The Setlist

Music Is About More Than You

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Dec 25th, 2009
This post was originally written on the blog.

There are a lot of reasons to play an instrument. But many of those reasons fade to the background when you face hard times. I once heard a famous guitarist remark in an interview that the only reason any man picks up a guitar is to gain some company for the evening…if you catch my drift. He’s an idiot.

Within the past few months, I’ve received more than a few emails from people who have fallen on hard times. Unemployment, divorce, depression and some pretty severe financial problems.

For these people, in those situations, playing the guitar is a source of joy in the midst of hardship. It has made me realize that free guitar lessons are much more than a marketing and promotion tool. To the guy who can barely afford to keep food on the table free guitar lessons mean something.

I don’t know what skill level some of these viewers are at, but one thing I know for sure. If they can manage to play two notes that make them happy, those two notes are worth more to them than 500 notes played out of boredom.

I’m not one of those people who thinks that you have to be going through hard times to play the blues with feeling. But I do think it’s fascinating that during those hard times, people usually play music for the same reason. To express how they feel.

All of the other BS reasons that people do music, to get attention, to make a name for themselves, to get lucky, all of them fade when you’re struggling.

During those times, when you pick up that guitar, it’s supposed to say the things you might not be able to. And that, is something you should never forget. Especially in the good times when you might find yourself doing music for all the wrong reasons.

Music, and the people who play it, have tremendous impact on our lives. And when you play music, you have the opportunity to impact the lives of people you might never meet. When you sit down to play your guitar, you might just be doing it to make yourself feel better.

But someday, if you keep playing, someone might need to hear what you’re playing to lift their own spirits, to inspire them to keep picking up their guitar. Like most things in life, music is not always about us.

So if you’re reading this on Christmas day, or shortly after, and life has definitely been better, just remember that the notes you learn today, might inspire someone else in your shoes someday. And if that day comes, I hope you tell them the same thing I’m telling you.

The notes you learn today might be needed by someone you’ll never meet.

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