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Picking up an instrument and being able to play perfectly is a dream most have, but the harsh reality is, unless you are secretly a musical prodigy, being exactly perfect from the start won’t be your case.

I have been playing instruments for close to ten years now. I got my first keyboard at the age of nine, and although I can play some music on it, it didn’t last long. I got my first guitar at ten, and I fell in love instantly. I then moved onto clarinet for the school band in middle school and continued that throughout high school. I got my first bass guitar right before my seventeenth birthday.

Let me tell you, it hasn’t been an easy path and I’m no Brian May or Thundercat, but boy, has it been a fantastic journey.

The Journey

Guitar

When I had gotten my first guitar, I was super into alternative rock and metal. Don’t get me wrong, I had my fair share of being a Directioner, but My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, and Paramore were my deep loves. I dreamed of slamming on a guitar as hard as Frank Iero.

Around the same time, I suffered the loss of a very close family member, and it hit me hard, but my guitar was there for me. I played until my fingers were sore, calloused, and close to bleeding. It not only gave me the perfect distraction, but I found solace in the instrument. It was my best friend during a time where I didn’t have friends.

To top it all off, I was self-taught (subtle flex here), and it made me realize that I really could do anything I put my mind to. I still have the guitar to this day and go to it when I need some extra comfort (and a cure for boredom).

Clarinet

My clarinet journey isn’t as great as my guitar journey, but it’s one I’ll never forget.

I joined the band when I started a brand new school. It was the first year of middle school, and I had no idea what I wanted to play. I just knew that my sister had a friend who played clarinet, so I panicked and picked that. Boy, was it the best decision ever.

Everyone else in my grade started their instruments the year before me, so they knew more than I did. I had to do one-on-one lessons with two classmates. I picked it up pretty quickly and even better? I made friends.

One of the girls that helped me is still my friend to this day. A boy in percussion also became my best friend throughout middle and high school. I quickly rose to be one of the best clarinet players in my grade. I made a decision my final year of high school to join the marching and concert band.

This was hard, I mean, it’s a whole other level than middle school band. But, I became first clarinet by the time I was a sophomore and first chair my junior year. I was good at clarinet, and being good at it made me feel good. The best thing that came out of this experience, though, was meeting one of my best friends (who also played clarinet) and meeting a super cute baritone-turned-tuba player… My boyfriend.

High school sucked. But being in band, meeting these people who I made lifelong connections with, and doing something I was proud of made my life all the better.

Bass Guitar

I got my bass guitar later in life. I always wanted one and soon fell in love with the low and groovy tunes coming out of the instrument.

Within this past year, I started playing it more. It isn’t too different than playing the guitar, because the bass has the first four strings of the guitar, and I found it somewhat easier to play.

Currently, being a college student has been hard. The classes are harder and working a job on top of it has been stress central for me, but picking up my bass is the biggest stress-reliever I have. I can forget about my troubles and focus on playing a song. I get lost in the notes and my concentration is at its highest. It has given me a new comfort that I don’t think anything else can or will.

Bass has helped me in ways I cannot even explain, and for that, I thank the Gods for whoever decided to make this awesome instrument, and my parents for getting me one for Christmas.

So.. What’s the point

Picking up an instrument is hard work. It is time-consuming, maybe a little expensive, and can be frustrating. But I promise you, once you start, you won’t want to stop.

Sure, I may have an unhealthy obsession with getting things down perfectly, but this obsession has helped me in so many ways. It gave me a healthy way to cope during a hard time, friends I’ll have for a long time, and a way to escape from all the craziness that is my life right now.

It has helped me and many others, and I’m sure it will help you. There are tons of tutorials for beginners on YouTube and websites like Songsterr that will help you out along the way.

So, if you’re thinking of learning an instrument, DO IT! You won’t regret it.

Makenna Flores

Bowling Green '25

Makenna is a future journalist who has a passion for writing and social media. You can catch her watching a show, keeping up with news including all things pop culture, or with a book in her hand. She has a passion for fighting for what is right and making sure important topics are coming into light.
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