Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
– Mark Twain
For over 25 years, I’ve been a member of my church handbell choir, but the surprising thing is, I can’t read music. I only know the 4 bell notes I’m playing, because I color code them on my music.
You’re probably asking yourself why I’m still color coding my music after 25 years.
The simple answer is that it’s an adaptation that I’m comfortable with. I don’t really need to learn any other way, because unless I change the bells I play, it’s always going to work for me.
One day I was confronted by one of those small people Mark Twain talked about….
A Simple Question That Almost Devastated Me
A few years ago, my bell choir attended a workshop with a director from a regionally popular bell choir. It sounded fun, and I was excited to play with other choirs, and learn from the director.
Not too long into the workshop, she said something so devastating that I will never forget how it made me feel. She asked a simple question, “How many of you color code your music?” I proudly raised my hand along with a few others.
“If you color code your music,” she said, “then you’re not a musician.”
To say I was stunned is an understatement. She verbally slapped me with that statement, and from that moment on, the rest of the day was a blur. I was so angry, I couldn’t concentrate. That memory bothered me for a long time.
Many of you may not be familiar with Dave Grohl who is currently the lead guitarist and founder of the band Foo Fighters. Grohl is also listed as one of the top 100 drummers of all time.
According to Grohl, he is a self-taught guitarist, and used his extensive knowledge of drum playing to learn the guitar.
Simply put, he adapted what he knew about the drums to learn the guitar. He says there’s no need to unlearn what he’s adapted just to relearn the correct way.
Oh, by the way, he’s also worth about $330 million dollars. I’d say he’s pretty successful.
Which Brings Me Back to Me
I’ve come to realize that director who made me feel so small all those years ago, is one of those small people Mark Twain was talking about in the quote above. Sad. I wonder how many other people she’s offended?
Will I ever be a gifted musician? No. Do I still color code my music? YES! Am I a musician? YES, I AM!
So don’t let anyone tell you what you are or are not. If your inner voice says, “I am an artist,” YOU ARE AN ARTIST!
Listen to your inner voice. And don’t let anyone change your mind! You CAN become great!!!!!!
And as Dave Grohl says, “No one can be you and that is your super power.”
Make Some Art People!
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