After writing about how thankful I am to be a musician, and how privileged I think I am to be able to live from my music, I think it might be logical to write about how this happened, and why I become a professional guitar player. Here’s a little story from the past …
Many years ago a young guitar player called me, and wanted to take private lessons from me – three hours a day, five days a week. The reason for this? He wanted to get all the gigs I had. I told him that it was a tough and intense schedule he asked for, but he was consistent. A couple of months later he showed up with his guitar a monday morning, ready to start. After the first day he was tired, after the second day he was very tired, after the third day he was exhausted … “couldn’t we just do something different the next day, like going to the tv-set where I worked and check out my rig or something?”. The fifth day he went back to the town he came for – had to reconsider his life and career plans.
A week later
He called me about a week later … “could I talk with him for a minute or two?”
He had been trying to practice some of the things I’ve pointed out as extremely important, and he had talked a lot with his family. Now he had two questions for me:
How much had I practiced to reach my level of guitar playing?
I answered him, just as I would today, that I love to practice, that if my schedule allows me I’ll play from morning till night. For many years when I started playing seriously and while I went to school I practiced at least 3-4 hours a day … if possible 8 hours or more.
He wasn’t sure if he understood me right and wanted me to explain for how long I’ve practiced like that and I replied since I was 16 till now. I still do it if possible – I’m the type of guy who brings my guitar with me on holiday – I meditate when I’m practicing.
Oh, he replied … some silence. Then he thanked me for spending the time with him and this conversation on the phone. My explanation had cleared things out for him and now he knew that he should be a lawyer instead … it would be a lot easier!!!
Just as he was about to hang up, I asked him about the second question he had mentioned at the beginning of this conversation – oh, yeah he replied: “Where did you buy the jeans you wore that monday we met … they are cool!?”
I smiled when I had finished the conversation and hung up. I had never been in a situation similar to his … I had never been in doubt if I wanted to be a musician. I’ve been in doubt about many things through my career … and in life in general, but never about the fact that I wanted to be a professional guitar player.
Why did I become a professional guitar player?
To me it has never been a sacrificed to practice. I practiced in the morning before I went to school – I’ve left early from parties because I missed playing – get me right I love to be with my friends and family, and I love a nice party, but I also need to sit with my guitar on a regular basics to be “me” … a relaxed human being.
So to sum up this – why did I become a professional guitar player?
I just felt I couldn’t do anything else and be content at the same time – it wasn’t an option for me to do anything else.
The passion for art
My dad who was a respected potter and art painter felt the same way about his work. I still remember him 81 years old, with almost no vision left, painting with a cigarette in his mouth. He was standing so close to the canvas that the cigarette burned the painting while he painted. But he couldn’t dream of skipping painting even though he almost couldn’t see anymore … that’s passion – and that’s the fuel you must have in your blood if you want to have a reasonable career and enjoy your work. But if you got that … whau you’re lucky and a happy artist I guess.
All the very best