A friend of mine reckons I can make music out of anything… a rock, a piece of wood, an old pipe, a broken down piano. And he is right. If we have music in us… then we should be able to find a melody, harmony or a beat in any inanimate object.
I travel a lot and while I usually have a guitar with me I look forward to playing what ever instrument is lying around at the place I am staying; in a hotel or a friend’s house or, while visiting a local second hand store.
Oh how often I have found myself lost in a creative moment after picking up a strange instrument, perhaps of a type that I had never played before; a cello, a dulcimer, an old dusty bag pipe, a baritone mandolin or, even an Alp Horn, a kind of Swiss Didgeridoo.
Only once in all my travels have I stayed in a house with no musical instrument. Not even a toy piano. It felt strange. I was a like a fish struggling for air in a desert.
I had planned to stay there a week and as I had not brought a guitar with me I had to find someone in town who would lend me, as it happens, an old beat up Takamine. It wasn’t in the best of shape but that old guitar kept me alive for the remainder of my stay.
In both the River Child podcast and the video lesson up on chrisfalson.thinkific I discuss the importance of having an instrument in your hands… one that inspires you. Best of all if it helps you ‘go somewhere’ in your music and your songwriting.
I usually have a few delightful moments of ‘going somewhere’ either at the very beginning of the writing process or towards the end, when I am fashioning the arrangement or the form of the song.
Sometimes I get lost for hours inside the building process of the music. Not only does it strengthen the song but it also prepares me for the performance of the song; in the recording studio or on stage. Oftentimes I can feel myself carrying those writing moments up on stage with me… which I then share with an audience.
Having an instrument that I love to play as a writing partner sure helps the creative process. So, if you are a musician or songwriter, do yourself a favor and get an instrument in your hands that you love playing. Life is too short to waste on mediocre musical instruments. If you have to… sell the ‘stuff’ you don’t use or like and buy one good instrument. It will be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.
If you enjoy a good yarn, have an interest in how songs are made and or want to learn something of the songwriting process, then check out my podcast a curious child.