Way back, and it seems like forever ago now, I played music for a living. It was my life. I learned to play bass on an old broken acoustic guitar we had laying around the house. It had the top E and B strings broken and missing, so I figured I’d just work with it. I had a fabulous music teacher in high school. Then I went to university and majored in music. That was the start of my real musical education. I played acoustic and electric bass in jazz trios and quartets on the weekends. After that I spent a good deal of my time on the road playing in top 40 bands and country bands.
I got many things from my music experiences. One of the greatest things was all the laughs and time spent with some good friends, many of whom I still have to this day. But it didn’t take me long to realize that music just wasn’t going to pay the bills for the rest of my life, so I changed careers. Would I do it over again? Nope. Do I regret it? Nope. Yeah the laughs were great, and the experiences gave me many memories to cherish, but I’d have to say the greatest thing I got out of my musical education was an appreciation for things – not just music, but all things. I learned about hard work, devotion to one’s craft, passion for things that excite you, discipline, struggle, and humility.
So every now and then, I find myself listening to some type of music – whether it’s an orchestral arrangement of Elgar’s enigma variations or some sweet version of Coltrane’s Naima…or I find myself staring at some photograph that I just don’t want to look away from…as if it struck some deep feeling from the core of my soul, and that’s when I realize that there are some things that are larger than life.
“The truth is, it is the arts…music, literature, photography, painting and cinema that cause us to take pause from our busy schedules and re-examine our own lives, to seek out truth, and discover just what is of ultimate importance and what is not.”
This Christmas when you attend your son’s or daughter’s music recital, or visit your local museum to view the photographs and artwork, I hope you get a chance to think about how the arts can teach us much more about life and living than we could have ever imagined. Support them because they are important.