This is the second in a series of Hot Koko posts. (First post HERE)
When we started “playing” music, neither of us knew how to hold our instruments. Sure we had seen pictures of guitar and mandolin players but looking at a picture and knowing how to do it are two different things.
The thing about being a beginner who is also living in late adulthood is that the many years of being a “responsible” adult leads to a self-image as a competent capable person. Most adults are pretty good at their jobs and pretty good at fulfilling their family obligations. These capabilities also have a shadow side. Because we think of ourselves as being “good” at what we do we are often afraid to appearing incompetent and incapable.
Jude and I were 48 when we picked up our instruments and we immediately discovered that we were completely incompetent. The sharp truth of our incompetence helped lead us away from the self-satisfaction of late middle age. We discovered that our progress as musicians actually depended on our willingness to BE incompetent. Incompetence opened the door to success.
Another thing we learned was that we were VERY tense. When we played we actually held our breath and the tendons in our hands stood out. Irony alert…
We had to practice being relaxed and letting our bodies respond fluidly to the music.
We studied with some great teachers (more about our teachers in later posts) and watched videos like this one. It is worth watching even if you don’t play and don’t care about playing music. The key message is that we do better at things when relax.