I have been a musician since 1964, when I began playing the piano, and following that, the organ. I learned a lot about music from my wonderful teacher and friend, Corella Johnson. Although Corella was an adult, who was married with children, she and I became close friends over the 12 years I took piano and organ lessons from her. My mom used to teasingly say that she wondered if I was really getting music instruction or just having a fun time with my teacher! I stayed in touch with Corella after I moved away from home in 1976. She was definitely my first “musical friend.” Music became less of a focus in my life as I moved on to the pursuit of an education in psychology and then, a career in psychology. I always listened to musicians, attended concerts, but what I wanted to do, more than almost anything, was learn how to play the bass guitar. After years of hearing me wistfully saying “I wish I could learn to play the bass,” David bought me my first bass and amp in 2001 and signed me up for lessons. My first bass teacher was an amazing musician who had played guitar in The Commodores. (How cool is that?!) I became friendly with him, his wife, and the other people I met in the process of learning to play the bass, including Alex, the person who still repairs my basses. After taking lessons from Doug for several years, he moved away, leaving me to find another teacher. By then, my lessons took place at a music store in Fort Lauderdale, Modern Music. At Modern Music, I not only became friends with my new teacher, Phill (who is still my teacher), I became friends with many of the people who worked there, were/are in bands, and who hung out there on a regular basis. These people, all of whom were or are professional musicians (sadly, several of these dear friends have passed away), readily accepted me into their tight knit group. I quickly became an insider in their wonderful world of music, to the point that I am closer to this group of people than many people I have known a lot longer. One of the best benefits of playing music, for me, has been the friends I have met as a result of being a musician. Rock on!
I had no way to anticipate what would happen when I went shopping for a bass guitar and accessories to give to Melissa. All I knew was that she’d been interested in playing bass for quite a while and it was time to give her that chance. I figured, and as it turns out, I was correct, playing the bass was a good outlet for her creative energies. It was something to exercise another part of her brain. But, what I really had no way to anticipate was her, and then our, entry into the musician culture. The culture where musicians support each other, attend each other’s gigs, and invite newbies, like Melissa, to come see them play. These professional musicians have also come out to see Melissa perform at gigs, traveling considerable distances to do so. Beyond hearing them play, I have been impressed with their drive to live life doing work that they enjoy. It is certainly an entrepreneurial endeavor. They make a living, doing one gig after another. I know how difficult that is – our world is actually similar, though the gigs are different! And, in my prior career as a photographer, it was much the same except, nobody came to see me shoot photos. Melissa’s musician friends, and by extension, my friends, share a passion for making music. And, sharing that music. Though we’ve long been interested in attending concerts, getting to know these people has enhanced our lives more than I could have imagined walking into Mars Music and buying that first bass!