I am a chronic procrastinator, in every single area of my life. People procrastinate for different reasons; my main reasons are indecisiveness, and a desire to avoid difficult feelings. What do I want for tea? Meh, I’ll think about it later (of course, by the time “later” comes, I’m so hungry that I stuff my face with the first thing I can find, usually bread, until I’ve ruined my appetite for proper food). Have a blog post to write? I’ll watch one more episode of Buffy first. Ten episodes later, I still haven’t had a flash of inspiration for my blog post, and I’ve wasted half the day in front of the TV.
This, of course, is no exception when it comes to my music. Last week I finally bit the proverbial bullet and uploaded an advert to Join My Band (a national forum where people upload ads looking for bands or band members. Each area of the UK has its own directory, so it’s a very good resource). You will notice that despite the fact that I’ve wanted to join a band for a few months, I’m only just getting around to uploading this advert, a very useful tool for finding a band. Although I have wanted to join a band for all this time, I was putting it off because I just felt as if I wasn’t good enough yet. I was nervous, and self-doubting, and unsure about what I really wanted (do I want to play metal, or rock, or indie? Which bands do I wish to emulate? What kind of people do I want in my ideal band?)
I kept putting obstacles in my way, hurdles to get over that would eventually ensure that I was “good enough”. I said, “I won’t seriously look for a band until I can play this song, until I can do this technique, until I get into shape…” But of course, the problem with that approach is that I was constantly pushing out the goalposts. So first, I said that once I could play Heart’s ‘Barracuda’ on bass, I would be ready (I chose this song as it was very difficult at the time, and had a few different techniques to learn). But by the time I learned that song properly, someone had asked if I could play any Red Hot Chilli Peppers and I realised that the answer was no. So then I learned ‘Can’t Stop’. But that was the only song I could play by them, and what if people asked me to jam a different Chilli Peppers song? So then I learned another song, then another, then another… until I realised how ridiculous my level of procrastination had become. And while we’re on the topic of learning songs, how well you need to be able to play a song in order to say that you can play it “properly”? I was assuming that I needed to play the entire thing note perfect, but having asked some of my musician friends online, many of them said that as long as you can play the main riff, you can wing the rest!
I realised I was being far too cautious, was allowing my fear to get in the way of my desire to play. In fact, sometimes being in a band can drive you to get better much quicker than playing alone in your bedroom will. So, not without a nervous sense of unease, I uploaded my advert. Now I wait for what happens next.