I feel that music has the capability to make everyone a better person. It’s taught me patience, and modesty, which for me are some of the most important virtues. There is no doubt in my mind that it will do the same for anyone else, if they let it.
When playing in a band, chances are the members will all be at different skill levels. This can be handled two ways. Either the more skilled players gain patience, or the whole band just falls apart. Ideally, the group manages to adapt patience. If they do, they will most likely observe that having patience can help you a lot in life, and in any professional discipline. On the other hand, playing with people much more talented than you can be a very humbling experience, realizing how people can out-rank you musically. Being humble is also very important and attribute, since no one likes a cocky personality. All this was made clear to me in a very short period of time, with a few close friends.
It was eighth grade and the annual talent show was approaching. Three fateful nerds banded together and held a jam of epic proportions. Or at least, that was how it felt to us. At the time, we had all been at least somewhat friends with each other and all shared the desire to play music, and impress girls. I never expected though, to learn as much as I did from just a few jamming sessions.
Chris Long, the guitar player in our band was a hockey player, straight A student, great artist, good friend, and a lackluster guitarist. When we played guitar with each other for the first time I took note of his self-taught methods. It was hard at first working with him because, to be quite honest, he wasn’t as experienced as what I was used to for a fellow band mate, so I had to have some patience. Over time though, Chris got better and better, and eventually we were writing songs we could be proud of.
Then there was Ian McQuait the third nerd in our band. He had played drums for several years at the time and was incredibly humbling. Watching him play drums was like going to the zoo for the first time. Together we were ‘Honeydew and the Casabas’ Named after my dad’s old high school band.
On the actual day of the talent show our band walked up, Ian counted off to four, and then we started. Everything was going great; no one made any mistakes the entire performance. We hit the bridge and Ian erupted into a ferocious drum solo. Eighth grade girls let out screams of ‘Ian we love you!’ and stereotypical ’Woo hoo!’s. I was very much proud of the one-song show we put on.
Then Chase Filey’s band took the stage. They played several classic rock covers, including “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness. Their band was like a Mustang and we were a ramshackle Ford Probe. This was by far one of the most humbling experiences of my life. Nowadays when people ask me if I’m good at guitar respond with, ‘I’m decent’ or ‘I don’t know, kind of’ and I believe that this modesty is an incredibly important trait.
So I ask you, your plans this weekend, do they involve some sort of music? If you answered no, do something about it, I implore you.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.