There are times in your life when you are really proud of yourself and today is one of those days!
When I parted ways with my band D’s Kitchen, I was shattered. The feedback given to me was I was not a good enough musician! It amplified because I wasn’t certain about myself then. I took many months to get over it and there was always an inkling of that feeling inside me. Then I met a bunch of different musicians, two of them were Amit Sharma and Sidhesh Iyer. We jammed together and I still had this really low self esteem as a musician which is never good for any art.
Months passed and these guys persisted. I’m not sure what they found in me, but I remember feeling scared to death about another bad feedback and confrontation. My playing was suffering and I kept slacking letting my bass idle itself in the corner of my room. Amit kept pushing me and I kept my fear. Months later, I convinced myself that I must improve. I joined Nathaniel School of Music. My purpose of joining, learning things the right way. My inspiration, Paul Chambers and other jazz musicians of the 50’s I kept listening to. I said to myself, these guys might have been born talented but they took some formal training before they immersed themselves into studying their respective instruments with practise. This was hard because I had been following many self taught musicians and felt strongly that instructors aren’t the best ways to learn. I was proved wrong slowly.
Learning bass with Jason Zachariah has had it’s effect on me. The classes aren’t overwhelming and it is always one step at a time. I haven’t completed the course yet and the lack of bass players presented me with a unique opportunity to perform for the graduation concert of another batch. Struggling with lack of time in my hands, practise and a new job, I feel like I have persisted. With basics of bass playing clarified, I realized, I wasn’t wrong about understanding music all along. With Amit playing a new song each time we jammed over 8 months now, I figured how to catch a rhythm and make it groovy on the bass in a few minutes and a few takes. With Jason’s keen ear on tempo, I learnt the improvements I need to make. With Amit’s maniacal focus on getting the right sound, I learnt a multifold of things which were essentially nuances and intricacies of music and musicianship.
A few days ahead of the graduation concert which is not even my own, I am confident of what is working, not working and what can be improved. Sitting in the jam room rehearsing Rehab by Amy Winehouse, all of these things materialised. The persistence which wasn’t really my own, stands tall in front of me today and asks me – “Can you do better now?” And listening to songs in 3 takes and playing them almost correctly in the first take during rehearsal amazes me how I have improved.
This post is a testament to all the musicians I’m going to play with on Thursday and especially to Amit and Sidhesh. Thank you guys for the opportunity and I hope this journey progresses from here.