As I drove around Toronto with a few friends of mine, they continued to discuss the difficulty in trying to find a keyboardist to play with them.
Their band consisted of a lead guitarist, rhythm guitarist, bassist, and drummer. While that worked just fine for the majority of the time, there were a few songs that they wanted to play that were missing that extra “punch”.
They needed that synthy background sound that so delicately “fills in the blanks”. (as they described it to me) “Nothing complicated. Really easy stuff.”
After about 10 mins of discussion and exchanging names of potential, actually talented candidates, I chimed in.
“I’ll do it.”
To be clear, I’ve never played the keyboard in my life. I had attempted learning the guitar when I was 13 but quickly found I had zero patience for it.
I played around with my cousin’s drums a couple of years later, and instantly fell in love with them. Smashing things as hard as you can and somehow creating something melodic was just so therapeutic.
But we moved around a lot as a family and owning a set of drums wasn’t practical. I suppose I could have learned on a set of electronic drums, but it wasn’t nearly as satisfying. Even now, living with 3 other roommates in a house in the middle of a massive city, it just doesn’t make sense to own a set of drums.
So, taking my complete lack of talent and experience into account, I was completely surprised when they responded with an excited:
To which I repeatedly reminded them of said zero talent and experience. But, it didn’t seem to matter. They were clearly desperate for somebody, and they were willing to teach me how to play.
So, just like that, I found myself buying a keyboard off Kijiji (Canadian Craigslist, for my international readers) and looking up piano lessons on YouTube.
Why did I say yes?
Honestly, when I offered to give it a try, I was mostly joking. I wasn’t expecting such a positive response.
But, at the time, I had recently decided to cancel my Netflix, drastically cut back on my TV watching, and had even started reading books. (anyone who knows me knows this is something I’ve always loathed)
I was looking for new ways to occupy my time. More specifically, I wanted to spend more time doing things with creative value. In the past couple of years I’ve discovered how much I enjoy writing and, to become a better writer, I need to feed my brain with more creative fuel. And there’s no better inspiration than learning new things.
I have never pictured myself being in a band, or learning a musical instrument for that matter. So it’s safe to say that it is outside my comfort zone. And, as the old saying goes, you do your best work outside that zone.
Plus, who doesn’t love music? Music is one of the only truly universal things that people enjoy. Can you think of one person you’ve met in your entire life that doesn’t listen to some type of music? (if you can, I’d stay clear of them from now on)
What I’ve learned so far
Not a whole lot, honestly. While it’s only been a few months, I could have definitely devoted more time to the hobby to improve my skills faster.
But I’m OK with that. I’m taking my time. I’m not interested in becoming a master pianist. For now, I’m content with playing some simple background synth and acting like I somehow belong up there with my more talented friends (and learning a few Avett Brothers tunes, of course)
We’ve even already played a few shows, with more to come as well. It’s a lot of fun.
One thing is for sure, I never would have started down this path of learning a musical instrument if I didn’t have this opportunity to be in a band. Not because I’m craving the spotlight and seeking glory, but simply because I now have a stronger motivation to learn.
There are other people depending on me. When we want to learn to play a new song, I have a role to play. I need to study and practice my part in that song so we’re all able to play it together.
If I was learning to play the keyboard on my own, I simply wouldn’t have the motivation to push myself. There are other things (like writing and building my business) that I would rather spend my time on.
It’s another reminder that, in order to accomplish your goals and push yourself out of your comfort zone, you need to surround yourself with people who have like-minded views. Your associations drastically affect your actions.
So, we’ll see how far this whole keyboarding thing goes. I’ll let you know when our world tour hits a town near you.
(and you can follow our band on Instagram, if you’re really that bored)