In recent years, when people have asked me about what I might do with my time when I retire, one of the answers I usually give is, ‘Play music.’
For those who don’t know, I was consumed by music as a teenager. I learned to play guitar and played in a band in high school. My local JC, DeAnza College, had a very good jazz program and, rather by accident, I ended up there for three years. My last year was primarily to take advantage of the opportunity I had to play bass with the #1 band. It was a hot band and I was stretched to the max. Many of the musicians in that band went on to careers in music but I decided to work in the theatre and have the freedom to ‘play’ music when and where I wanted.
As it worked out, I played very little music for the ensuing 25 years. Work and family took precedence.
About a dozen years ago I started to come out again, mostly playing rock and roll with Tom Kent and his bands. When I got back to the Bay Area, I enrolled in the jazz band at the local JC, Skyline College. I played bass for two years then guitar the third year.
Then . . . then I had jobs keep coming up on Monday nights so I quit. But last fall I started again. On guitar, on the theory that a missing guitar player in a big band is no loss whereas a missing bass player is more serious.
I needn’t have worried. They had three bass players and another guitar player; they hardly noticed when I’m there.
Actually, everyone was very nice and welcomed me back. Many of the current band members were there for my first go ’round but my contributions this time were minimal.
But what I noticed was that I wasn’t practicing the material. I looked at it and worked at it long enough to get through it, but I didn’t work it to get any better. In fact, the second half of last semester I don’t think I picked up the guitar at all except on Monday night for rehearsal.
I decided to write about this when today, with no need to go to work, I got up and did my laundry and the dishes, then wrote a nice blog post, then . . . farted around the house: read some, tried to take a nap, ate lunch, read some more, did a crossword, had a cup of tea.
Now I’m writing this. Why don’t I play the guitar? Or the bass? They’re all here, hanging on the wall, begging to be played. I don’t know.I’ve got tons of resources: books, music, backing tracks. It’s making me reassess my stated retirement plans. And wonder about all my motivations.
Well, I signed up for another semester of band so I’ll keep trying. It starts in a couple of weeks.