(An expanded and/or edited version of this post appears in Rhan’s new book, All In Good Time – a Book About Playing Music for the Aspiring Ukulele Player. It is available at: www.rhanwilson.com/allingoodtime )
The other day I wrote a note of encouragement to my students who had just taken the first class in a series of four that was focused on playing by ear without the aid of music in front of them. We had a great class and I wanted to let them know that though some of the material was perhaps over their head, they were still learning important material.
As you may know, this blog I write is part hands on instruction, and part philosophy. Metaphors help me describe some of the ways we can grow musically as well as in our day to day doings.
Imagine if you will layer after layer of veils obscuring our vision. These veils represent all the limits we have taken on. Limits regarding our talent; our ability to learn; our zest for life. Some are so thin that by themselves they are barely noticeable. Some are more obviously thick and recognizable, but thick or thin – they add up to a serious crippling effect on our life.
Perhaps a teacher once told you that you had no talent and that you should give up on playing the violin and stick with something easier – Veil. Perhaps a parent scolded you for singing that same old rhyme over and over – Veil. Did you once try to address a crowd only to be laughed at and ridiculed? Veil.
You see, I believe that we were born perfect. We had rhythm, song, and love in our life. We still do, but it has gotten so buried by these negative messages that we don’t even remember how it “used to be”.
As Michelangelo said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
We already have everything we need to play music. We have rhythm. We have a song, and we have joy. We just have to take off all those veils – one by one – until we find our true selves again.
So the next time you are frustrated because you can’t get those chords or that strum, think about what you are learning.
Were you scared to attend that class you thought might be too advanced but did anyway? Veil removed.
Did you figure out something that you had trouble with earlier? Veil removed.
Were you okay with just listening and trying to adsorb what you could without thinking you were a failure? Veil removed.
Sometimes we learn things we didn’t mean to while we’re trying to learn something we’re not ready for yet.
What veils have you removed lately?