So I Heard You Wanted to be a Session Musician?
That seemed to be the question on everyone’s mind after wrapping up our unofficial-official first gig in the office. There we were, a group of six yuppies, still holding onto our instruments and waiting for the adrenaline in our veins to drop off. Why not? It had been a hectic schedule, and we had all enjoyed it:
– We had practiced every night for almost two weeks, plus a whole day practice on Saturday. Were there any complaints? If our fingers and vocal chords could talk, maybe.
-On top of preparing for this, a friend’s music school (that I volunteered to help out) had a demonstration Saturday, after our performance, for their summer classes. I, of course said yes. I mean, play while my schedule (and fingers) allow me to, right?
-I almost forgot to add the practices for our Sunday Services. And the fact that I like to use heavy gauged strings for both my guitars. If my fingers could talk, they’d be crying “Uncle”.
Seen in the picture: The Centrifugal Motion Band
Not seen in the picture: my fingers crying “Uncle, Auntie, Grandpa, Grandma.”
There we were, the joy of playing for pay almost at our fingertips. We had the musical firepower, the fire in our bellies, the Austin Powers-esque mojo that every successful band had to have. Or so I thought:
- Despite the performance being pretty good (people were dancing to the disco songs, which I assume is a good sign) there were a few technical hitches. Much of it had to do with the fact that we were playing our first session together. Most of those were because I was too busy sneaking “I’m-pretty-good-but-I-don’t-say-it” to one too many audience members instead of making eye contact with the band. Not one hour into our first gig and I have to be reminded that the goal for the night is to make music together, not pick up girls. Fantastic. I can be pretty dense sometimes.
- Not 24 hours after the performance, I’m pouting at my boss for giving me extra work. It’ll cut into our future band practices, I reason out. Convenient how I forgot I signed a contract for a day job (and not as a session guitarist) and should instead be happy that my boss thinks I’m doing well enough at said day job to be trusted with more responsibilities.
-My ears? After all the songs I had listened to, they were so tired they had problems registering whether I was hearing a D# diminished chord with a flatted 7 or whether it was my mom telling me to turn my music down. Would I survive that routine week-in, week-out? I shudder to think about that.
- My family happened to bump into an old elementary classmate of mine last Sunday. A classmate whom I was not particularly nice to during elementary time. More accurately, I had bullied the guy (whose only reason for being picked on was loving video games and being more emotional than the average male grade school student) during elementary time along with a group of “friends” I wanted to belong to. I may be overstretching , but if those elementary years had anything to do with how he looked like now, I wouldn’t be surprised. Or proud of myself.
I’d wish for this experience to have a good ending, but it doesn’t. This is one of the mental images I’ll bring before my God during Eternity when I tell Him “Thank you for grace, and undying love and faithfulness. But I really do not, have not and will never deserve it. But thank you.”
More than tiring my ears out, this image hit closer to my heart: whether it’s practicing with friends, gigging with friends, working where I’ve been placed, writing wherever I’ve been placed, my real “job” is to honor and carry well the name of Christianity wherever I go.
Do I still want to be a session musician? When I stop taking myself too seriously, maybe.
Like remembering that I am not the picture above.