Wednesday, 20 June 2012

My Take On…Playing Other Musical Instruments

Whenever you are asked to write an essay for an exam or a competition, you are almost always given a couple of choices. What I gravitate mostly is towards topics like “Importance of good character in life” or “How to eat an ice-cream” or something like that. Not because I like those topics, but because I lack knowledge on topics like “Pollution”, “Deforestation”, “Education for the Differently Abled” and such.  And in school, if you have no idea of the topic, you are given zero marks, even if there was a lot of creative writing in that essay. Now I’m not saying to forget about knowing your topic, because only if you know your topic, you can actually have the authority to say something on it. For example, it’s very fair for my chemistry teacher (why am I roping him in my blog) to talk about hexamethylenediammine cyanide compounds, but it isn’t fair for me to say a word about organic chemistry as I don’t really understand it.
However, this is a blog! And many people have told me to write whatever I feel like, so I don’t really need to know the facts to write about something now, do I? Now why am I speaking about not knowing facts and knowing facts and all? It’s mainly because the topic says “My Take On…Playing Other Musical Instruments”, and I don’t know how to play other musical instruments. I just know guitar, and I still have a lot to learn! That’s the beauty of music…
“Learning music is a lifelong process, man.” – Timothy Sabu

Yep, Timothy (Timmy) Sabu. Cool guy!

For those of you who don’t know him, well…I’ll write a post on him. For those who do, Timmy is enjoying his life now by doing Sound Engineering, and hopes to make it big in his field. Man, I miss him…
So, onto the post! Yeah, even I’m shocked I haven’t started. I really ought to stop writing so much…
Hmm, where do I start? OK, Keyboards and Piano! Most kids in Chennai at least have parents who are A.R. Rahman fans. So, the kids are made to go to keyboard classes in the hope (whose hope? Don’t ask) of becoming a great musician in future. Now, I wanted to learn guitar, and so I never really learnt to play a keyboard. However, I just found out which key is used to play which note. So, to play a chord (a combination of notes hit at the same time, always used in making music), I had to search every note, and ended up hitting a chord…after 5 minutes. Now, most songs on your mp3 player take 5 minutes or less…so, I may find the first chord only after the song ends. This goes for all those people who have said “Oh, you know music? You must be a keyboard player then!” Mostly well-meaning aunties. And so, I have deep appreciation for keyboard players, as they can find those chords way too easily. And another thing, as keyboards have the programming to sound like trumpets, violins, flutes and all, there are some keyboard players who are very expressive and make it sound like there’s an accomplished trumpet/violin/flute player. That requires exceptional talent and a thorough study of even those other instruments. Amazing, isn’t it!

This is Nora the piano playing cat! Look her up on Youtube
And I'm serious, she really DOES play!

Now, drums. I really wish to take a minute to applaud every drummer that ever existed, from a beginner to a pro. Imagine moving both your arms AND both your legs…at wildly different times, in a rhythmic fashion. Drummers do that, and pound on those drums for 5 or so minutes, at a stretch. Some of us don’t even have the strength to open a Pepsi© bottle! I sometimes attempt to play a beat, and it sounds way too simplistic. I’m not hitting enough drums at a time! The best drummers do “independence” exercises. These require you to free your limbs so that all your limbs can do different things at different times, to combine to form a single, full-sounding beat. Mind blowing to us, but it’s just another day in a drummer’s life. I actually have trouble with just moving my two hands together on a guitar just to play some notes clearly, and they move all their limbs with precision, making the music feel less like “a combination of sounds”, and more like “a groovy vibe” that you can even dance to!

Woah, even I can't play "Ba dum tss"!

Now on to bass guitars! Some say bass guitars are for those who fail at playing electric guitars. Dumbest.Statement.Ever. Bass is something which contributes to the music even though it’s felt, rather than heard. Ever felt like dancing to music at times? Ever felt like music gets your heart pumping? It’s because you can feel the vibrations of the air (which is sound), and they feel good…Bass does that to music. And the best bass players are not the ones who can play 80000 notes a second, but those that contribute to the vibe with just one solid tastefully played note! It’s easy to play (just remove the 1st and 2nd string of your regular guitar and tune those strings 12 steps down, it’s somewhat like a bass), but tough to master. And if I can, it’s something I’d really like to learn. How well can I play it? Well, let’s just say I’m a beginner who checked out basic online lessons.
Abraham Laboriel, one of the best bass players in the world. 
What puzzles me here is, is he constricting his face 
because he's "feeling the music", or because he's pulling his pants? 
The right hand behind his bass guitar doesn't help, either..

There might be a million more, like the clarinet, the ukulele, the bassoon, the xylophone, the violin and what not, but let’s just say that was covered in the keyboards section. ;)
Well, this post wasn’t just to reveal I know next to nothing about most instruments, it also reveals I know those instruments only well enough to appreciate them and say  that people who know these instruments well are really worth their stuff, because they took the time out to master the instrument to the ultimate goal of making beautiful music. And as Timmy said, it’s a lifelong process, so learn it well, learn it always, or you’ll be bad for life, and not know why. So, here's to unending learning! :)


  1. i read it finally! i never continue reading after a few lines of ur post...

    1. I know, I'm super boring sometimes, so I put up the pics to attract the readers. ;) :P
      And you sing good? I don't...maybe I should post on that! :D and thanks for at least giving me a chance and reading this. :)

  2. Dude i had 2 force myself 2 read d full post it was good though and really good facts man u nailed them but man its not a english essay so keep it short and sweet or add more jokes liked d pics n trolls gud idea but man more jokes n less chatter so datz my view man keep up the good work !! :):):)
    booyaka 619

    1. Hey, thanks for the info, Mr. Booyaka 619 :P I'll work on that...sometimes I feel like too many words just come out! And next time, if you can post your name below the comment, it'd be cool and I'd be happy to know whom I got the comment from! Thanks again :)

    2. wad makes you think iam a Mr ?? cant i be a miss ??
      n i prefer to be anonymous coz its fun !!!

    3. because I've never heard any female say 'booyaka' or seen a female fan of Rey Mysterio? :P