I’m not a very good musician.
It takes me a long time to learn something. I can’t play anything by ear, beyond simple one-line melodies. I can’t compose. And don’t even get me started on theory.
It can be so difficult. Sometimes it makes me feel like shit. I think about how absolutely amazing people are - they’re “real” musicians, I think. Then there’s me, tinkering shabbily at a piano or just blowing wind through my clarinet. What am I doing?
So often, I want to just stop. Quit. Do something I’m actually good at. It’s too hard, too demoralizing, too stressful, too depressing. It’s not like I’m going to make a living with music, or even do anything beyond recreational playing. Why bother? Why put myself through this?
But then I listen. I’m moved by that soft, emotional piano piece. I’m stunned by that improvised jazz saxophone lick, or awed by how powerful that singer’s voice is. How can someone possibly get through those 16th-note clarinet runs so effortlessly? How is it even possible for someone’s fingers to fly across the piano that flawlessly?
How can a mere collection of pitches evoke so many feelings?
In the end, I can’t leave. I can’t just walk away - not because I’m brilliantly gifted, or because I profit financially or materialistically from it, but because of the simple fact that I love it.
I love listening to the many people who are many levels above me. I love learning new pieces. I love the feeling of playing my instruments. I love the rush of performing, the relief and elation that follows a great show or performance. I love the fact that I can create something as beautiful and amazing as music.
And because of that, I will always come back.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some practicing to do.