Curse of training wheels

Almost two years ago, I sat in my first Journalism class as a timid grad student.  My new media professor showed us this video and it resonated with me… to this day, it still does!  I don’t know how I forgot Ira’s enlightening words but after explaining the premise of this blog to my friend and fellow guitar player, Dan, I was referred to this video once again.  After watching it 3 or 4 more times in one sitting, I realized it should be shared with other aspiring musicians.

Clearly, the advice of Ira Glass can be used in different aspects of life and creativity but this is so freaking accurate when learning an instrument.  We all know what great music is and many of us quit because we don’t sound like our idol(s) and no one reminds you that it’s a long road of persistence, frustration, and rejection.  I mean, yes, we “know” of those things but let’s be honest, everyone wants to be the “exception.”  For those reasons and many more, that’s why I write in this blog: for the accountability, to share advice, and most importantly… to fight and toughen up through this long journey that’s ahead.

This is a concept I consistently beat my head against.  It’s hard man… I want to jam out with people but no one wants to jam with a musician who hasn’t removed their training wheels.  I dealt with that as a drummer and it’s frustrating, not to mention disheartening, when other musicians don’t want to collaborate with you because you aren’t a “badass” player yet.  And ya know what just kills me?   People constantly recommend playing with other musicians to improve… doesn’t this remind you of the catch 22 as a college graduate? “I’m overqualified for all these jobs but I don’t have enough experience for the other jobs…”

After trekking through the jungle of rejection and dissatisfaction,  I now understand why people refer to learning an instrument or anything in the creative realm as a journey.  As worthwhile as it is, there’s a lot of disappointment as a newbie… at least, that’s been my experience.  But don’t you worry, I’m still throwing punches back and so should you.

Muchos gracias Professor & Photojournalist Kim Komenich, Dan Padilla and of course, NPR’s Ira Glass.


I apologize for turning this post into a rant but I hope you love the video as much as I do.

2 thoughts on “Curse of training wheels

  1. OMG, you’re a drummer? Do you realize how in demand drummers are? I’ve resorted to playing along with YouTube musicians, which works for me because I can hit the Pause button when I lose them and go over it again & again until I get it right. Take heart in the gift of your youth — I’m going to be 72 this year! I only wish I had had this passion for making music when I was your age, but I hadn’t yet given myself permission to even try.

    • Thank you! That’s actually one of the reasons why I wanted to be a drummer. I figured it would be useful to know how to play drums instead of constantly looking for a drummer when I’m in a band.

      Learning with videos definitely has its perks. I wish I had the motivation to use videos, but I need an external push. Sometimes during my lessons I wish I could pause my teacher and rewind instead of asking him to repeat himself, haha. But asking is sometimes beneficial because he or she will rephrase the explanation. Sometimes online guitar teachers leave me with questions that I wish I could ask. They both of have their pros and cons obviously.

      72?! Wow, you’re incredible. Learning guitar, blogging and all… that’s really impressive. I think everyone wishes they pursued their passion earlier in life, that’s normal no matter the age.

      That reminds me… my guitar mentor has a student that is your age and learning bass guitar. She was really struggling at first but you know what she told him? “I’m going to learn this guitar, even if it kills you.” Haha. Today, she’s a great bass player, he told me.

      Anyways, keep it up and continue blogging!

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