A Music Lesson: Prelude - The Beginning
Updated: May 19, 2022
PRELUDE - The Beginning (p. 5-12)
“I’d been a musician for a long time. Well, let me change that right away; I’d played the bass guitar for a long time, about twenty years before I met him. Yet it wasn’t until I met him that I learned the difference between playing the bass and actually being a musician…” (p. 5, para. 2)
That’s really how I felt around the time I first picked up this book! I felt I had abilities to execute playing the piano, but could I play music through it? I felt pretty limited in my abilities, namely that I didn’t feel comfortable without the crutch of sheet music, or first learning thoroughly a piece of music. Music wasn’t spontaneously happening anytime anywhere for me, and so I did not feel what I thought an “actual” musician would feel. I can’t say I’ve mastered that much in a year, but I do think this mental block was definitely lifted. I think reading has helped, listening has helped, professional mentorship has helped… I think perhaps the biggest helpful factor was combatting a fear of being “wrong” - whatever that means. Redefining what failure means, and from that, being open and perhaps even excited to fail. It’s easier said than done and I see this fear everywhere - younger students, adults, friends, family, and often in myself.
“All things are in motion… This motion may change, but it will never cease. All Music ever played is still playing.” (p. 10, para. 2)
Huh, what a spiritual way of viewing music (I guess that’s in the subtitle of the book, but I really didn’t know what to expect). I remember one thing when I first read that: energy cannot be created or destroyed - your first law of thermodynamics! Its form changes but it never ceases. But I really love that last sentence. All Music ever played is still playing. While we won’t always hear all the music that’s ever been played (an accumulation of sound like that would be unbearably deafening), that creative energy is passed on. Physically through our bodies but also inspirationally to other living things. I love that. It certainly puts in perspective just how much of an effect a musician can have on its listeners. The ripple effect of all human activities, regardless of its size and amplitude. I think sometimes I forget that. Come to think of it, I’m not sure why. Is it because we live in a time where music is so readily available and taken for granted? If so, the pandemic has surely affected that with regards to live music. #futurefoodforthought
“All things have a mind… Even an acorn holds, in its mind, a picture of the whole tree. If this were not true, how could the tree ever show up? … Learning to use the mind is the key to all possibilities.” (p. 10, para. 5)
An interesting perspective: we are already what we aspire to be. Or perhaps it’s more accurately: we already have everything we need to be what we aspire to be. Obviously, the acorn is not yet an entire tree, but it certainly holds the potential to become one. There’s definitely a line here between potentiality and actuality. Where everything has a potential to become a certain thing, the reality may be rather different. Perhaps that’s what Wooten means… “Learning to use the mind is the key to all possibilities”: that we hold a world of potential, and having a certain mindset, figuring how to fulfill those potentialities, all interacting with the important environmental conditions, are what lead to actuating that potential.
And so knowing we have tremendous potential shouldn’t be a reason to stop moving forward, but rather be taken as an encouraging reminder that we have a potential, and that potential is reachable and tangible with the right environmental factors, be it hard work, luck, or simply time.