View Full Version : Musical Regrets?

12-16-2012, 10:46 AM
My musical regret is lack of discipline.

I learned how to sight read music when I began playing piano at age 4. When I was 8, I switched to an accordion with 60 bass buttons and a keyboard for the right hand, and gradually worked my way up to a 120 button beast. At 12 or so, I switched back to piano. But at around ten, I began to lose interest in reading and interpreting music, and started coming up with my own ideas. This may have been due to a combination of interest in exploring my own musical ideas, and sheer laziness. I didn't like practicing all that much as a kid. I did it; at some point I discovered that I could learn a piece by ear after hearing the teacher demonstrate it, and could fake my way through a lesson. What I liked doing was playing music I dug. I was on the piano or organ (we had a Hammond) constantly, but not "practicing" in the true sense of the word.

It was more like semi-educated putzing around.

My sight reading skills certainly declined as a result. And I could only take complicated pieces so far before my laziness was discovered by my teacher!

By the time I was in high school, well, there were girls to flirt with, and buddies to hang with, and books to study for school, and did I mention girls? ;) And bands? Rock music required about 10% of the skills I had developed by 6 back then.

So on piano, I'm certainly fast, even highly skilled, but not a virtuoso. Virtuosity requires dedication and the ability to rise to the challenge of reading difficult music. Thus, I only got to middlin' level on Bach or Chopin stuff, nowhere near concert level material. On guitar, an instrument I didn't pick up until I was into my teens, I'm largely self-taught. Though I'm what "civilians" would consider a very good player, any guitar player listening would realize that I'm not virtuosic.

I guess you could say that I developed a "composer's" piano and guitar skills. I suppose that's fine, as I'm a composer by trade.

But I wish I'd had the patience to develop my chops earlier in life; there's been some research to show that unless one develops very substantial skills on an instrument by the time one is entering puberty, virtuoso skills are rarely attainable. You can get very, very good, but not truly great. This evidently has something to do with how the brain develops neural pathways.

So my regret is that I lacked the discipline to reach my potential (not saying I'd be great, but I'm pretty good with half-trying, so there was room for improvement) on either instrument. Have you got a regret or two about your own music?

12-16-2012, 01:56 PM
I regret being an accomplice to trashing a movie celebrity's guest house, he was gonna take us heli-boarding the next time we played his club. I wonder why he never called?

I regret spending too much time on divebombs and shred guitar, if I spent the same amount of time on chords and comping it would be really useful.

12-16-2012, 09:46 PM
I regret the hiatus from the guitar between the ages of 12 and 19. I really regret the hiatus between ages 22 and 50.

12-16-2012, 09:59 PM
I regret not picking up a Guitar, or any other instrument for that matter.................. until I was in my 40s.

12-16-2012, 10:12 PM
I regret Ive never learned to sight read music

]-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T !
12-16-2012, 10:20 PM
I regret nothing.

]-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T !
12-16-2012, 10:46 PM
-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T ! ;35277']I regret nothing.
Argh... ok. I can't back that up. What I should have said was "I want to regret nothing because it all led me to where I am now."

In truth, I would do a lot of things differently. But if I hadn't done them wrong and felt the consequences of my actions I would just make the same mistakes again. So what's the value?

I play a LOT more guitar these days. I make it a point to do it even when I'd rather be goofing off. A response to the regret I feel for wasting so many years as a casual musician?


12-17-2012, 06:36 AM
I wish I weren't so lazy in personal practice. I need to color outside the lines more often.

Albrecht Smuten
12-17-2012, 06:55 AM
Les, it looks like we have much in common, especially this:

I didn't like practicing all that much as a kid. I did it; at some point I discovered that I could learn a piece by ear after hearing the teacher demonstrate it, and could fake my way through a lesson.

And I never played accordion, though I focused mainly on flute between 18 and 24 (and came back to piano and guitar after that). My right piano hand is pretty fast and skilled, but the left one is just about dead. I can play only power chords, though I can switch them fast enough and it's really all I need right now.

So I guess I regret the same thing and I just add "playing with wrong people, some of them slowed down the band by quitting it, some slowed it down by staying"

12-17-2012, 01:08 PM
...and we could be saying the exact opposite.

I'd love it if we could trade for a few weeks.