Learnin' to play those fancy licks
My grandmother had played an old pump organ in her younger years and thought that if she bought an organ and played it, that I may find an interest there. I did enjoy her playing and with lots of practice I could at least play simple, recognizable songs on my own. Unfortunately, I had just entered that stage in life when one takes an interest in the other gender. At social gatherings I noticed that the guys that played an instrument were always surrounded by girls, but it was not easy to tote an organ to a bon fire at the lake. My grandmother suggested I try the accordion; after all, it is basically a portable pump organ. So, an accordion was acquired and the lessons started.
I actually enjoyed the accordion, and found it suited my well. But I was entering high school, and the music from the Lawrence Welk show was just not going to cut it. Besides, “Smoke on the Water” on accordion was not quite “Smoke on the Water”. I set the accordion aside and have never returned.
In the early 1970s my interests in the traditional music of the Appalachians was growing. I bought myself a dulcimer and taught myself to play by ear and from books such as “In Search of the Wild Dulcimer.” Finally, an instrument I could play and enjoy. Not long after that I took up the Autoharp. Both have been good friends for many years now.
Those of you who play an instrument may know the frustration of finding “your” instrument. I’d be willing to bet that a more than a few of you have, like me, tried a few until you found the one that suits you. I’d also bet that there are a few riders on the Bus that have not found their instrument yet. Don’t give up! Whether it be as simple as playing the spoons or washboard, or drumming your fingers on the arm of a chair, there is music in each of us.