The reason I am here on this site was because of a wake-up call. I was beginning to just grow weary in this business. I became stagnant and all I was doing was teaching. Don't get me wrong,no matter how long I am in the business, teaching is my top priority. But I was ready to quit doing everything to stay at home and sell stuff on ebay.
Now flash back to the early 90s. This is when I went to a concert and heard a guitarist by the name of Billy Mclaughlin. He's from Minnesota and at the time he was playing the college circuit. I saw him at one of the Kent State branches when I lived in Ohio. I was not expecting to like him at all, but hey, at least I was getting out of the house and away from the kids. To my chagrin, he was excellent, to say the least, and I had hoped for the opportunity to sit in with him whenever he returned to the area. I introduced myself and asked if I could sit in with him the next time he was performing in the area.He graciously agreed to my request and everytime he gigged in the area, I got to play with him. It was a true blessing to be able to just play with someone who loves to play.
I moved to California and I lose all kinds of stuff when I move. One of those things lost were a bunch of tapes. I lost all of my Billy tapes so I had gone online trying to locate a dealer or his website and I found nothing. I thought that it was odd that there was nothing on him. Perhaps he was changing his musical direction or something. I checked several times online then I would give up my search.
Then in December, I saw that Bobby McFerrin was going to be in town, so I went to the Bobby McFerrin website. I wanted to see him in concert but I doubted that I would be seeing him. While looking up Bobby McFerrin's site and checking out his stuff on YouTube, I decided to see if Billy got hip and decided to use the internet to advertise his music and stuff. Finally, when I googled Billy McLaughlin I got all kinds of stuff so I clicked on one of the choices and it told of a malady that he developed and had been fighting for over 10 years. http://www.billymacmusic.com/
It is called focal Dystonia and can be devistating to musicians or any other specialties that rely on specific body parts to perform that function. Focal , meaning that the dystonia is focused on a particular body part and in his case, the 2 fingers on his left hand...I think. The pianist, Leon Fleischer has the same illness. This malady can be compared to Parkinsons disease...it is a movement disorder where the neurons go through a type of confusion and won't allow his fingers to function as needed. He was no longer able to play his music. If he did nothing, his career would be over. He refused to give up playing his music so he restrung his guitar and reversed the "normal" playing position. He is playing again even though the doctors have cautioned him that he could eventually experience the same thing in the other hand.He has been dealing with this for nearly 10 years and boy has this hit me hard.
..in a good way. I realized that I had the world of music right in the palm of my hand. There is no excuse for me to not do the music thang. Soon, I decided to do an arrangement of one of his pieces, for flute choir and we will be recording it in a week. I have been composing and arranging. I have been playing, teaching and doing exactly what I want to do in music. One of those things was playing on stage. I have been going to open mics, I joined this web site, and today I sat in with a band that plays at a local bar. I got to play Locomotive Breath, Moondance and Marshal Tucker Band's, Can't You See. I have very strong improv abilities and I was able to use them. I had a blast playing with the band and they had a blast playing with me and asked that I return for their next gig....This is what it is all about. Finishing up the evening, I pulled into the garage, with one of Billy Mclaughlin's CD playing, I grew very teary eyed. I stopped crying when my son, unexpectedly came into the garage.
Oh BTW, not only did I get to go to the Bobby McFerrin concert, I went to the concert...FOR FREE!!!
and at the last minute.
Sorry that this is so long just had to express myself. Do your music and do it with all of your might.
BTW, PBS is doing a documentary on this, expected out in September...watch for it.