A really long story about my musical journey

I have a lot of dreams. There are straight up too many things I want to be really good at, so I’m mediocre at most of them.

Cases in point– writing, music, art, acting, dance.

But mostly music.

Music has always come easily to me. I’ve been told I have a good ear a couple of times. However, I guess this is both a blessing and a curse, because I used being able to play by ear as an excuse to not learn how to read music. Years and years I did this, plunking out bits of tunes and chords on piano, until lo and behold I picked up a flute. Well, one can’t really play a wind instrument only by ear unless one wants to be totally handicapped. So thus my proper musical journey began.

Flute was never my home, so after a couple years of self-teaching I picked up clarinet. I thought that this one was my instrument of choice for another year or so. I never could get good though, and as soon as I got braces wind instruments were basically not an option. One cannot maintain proper embouchure when the shape of one’s teeth are constantly changing.

Thus began the years of musical drought in the life of Bethany.

I unfortunately from the ages of about 14-16 didn’t think I was any good at music and didn’t believe I needed music in my life.

What a foolish, foolish age that was.

At 15 I got my bass, an MTD. I still love this instrument so much. I still remember the first day I got it– my brother picked it out for me in a music store in Portland. He emailed me a picture (same model, different color) and made sure the price was okay with me. Brother is a pretty awesome musician, and I was dreaming of stardom, so I of course was good with his choice. This baby is awesome, and I don’t know if I’ll ever outgrow her. (It doesn’t hurt that it’s prettymuch the most beautiful bass out there.) But my brother brought it with him when he visited, and I was at work when he arrived. The memory is oddly vivid– I walked into the house, and a shiny new hardshell case. I squealed in delight, and immediately dropped my stuff to kneel before the case, tenderly lifting the instrument into my arms for the first time. My brother taught me Smoke on the Water and a jazz riff. I still love the way the E string makes the whole body vibrate against me.


I still was mediocre at best. I would play (I say “play” meaning “look at while failing to follow”) with my guitar-playing friends occasionally, and I expanded my repertoire by learning some Pat Benatar. I even took a few bass lessons, but I couldn’t seem to kick myself into gear to play for reals.

However, about a year and a half ago I started playing bass on worship team at my church. It’s all pretty simple stuff, and I got bored of it after about 6 months. That’s when I picked up ukulele. I admit I tried guitar in the interim between getting a bass and actually starting to play it, but I never could get the hang of it. There were too many strings, it hurt, and I didn’t understand the principals. I blame ukulele though for getting me interested in multi-stringed instruments in which you play more than one at once.

About six months ago I started taking guitar lessons, learning classically, and refreshing my knowledge of how to read music– and just like that, so many doors were opened to me that were closed before.

Music can take one on so many pathways, and I’m so excited for the journey to come.

Where has music taken you?

    • Robin
    • October 12th, 2011

    You’re gonna be jazzed about this: I was just stumbling and it brought this up! :-)

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