For as long as I can remember, music has been an instrumental part of my life. (You see what I did there?) At the age of seven, my dad had taught himself to play the guitar. I would sit and listen to him play songs that I had never heard before, and had no idea what they meant, but I was mesmerized by my dad playing music.
Soon, Dad was handing me the foreign instrument as if to say, “your turn”! I was as excited as a kid at Christmas, but I had no clue what to do. So, Dad patiently showed me where to put my finger on a string and told me to press down. I tried to play the string but all I heard was a buzzing sound that sounded nothing like the songs I had heard minutes before.
Through practice, I began to play that one finger on that one string and I was playing a chord. Sort of. The first song I learned to play was a three-string rendition of the chords C and G7 back and forth that was music to my ears. Next came Jimmy Crack Corn, and my musical career had begun.
Two years later, I begged my parents to let me sign up for band. I don’t remember why or how I chose the trumpet, but soon, that instrument was added to my repertoire. It was at this time that I learned to read music, which would open up a whole new world for me.
At home I would borrow my sister’s albums and 45’s and listen to the stars of the day, like The Jackson 5, The Osmond Brothers, and David Cassidy. My sister’s collection grew adding Billy Joel, Elton John, and Chicago. Soon, I wanted to own my own records, and by the time I was 13, I was becoming a member of Columbia House, selecting my 13 new albums for just a penny.
My go-to albums at the time were by Bachman Turner Overdrive, Aerosmith, James Taylor, and Jim Croce. I would begin to add Bad Company, Grand Funk Railroad, and Jethro Tull, and then gravitated to Billy Joel, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys. Yes, my musical tastes were varied. The one thing that all of the music had in common was it took me to another place in time and allowed me to reach into the deep recesses of my mind and metaphorically explore the unknown world. I was hooked.
As time went on, my musical tastes continued to broaden. Boz Skaggs introduced me to jazz and the sound of a good saxophone became satisfying. I found Kenny G, Dave Koz, and David Sanborn. I even listened to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band to hear Clarence Clemmons on the sax.
Music was an escape. Music was soothing to my soul. Music became therapeutic.
I would enter my sanctuary—my bedroom—and would place an album on the record player, put on my headphones, lie down on my bed or floor, and immediately get whisked away to a place of comfort. The music would take me to another world. My dreams and fantasies became crystal clear as I listened to most enjoyable art form. My problems would disappear—even if just for a moment—and I would bask in the glow of serenity. I had found my haven; my getaway.
Music is still important to me as an adult. My musical tastes and listening choices would be best described as eclectic. I can be listening to Kenny Chesney or another country star, then get the urge to change the station to blues, smooth jazz, or even symphony. One day, my mood might be for 70’s rock and roll, then the next, I’ll be grooving to coffeehouse sounds; independent, acoustical, up-and-coming musical talents.
Regardless of my mood, I will most always be found listening to some type of music. Whatever I am doing, I will have something playing in the background, serenading me, as I move through my day. One thing is certain—I will be at peace. Perhaps I will be dreaming, or fantasizing, or just going back in time playing the guitar with my dad, like a duet of Jimmy Crack Corn. And I will be smiling.