Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Learning a new instrument

So, in addition to working stupid hours here in Arizona over these past few weeks, and trying to avoid getting so sunburned I melt like the Nazis after they opened the Ark of the Covenant, I’ve taken on another important project. I’ve been trying to decide on another instrument to learn.

Don’t get me wrong, the drums have been very good to me. I’ve been playing drums for over a decade now, and I’ve loved most every minute of it (not gonna lie…lugging all that gear was kind of a pain in the ass). However, my apartment just isn’t big enough for my kit, and my mom, whose house I had been using for storage, just moved to Wisconsin….so I had to sell my drumset.

So whats next? I’m certainly not prepared to give my rock star dreams and admit that my future is with ties, keyboards and cubicles, and not snappy fedoras, drumsticks and blues joints. After some research and soul searching, I’ve narrowed my choices to three instruments.

The first is the Piano. I actually took piano lessons before I learned the drums, as part of a deal with my mother to allow drums in the house. Of course, that was an awfully long time ago, so I don’t really remember anything useful, other than how to read music. I was kind of hoping that the learning curve wouldn’t be so steep, since I’ve already trained my hands to do two different things at the same time.

What’s really tempting about learning to play the keys, is that it would allow me to fulfill my ultimate musical fantasy. I’d find a way to sneak into the Salt Lake City Tabernacle (where this heee—uuuge organ is)….I’d sit down at the bench, and when everybody is expecting a hymn…I start playing Green Onions. Do you know how awesome that would be???? I think of doing this every time I see conference on TV.

Actually, wait. Now that I think about it, that may not be a good idea. No Mormon who plays the piano is safe from being asked to play every other Sunday. Best to learn another instrument I’m not allowed to play in church .

Another instrument I’ve been seriously considering is the Tenor Sax. I’ve had a crush on saxes for a while now. In fact, in High School, I checked out a Baritone Sax, hoping that I could teach myself a few riffs. Two weeks later, my friends got around to pointing out that I had been playing with the mouthpiece upside down. Clearly, there is a bit of a learning curve there that I wasn’t used to with the drums.

The trouble is, because the Tenor (and Bari) Sax is such an awesome instrument, nobody wants to sell theirs, and I cannot afford a new one. I was all excited about getting one on ebay a few days ago, but some jerk doubled by bid with three seconds left, when I went to go to the bathroom. Unless somebody wants to write a large check to the Matt Brown Musician Fund, it would appear that plan C is the most feasible.

Plan C is the ol’ standby, the electric guitar. Sure, its almost cliché for me to try and learn the guitar in college, but the benefits are undeniable. Guitars are cheap, portable, and versatile. They aren’t impossible to learn, and nearly every musical group needs at least one. Plus, my roommate happens to be quite a good guitar player, and I bet I could convince him to teach me a few things.

However, two positives stick out above all the others. Firstly, guitars use notes. The importance of this cannot be understated. I’ve been playing the drums for a long time, which is all fine and dandy, but they’re atonal. I never developed music theory knowledge, or much of a sense of pitch (which explains why most drummers are awful singers, myself included). Playing a new instrument would hopefully allow me to gain some understanding of how everything fits together, so I could actually write a song or two.

There is also a rumor going around that girls like guitars. Again, drums are wonderful, but drummers don’t exactly have the best reputation. We’re categorized as meatheads, who are about as subtle as a punch in the face. We hide behind our immobile, monstrous instruments near the back of the stage, and pound on stuff atonally for three hours. I mean, can you imagine how ridiculous a drummer serenading somebody would be? Let me help you.

Girl: (opening window) What is that racket?

Me: (on drumset) I wrote you a love cadence!

Baby you’re so wonderful

You make my heart skip just a little

You’re more beautiful than a..

(ratatatatatatat) flam double paradiddle

See? THAT WOULD NEVER WORK. Drums are not romantic. Love Actually is not real life. In real life, the kid would have locked himself in his room, learned the drums, had a sweet solo in that concert at the end, and the chick would run off with the lead singer or something.

Holy crap, did I just make a reference to a chick flick? Dammit, I’m going to lose my Man License again. Quick-…Monster Trucks! Barbecue! Football! Manual Transmission!

Most of what I wrote there was tongue in cheek…but the point is, there is a whole lot of musical ground that’s unexplored for me. If any of you guys hear of any cheap guitars floating around, lemme know. I’ve got notes to learn.

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