As with a lot of things lately, I’ve been lazy about guitar practice. In my effort to try to get back into something of a routine I practiced a few classical pieces that I know. Most of them I learned in high school. All of them I learned from books that I got during high school or perhaps a little bit later, when I was about to become a music major in college. I switched majors after one semester with the idea that musically I would work with “rock” music (whatever that means anymore). Nevertheless I tried to maintain the discipline that I had retained from that period. I figured that not only did I enjoy what I did but keeping up the discipline may help keep my mental skills sharp.
As I played the pieces earlier waves of memory swept through my mind. I kept thinking of guitar classes in high school mixed with images from my experience in college. I remember wowing my classmates at how good I was getting. I remember my college instructor getting upset with his students after none of us had attended his recital a few nights before. I remembered all of my hopes and expectations, most of which I haven’t met yet I always held the belief that I still have time. Perhaps I do. Tonight, however, I focused on the past.
Lest you think that I’m pining for the “good ol’ days,” I grew concerned as I packed up my guitar for the evening. Have I been only practicing classical guitar for the sake of nostalgia? Have I been wasting my time?
The sad truth is that yes, I think I have. For years whenever I “practiced music” I focused on classical pieces. (By the way, I know that I’m using the term “classical” in the more popular sense even though I also refer to music from other time periods. It’s just easier than spelling it out every time.) Sure, I learned some new pieces and tried hard to master difficult passages, all for the sake of having learned them. But I wasn’t enjoying myself as much as I could have. It wasn’t the type of music that I wanted to do. I always thought of myself as a rock musician first, yet I played very little. I announced a year and a half ago that I consider myself a bassist first yet I haven’t seriously picked up my bass since I recorded the last Shadows of Immurement album.
When I start creating music in my head, ninety-nine percent of the time it takes the form of something I would do with Shadows of Immurement. What was intended as a one-off project became my primary musical outlet of expression. Why am I shying away from it? I don’t think that I have been. I’ve been obsessing over something else so much that I haven’t devoted enough time to what I really should be doing. (This isn’t to put Popkin-Salvador by the wayside, but as that involves another person and his schedule, I have a hard time regarding that as my “main” band anymore.)
I decided that I’m going to give up playing classical music for a year. Afterwards, if I have the drive to try it again I will do so. But I won’t give in until at least August 19th, 2016. This way I can find out if I’m wrong about this. I don’t think I am. But I would hate to give up playing a type of music that I know how to play when it turns out that I do enjoy it without pretense. Over the next year I still plan on keeping a musical discipline, but based on the music that I want to produce publicly. I don’t mean playing live, at least not yet. That’s another hurdle that I have to get myself to jump over.