Music: my one true lifelong love!
I figured as a first piece to write for HubPages, I would explain a little about my love of music, and how it came to be so important to me. With that knowledge, maybe some of my later musings on music will have a bit of background and context that will appear relevant.
Coming from a very musical family, I have been exposed to multiple genres of music from a young age. My grandparents listened to country, my father was a rocker, my mother was into contemporary music (these are the 70s we are talking about here). But add to this the fact that my dad also played violin, guitar and bagpipes, and you may start to see a picture form that does not rely only on popular music to mold my musical tastes. One of my grandfathers was also a church organist, and I had a great-grandmother who was a piano teacher. Yes, we are a long line of musicians!
So when my own journey into the discovery of music started with "Delta Dawn" on one side, "Highway Star" on the other, "Convoy" in front of me and "How Great Thou Art" coming from behind, which way would you think I would go? Well, that is actually a long and convoluted story.
I don't remember the first songs that I appreciated, or that I even knew the words to that were outside of the classic kids songs like Pop Goes the Weasel, or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I knew that there was music, and I knew that I liked to listen to some of it, if it happened to be playing, but never did I seek out a particular song or have the need to listen to the popular music of the day.
I didn't realize that this was somewhat unusual until around grade 6, when my classmates were all talking about AC/DC and Kiss and all of these bands they loved to listen to. The very idea of AC/DC scared me after the first song I heard from them was "Hell's Bells" (an odd aside: we were in a catholic school classroom at the time), and the fact that my peers liked that meant that Kiss must be equally disturbing, though I never actually heard any of their music at that time. But, when cornered one time and asked what bands I liked, I really wasn't sure what to say. I knew that I appreciated - and knew all of the words to - Bohemian Rhapsody, by Queen, so I thought that might be an acceptable answer, though I was actually slightly afraid that someone might figure out my secret: I knew NOTHING about popular music!
This was all about to change, however.
On my 11th birthday, I received a small off-white suitcase with an electrical cord sticking out of it. I found it odd, didn't quite know what to make of it, and looked at it, puzzled for a few moments before I dared to open it. Inside was a record player! With this gift, I was also given my first record: K-Tel's "Rock 80" (the Canadian version). With such memorable fare as Rush's "Spirit of Radio", The Knack's "My Sharona", April Wine's "Say Hello", Blondie's "Heart of Glass" and Max Webster's "Paradise Skies", I was introduced to the world of current and popular music.
It was also around this time that I discovered how to plunk out a few tunes on the piano, quickly discovering the patterns that made up certain sounds and creating a few songs of my own before I had ever taken a lesson. My grandmother was impressed enough to commit to paying for piano lessons, and a new genre of music was introduced to me: classical!
With my record player, a radio, and my piano, I was getting familiar with several forms of music. I started to learn that music wasn't just sound and rhythm, but patterns and counterpoint, melody and harmony. There were emotions that could be evoked from music, memories unlocked, visions created in the mind. It was an awakening, of sorts, for me. And it just exploded from there.
In high school, I learned trumpet, was introduced to jazz, hard rock, synth-pop, new wave, and country music. I discovered synthesizers and was intrigued at the sounds they could make and the possibilities they provided. I learned other instruments, and I tried to pull it all in and make sense of everything. With so many different forms of music, I was never able to completely settle on a favourite for quite some time, though I was quite happy to experiment with as many styles as I could find and learn as much about them as I was able to.
In the end, the style of music that stuck to me and really intrigued me the most was the hard rock/heavy metal genre, although in more recent years that has sort of developed into progressive rock as my listening preference. Bands like Dream Theater, Symphony X, Porcupine Tree, and Pain of Salvation have become the ones I listen to in order to capture their essence, hearing the complicated patterns and swiftly changing time signatures embedded in the amazing music produced by these virtuosos of guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. But, I still pick up my King's X on those days I feel like I need that heady melody/harmony driven sound to fill me, or my Manteca CDs for latin-jazz/world-beat music to dance and clean the house with. And I can listen to country or classical and still fine the finer points of each style. Hip hop, while not my favourite, is still an intriguing style when done the right way for my taste (OK, I have to admit, I am not a big fan of the "money and cars and guns and bitches and hos and look at the size of my junk" style of hip hop. When it talks about something real and/or important, I can get into it and appreciate it).
I was, at one time, an accomplished pianist/keyboardist, and prolific songwriter, though I have let all of these skills lapse in recent years. I had recorded several independent (and virtually unknown) albums with a few bands in the late 80s and 90s, so even the recording process is somewhat familiar to me.
While it was late in starting, and a long time in developing, learning about and learning to appreciate music for more than just the "it has a good beat" notion has lead me to a lifelong love with sounds of all kinds that I hope only continues to grow as long as I live!