Updated: Aug 20, 2021
(Side note - the picture is of the great Sam Bush, but these are not his words and I am not representing them as such)
(After a good rehearsal, or a good gig, I come away with a pleasing afterglow, which I have to term as “feeling like a musician”. It means, during those events, I let the music wash over me, enjoyed the participation of it, and reveled in the release it provided for my psyche. It’s the feeling that has led me to playing music originally (OK, maybe impressing women was part of that decision) and sustained me for 50+ years of playing.
But this isn’t a secret or exclusive club - not by any means. Anybody who has danced (whether as a skilled or simply spontaneous action) has felt the connection and felt like a musician. When anyone bursts into song in their shower or their car, they too are letting music wash through their senses and being a musician. No doubt about that.
Nobody has to learn to feel like a musician; everyone is entitled to this joy. Pre-verbal toddlers know this quite well. I love it when an audience contains such youngsters. They only learned how to walk a few months prior, but they have zero problems, and no hesitation in enjoying music and expressing that joy in dancing, laughing or clapping. It makes everyone around them feel good too!
Sadly, as we age, many (maybe most) of us unlearn that skill. We gain a sense of self, and this leads to self-awareness and becoming self-conscious. We don’t want to look the fool, so we clam up. There’s a popular expression: “Dance like no one’s watching” - this is a directive to get back in touch with your more primal self.
Even if you’re determined to never look like a fool (good luck with all that!), you folks who choose not to act like a musician still have ways to feel like one. Truly enjoying a good music performance lets you feel like you’re part of that performance, and in many ways, you certainly are part of it, especially at a live, in-person performance, where your very presence affects the musicians who are playing.
Summing up, the sensation I call “feeling like a musician” is really a higher state of consciousness, where you give yourself permission to feel really good, with no restraints or regrets. The benefits are obvious - on a day where the stresses of life weigh you down, those cares are shoved aside and you get the healing effects of being rid of them. It doesn’t cure life’s problems, but it does give you perspective, and hope, and it doesn’t cost a darn thing!
By Bruce Campbell