The announcement that iconic guitar-maker, Gibson was bankrupt shocked many guitarists, both professionals and amateurs alike, most of whom were adult musicians who had grew up watching their rock heroes such as Elvis, Jimmy Page, Edge and Slash amongst others, rocking out in one.
Therein, it was initially speculated, lies the problem. Guitar-based music has simply failed to reach out to the millennials, thus resulting in lacklustre sales. While more official and detailed reports later released proved this speculation to be untrue, and that it was failed business and investment decisions that had left the company, which is more than a 100 years old, in tatters.
The disturbing truth however, remains. Kids of today are just not into jamming in bands anymore. It is, of course, not to say that people are not listening to or interested in music anymore. In fact, children are getting exposed to music at an increasingly younger age as parents rush to sign their children up for piano or violin lessons.
It instead reflects the changing preference in music. It could also be that with so many options nowadays from social media to video games (ahem, GuitarHero- So maybe people are still rocking it out, just in a totally different manner), there are so many other hobbies one can indulge in other than one that takes up as much commitment.
Alas, playing in a band may indeed become a thing of the past. And that’s a crying shame.
Much like picking up a team-sports, playing in bands go beyond just the music and can teach youngsters skills and values which will prove to be invaluable later in life.
Being in a band is more than just looking the part, you learn to be responsible for yourself. A soccer team may be able to win matches with just one or two star players. Even in the simplest song however, every single member in a band needs to know his or her part well and be competent in their individual role so that collectively, the song that they are playing at least sounds coherent. If you are not putting in your weight, it would not be long until you are found out.
The band life is indeed all for one and one for all. It is not uncommon to see a band rehearse for hours or even days just to perfect a segment which probably lasts just a few seconds. Dedication, perseverance, attention to details and patience are all necessary traits to perfect your craft and make your band better.
The most obvious lesson one learns when playing in a band though, are the dynamics of teamwork. Any band, no matter how good or talented any individual member may be, is only as good as its weakest link. It does not matter how fast or fanciful one player can play- everyone still has to play at the same tempo. For the band to be able to play together, the most talented musician must learn how to cope and work in tandem with the member who is the least inclined. Working in close proximity with one another in a creative environment, conflicts or differences in ideas are also inevitable. One learns how to work past each other differences and to assess other people’s inputs to achieve the collective good.
It might sound like a whole lot of work and maybe even painful then to play in a band, especially if one is only looking for a leisurely hobby. No matter what, music remains an ever-present in life. As with everything else however, it too is ever-changing and the advancement of digital equipment means that aspiring musicians, unlike their predecessors, need not form bands to pursue their passion.
Yet, there is no denying the charm of live music, as anyone who has played in a band or watched a performance from a live band would attest to.
From that sense of accomplishment when everything finally clicks together after all the hard work rehearsing to the exhilaration of being able to express oneself through music, no matter what genre, it is a magical reward one can only get from playing music together in a group but ultimately one that has to be personally experienced and not read about…or played on a gaming console!