, Guns n Roses, etc. I started to really appreciate technical skill, and i learned to hear basslines and harmonies. And although I would never have admitted it, I was (in my head) sort of trying to compete with my (now) ex, who also played.
After I left home, and broke up with him, I took guitar lessons for a little while. But it just got to be too much hassle – it was too far away and too awkward to get to, and several times I actually missed the bus out there! And after the breakup, I didn’t really feel much like playing.
Then I met BF. And I was calmer, and happier than ever before; I stopped writing songs. I didn’t need to anymore. They were sort of my creative outlet, but I couldn’t write when I was happy. Happy songs are damn near impossible. That summer I also pretty much stopped playing guitar as well, and I’ve never really picked it up since. I moved to a new place, where I didn’t have anywhere to put my little stereo, and so it languished in a corner. I gave up radio, and when I wanted to put CDs on, they just went into my computer. I built up a 20G strong music library on it, but after numerous crashes in which I lost all my songs, I lost heart and never bothered to rebuild it.
And to be honest, music hasn’t really played a large part in my life for a while. It has in the past, for sure, it’s got me through some tough times, and I have a playlist of songs which never fails to cheer me up when I need perking up. But now I have an iPod, and I’m determined to get back into it. I always forget just how much I really love music – there’s nothing like going to a live show, or tapping your foot and singing along to your most favourite song in the entire world (and irritating other bus passengers). I love such a huge range of music. From Fleetwood Mac, to Tool, to Mariah Carey, to Fall Out Boy, to Soundgarden, to GnR, Blue Oyster Cult, Kings of Leon, Aerosmith, Brad Paisley, Paramore, Muse, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Matchbox 20, Abba, Santana, Hendrix, Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins and the odd modern day song that’s too catchy to resist. (Current guilty pleasures: Ashlee Simpson, Lady Gaga, MGMT, Kids of 88…). The only stuff I don’t do is rap and what me and BF lovingly refer to as “hippity hop”. There are two possible exceptions – Coolio, Gangster’s Paradise, and Chris Brown, Run It. Never get tired of dancing to the latter!