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Inspiration and Motivation-Developing MusicalTalents

Updated on September 2, 2013

Inspiration a Motivation Factor

We all are unique and possess different levels of God given talent and abilities. For some of us there are those times we are inspired and motivated to learn new things. I want to share one such experience. As a young boy I was surrounded by family who played musical instruments. This is not uncommon here in WNC and the music stems from our Scot-Irish roots. Music played and enjoyed in the living rooms of our home or at family reunions were not that uncommon. The old tunes preserved in our heritage soon became a part of me and it began for me when I first learned to play the guitar. At first under the watchful eye of a neighboring lady who taught me Little Brown Jug and Chewing "Chawing" Gum teaching me only the three major chords (G,C and D) and later learning to play melodies.

Later during the 1960's and the emergence of the Folk revival and with such popular movies as Bonnie and Clyde, Deliverance, the world of bluegrass caught my fancy. The banjo playing of Earl Scruggs with Lester Flatt and the Foggy Mountain Boys became a new inspiration for me. It wasn't long before I had gone to the music store and bought myself a five string banjo and one of Earl's self teaching books. Over a period of time and lots of practice, I soon had Cripple Creek down pat and could play a simple version of Foggy Mountain Breakdown. I still enjoy my banjo and my repertoire has grown over the years. While attending a work shop at Sugar Grove given by the Kruger Brothers I learned 80 per cent of music is written and the remaining 20 per cent is artistic expression which defines all of us who endeavor to play music. The expression given of our skills allows us to connect with listeners and is either accepted or rejected.

About twelve years ago a friend with whom I worked shared a fiddle tune with me that was written in 1985 by Jay Unger to commemorate the ending of one of his music camps. Ken Burns in his Civil War documentary chose this wonderful piece of music as a backdrop. My friends recording was that which can be heard during the reading of a Civil War veteran Sullivan Ballou's letter to his wife. The words and message of the letter are gut wrenching and the music only added to the emotion within the context of this letter preserved in history of teh war that tore families and country apart. After hearing this tune and the words of the letter, I knew I must learn to play the fiddle. It wasn't long before I had purchased a fiddle and learned this tune. It was the music that motivated me.

Over the years I have found it has been some of the most simple things that provided the catalyst for motivation. I don't consider myself to be a great fiddle player but I have found the fiddle to be an instrument that for me finds an expression of none other.

We all can be motivated to learn new things or accomplish goals we have set for ourselves. Whether it be losing weight, writing, or just something as simple as getting our bodies in shape through a daily regimen of exercise, motivation and inspiration are our key allies. In recent years the movies Cold Mountain and Song Catcher along with Oh Brother Where Art Thou and served to inspire others to learn and play acoustic instruments.

Inspiration and Motivation

What are your primary souces of inspiration?

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Earl Scruggs Phenomenal Banjo player

Merle Travis Awesome guitarist and an inspiration

This tune written in the mid 1980'sby Jay Unger inspired me to learn fiddle.


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    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 6 years ago

      We can learn anything we set our hearts too. You've inspire us to inspire as well--learning the banjo is so cool.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 6 years ago

      You are living proof that we are all capable of amazing things.Great work and I can't play an instrument if my life depended on it.I think if we don't excel in something we have to keep looking for something we love and can perform with great skill and talent.I am still looking for my own niche but your hub is a wonderful inspiration.Have a great day.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA

      How amazing that you could teach yourself to play the banjo and the fiddle! I well remember Flatt and Scruggs, Bonne and Clyde and the bluegrass music of the 1960's! Although I loved the music, I never felt I had the talent to teach myself to play. My inspiration came in the form of teaching myself touch typing when my parents gave me a manual typewriter for my 8th grade graduation.

      Your hub got me thinking about sources of inspiration and how truly personal they are. Voted up!

    • feenix profile image

      feenix 6 years ago

      Hello, Cousin Fudd,

      This is indeed an inspirational hub. Your teaching yourself to play the banjo motivates and inspires me to return to a few things that I was trying to teach to myself, but gave up on.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      YOU are an inspiration! Being able to learn those instruments by yourself is quite an accomplishment. My father had that ability, I do not. I agree, the catalyst for motivation comes in many different forms, whether we chose to do anything with that motivation is another story. Some don't have the capability though they are willing. You've got them all beat...great talent with your instruments AND your writing. Voted up.