still hoping for hope

10 Jul

I’ve decided that taking a break from music is not what I need and it’s not the answer to any of my problems. Taking a break from music would be silly; it would be taking the easy way out. I have come so far, too far and so close to a point where I can’t back out now.

I am not allowing any one person such as an uninspiring guitar teacher ruin my musical experience. There’s always the option of running away, of never going back. I mean, I’ve done this to almost every single piano teacher I’ve ever had. This is one of the reasons why piano lessons never went well for me, until I found someone who understood my intentions, my passions and goals. I am myself and I can get to where I want to be if I do a bit of searching.

The past few days have seemed a little odd, almost like I’m trying to reacquaint myself with music. In some ways, I did try to avoid listening to music, but at the same time, I couldn’t get myself to stay away. Yesterday night, I was reading frankie and there was a feature of Bon Iver. Something in that article, like everything else in frankie captivated me. I found a Bon Iver in me, the part about heartbreak, winter and wanting to release all that’s been hurting. I started reading Bon Iver’s lyrics, trying to picture the stories. My fascination with Bon Iver’s lyrics grew like a wild tree.

I didn’t really accomplish much of anything today. I picked up my guitar for a few hours. Although I made up a simple rift, it seemed too simple and unoriginal that at the end of my jam session, I felt unaccomplished. On my breaks from songwriting in those hours, I tried to find an ‘easy’ Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix tune to play. Turns out I need to introduce myself to actual playing rock n’ roll, instead of listening through speakers. To say the least, I had a less than promising jam session today.

Somewhere in the blogosphere, Michelle Branch talked about watching the documentary, It Might Get Loud, featuring The Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White. After hearing about this documentary via Michelle Branch, I knew I had to experience the film myself. And after watching It Might Get Loud, audio played through my amp (the only way to watch a music documentary), I am speechless. Listening and watching these three accomplished, legendary guitarists talk and play on the guitar is the guitar gods delivering their prowess. They are masters at what they do and I am intrigued by how much they learn from each other, playing each other’s tunes and sharing their personal experiences. Most of the songs that were featured I’ve heard of before. There were questions I had never even thought of asking, such as why the double neck guitars and how Jack White plays ‘Seven Nation Army’ (open A tuning). The Edge plays one of his tape demos, ‘Where Streets With No Names’ (a song that became significant to me after coming home from my first humanitarian trip in China in 2009). The Edge notes how Bono is counting in the recording and explains the counting of 6 beats or waltz time. I never paid attention much to counting, only mesmerized by the melody. He also makes a special emphasis on how U2 carves out the songs and without the carving, the songs wouldn’t be what they are now. Watching him play made me realize every song needs a pulse. I never liked Led Zeppelin until Jeremy, my previous guitar teacher played Bron-Yr-Aur. Before in middle school, I was introduced to ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and I thought that tune was eerily weird. But after watching a recorded version of Jimmy Page play ‘Stairway to Heaven’, I have a much more respect for that song and how the tune is thoughtfully built up. Jack White is almost like a character of Johnny Depp, the way he hauntingly plays his music. But there is a soul in him that keeps his music real. He is an expert at what he does. They all are. It Might Get Loud ended rather too quickly, even after watching deleted footage, but maybe it’s because I didn’t want the music to end. There is a whole lot to love in It Might Get Loud.

In the documentary, The Edge said, “there’s always going to be something if you just keep going.” The words are nothing fancy, but they mean something to me. These words are a revelatory guiding direction I needed to hear. Even if I feel like a failure, I am not giving up. Even if I haven’t written a song I would love to share to the world, so what? Even the best have been terrible at some point in their career. One time I wrote lyrics that never worked out, but it goes something like, “I’m not giving up in the things I believe in.” I am fighting for what I love and believe in. Music. Just keep going. Maybe one day I’ll be closer to where I never imagined or dreamed of. I am still hoping for hope. I am trying to have this mindset that there is a lot to be hopeful about. There will always be something better and brighter to look forward to.


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