Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Being A Musician Is Hard

I've been playing guitar for a very long time now, and one thing I can tell you is that writing and playing your own music isn't a cakewalk.  There's a reason why real professional musicians practice for hours upon hours everyday.  It's cuz making music is hard.

I was reminded of this fact this week cuz I, for the first time in a very long time, sat down to write a song.  Here's a few things I re-learned, and the reasons why I'm not a professional musician.  You know, beyond I'm just not very good.

  • Writing lyrics is a pain in the ass - Dude, trying to put your feelings into words... Not my strong suit.  Especially when you wanna keep to a specific rhythmic flow and you have to make everything rhyme.  I should stick to the A,A,A,A rhyme scheme.  At least that's a little easier.
  • Singing is hard - You may not believe me, but I used to have a pretty decent singing voice.  I cut my teeth singing along to Harry Connick, Jr. and Queen in my buddy's old orange Subaru (Code name: The Rock N' Roll Pumpkin).  I got pretty good singing along with Weezer and Nerf Herder and Fountains of Wayne.  Of course, back then I had no idea there was so much cool metal out there.  Once I found bands like Lamb of God, In Flames, and Children of Bodom, I pretty much stopped listening to bands I could sing along with.  Therefore, my voice fell out of practice and now it just sucks.
  • Singing while playing guitar is a challenge - It just is.  Playing your guitar parts while trying to remember your lyrics and sing on key...  I mean, there are plenty of people who can do it, no sweat.  Rivers Cuomo, Dave Mustaine, Brian Setzer.  Those guys can pull it off.  I can't.  Not without copious amounts of work.  And I have to wonder if it's worth it.
  • Ripping off your musical heroes is way too easy - There's a reason so much of the music I write sounds like Weezer and why all my metal riffs sound like something rejected from a Killswitch Engage record.  It's cuz I tend to regurgitate the music I love, without changing it too much.  It's just so much simpler to paraphrase something some band you love created.
  • Stagefright - I am incredibly shy and I don't do well in front of a crowd, even a one-person crowd.  So even if I somehow navigate the gauntlet of songwriting and get to the point where I can play it and sing it at the same time, I can't play it in front of anyone without pissing my pants.
Still, when I get it together and actually play my stuff for people, it feels pretty damn amazing.  So I should just suck it up and get on with it.  \m/  \m/

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