Music is my crack and yea, it's wack...
At a recent gig I played, an old work friend mentioned how he used to play bass for a short period of time when he was a kid. "I just didn't have the patience for it," he said, when explaining why he stopped.
"I don't either," I responded. I wasn't joking.
"Well, obviously you do..." he responded, "you're a professional musician."
But seriously, I don't have the patience for it. Luckily though, music is like my crack. It's more about addiction for me than patience.
Being naturally inclined towards music could only get me so far when I picked up the guitar at age 10. I think the natural talent probably let me slide through lessons and school band to about age 14. At that point, upon entering high school, I hit a wall where I was like "Oh shit, I actually need to practice...a lot." Fortunately though, I was already hooked on the drug.
A lot of the time when I sat down to practice, even to this day, it's like pulling teeth. I sometimes don't want to practice. At all.
Once I get over my laziness and really get going though, there's a flow state I can tap into where everything else in my environment just fades away. As if in a drug induced state, it's just me and that bass. Challenging me. Relentlessly. That is the addicting part for me.
Back to that night after the gig... I was both annoyed and excited about my playing. I could tell how my extra hard work practicing lately had paid off. At the same time though, that gig still highlighted all the aspects of my playing that I knew I needed to work on.
Again, the crack analogy: I left that gig feeling like I had a good hit, but at the same time, I was left with wanting more. I wanted more out of myself and my playing.
That's the thing about being a musician: there's always room for MORE- more growth, better ears, better time, more capacity for speed and agility, a wider vocabulary...you get the idea.
I feel like the night I come home from a gig feeling complacent with my playing, is the night I need to sit down and analyze what's REALLY going on. The day I don't feel this burning desire to be more for my music is the day I should seriously consider quitting. HOWEVER, don't get me wrong, this attitude is not about living a life full of musical regrets. Instead, it's about always striving to be a better version of yourself.
*picture via magnoliaviolette.