The Bass and the Investment

My goal was to find someone deserving for my bass.  I did.  He's happy.  I'm happy.  Awesome.

I published the blog on a Friday around 5pm. Around 7pm that night I had my first response. It was Sean's mother Kerry saying "I do know someone [that could use the bass], my son Sean" and she explained why. Sean "was in band at Birchwood for a while and played the trombone but because of his heart surgeries lately he had to sadly give it up cause he couldn't hold the breath long enough to play."  Born with CHD (Congenital Heart Disease), he's made several trips to the IWK  since he was an infant. Check out a couple of really nice online versions of his story.
I truly didn't expect this bass giveaway to balloon like it did - both in the response from people and from the media.  Jocelyne Lloyd from the Guardian said a great thing to me "Despite what 'they' say, media LOVES good news -- it's just usually harder to come by."  It was all very cool.  No, not selfishly because "I" got to be on CBC radio twice and Compass twice and have a picture and article in the Guardian newspaper.  Yes, I was happy to share bits of my story which I am very proud of - about how music has changed my life for the better.  But more so, I was excited to get the word out - music, is important.

Matt Rainnie said in our interview "we often think of the necessities as food and shelter this time of year, but music can be a necessity too".  YES! Exactly!  After my interview with Matt we were chatting again on the importance of music in our kids lives and I articulated something that I wish I had said in my interview: Self esteem issues are tough as a teenager.  No teenager is going to say to someone in their class "Hey...I have low self esteem.  Can we hang out? I think it will make me feel better".   Yeah right, that's just ammunition for the awkward at that age.  But....."oh you play guitar?  so do I! We should jam". a lot easier to say.  No more words are needed.  And playing music together does some pretty amazing things....

A musical Jam isn't just kids making noise on loud guitars.  It's people working together for a common goal.   You learn your part, I'll learn my part. We'll play it together.  Oh you're having trouble with that?  Here let me show you?  Check out this riff I learned.  Wow I didn't know you could play a D minor chord that way.  Guns and Roses are way better than Metallica!  You've never heard Cream?  Check out this tune called White Room.  This is a blues scale, you can play any note in it over and over again and it's like your own guitar solo.   Hey.... I ... wrote a song.  Do you want to hear it?

John Lennon was playing a gig with his skiffle band in 1957 in a field at St Peter's Church, Woolton, Liverpool. .  Between sets, John's bass player introduced him to a 15 year old boy named Paul McCartney who also played guitar.  Paul played a few songs for him.  They eventually invited Paul to be in their band. The rest is history.

Brilliant musicians aren't always born brilliant.  If you read +The Beatles  history you'll see that they were just semi-regular kids who saw a long road of musical discovery in their young teens and an even longer road of discovery from a handful of kids playing music to The Beatles that we know today.  It takes time and dedication.  Adaptability.  Accountability.  Love and Passion.  Self-Confidence.  Encouragement.  and above all - lots of Blood, Sweat, & Tears.  (Great band too! )

The encouraging thing is - one of the side effects from trying to give this bass away was people contacting me saying "Thank you for your story.  I have a kid in music and I see how much they love it and how it has helped them"  or "I had low self esteem when I was a young teen too, I remember how much music helped me too" or "I'm thinking of getting a guitar for my kid for Christmas, I really hope it's something they enjoy, right now all they seem to enjoy is playing their video games". 

Ok, video games are fun.  But in the long run I bet there are few people who say "Video games changed my life, it helped with my self esteem, and I'm a better person because of the countless hours I invested in playing my games".  Ok that's a bit harsh of course, but you get the idea.

Video games are so obvious and immediate.  I hear kids so often say that they can be immediately good at a game.  Playing a musical instrument takes time and practice.  I totally understand the frustration from a learning standpoint and I also understand the hesitation from a parental standpoint.  It's such an investment.  Or is it?

Your kid wants a +PlayStation for Christmas - that's $299 plus taxes for the console itself.  You'll need to buy a game or two as well.  That's probably another $50 - $100.  They'll want more games so realistically, let's say your kid gets 4 games throughout the year.  We're already looking at $600 or more for a years worth of entertainment.  Until a newer playstation comes out and more games come out that they really really need and then more money to shell out.

Check out the +Fender Guitars package my nephew got for Christmas...

It comes with Squier SE Special Strat Guitar, Squier SP-10 Guitar Amplifier, Guitar Stand, Instructional DVD, Cable, Electronic Tuner, Gig Bag, Guitar Strap, Pick Sampler.  All of this has to be at least $500 - $1000 right?  Big investment right?

Guess again...  all of the above for $199.99 and taxes.  A little over two-hundred bucks!!  I couldn't believe it.  I played this guitar over the holidays and I was blown away.  It's a chinese made Fender Squier.   Ok no it's no American standard but for a beginner guitar this thing kicks.  The action (playability) was great and the intonation (how in-tune each fret is along the entire neck) was spot on.  I was shocked.  A lot of cheap instruments are garbage to someone with experience.   I asked my brother-in-law "You must have gotten this setup at the store right?", but he said he took it home and then unpacked it from the unopened box.  Kudos to you Fender!!  and the bass version is only $100 more .

I was at Long & McQuade the Saturday before Christmas and the place was buzzing...the staff were run off their feet.  Awesome! It's great to hear that the musical instrument as a Christmas gift is still going strong

Speaking of Long & McQuade - I went to see Dave Skinner at the store in Charlottetown to see if they had something, anything that they could throw in to go along with the bass that I gave away.  Dave was very cool, went away for a few minutes, came back and donated to the cause a new patch-cord, guitar strap, and I smiled to see the exact same Mel Bay Bass Method Book that I started with 20 years ago.   Deja Vu.



CBC Island Morning Interview with Matt Rainnie
The Guardian newspaper article
CBC Compass - Part I
CBC Compass - Part II with Sean 


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