At the ripe old age of 43, I thought I should get back to playing music. Only this time, the plan was to play the instrument of my choice (the guitar) to technical perfection, and compose music while at it. Not that I cannot play the guitar, back in college, guitar was a serious hobby, and I used to play a lot of complex stuff, all by the ear. But that was it.
This time I went into a passionate self-development mission, learning not just the chops, but also the language of music and its theory. Only shortcut, I did not want to learn to read music, but the rest, I learnt a lot of it. And I learnt to express them as well.
In three years, I went from learning to producing my own music. I self-learnt the craft of not just music making, but also producing, mixing, mastering (at least part of it) and not to forget, other instruments such as the Cajon, Bass, and the Keyboard.
Then came the realisation that if I can’t get people to listen and pay for the music, then I might as well give it up as the bank balance started to matter. More importantly, the nuances of the music business as a musician began to matter. Beyond the music, you also have to learn to adapt to situations, accept the dirt that comes with it and so on. And that, at the life stage I was in, as an established marketing professional, where people asked me for advice, became unacceptable. Because when you try to enter a new industry, you always start at the ground level, unless your papa can pay for you and make it happen.
That realisation was an insight into myself, and almost in a matter of a week I had given up music and got back to realising what I was good at, and paid my bills.
There are times when you realise that ‘follow your passion,’ or ‘I don’t work because I do what I love only’ rings completely hollow. These quotes were designed to motivate you to try something new. Maybe there were successful folks, but what they really had to go through to get it is a different story. What made them stick is probably nothing but a simple dead end by the time they woke up.
Your passion is good, really good. Keep it as a serious hobby, unless it is already paying you for it. But what you are good at and what pays the bills is way more interesting and important, so don’t give it up.