Black Sheep Bass-ic Training

Doing The Christian Walk With A Funky Strut

The Title…

Still playing with this thing.  Figured I’d start with the bio.

“What’s the deal with that title?”

Black Sheep.  This is two-fold.

First, as most folks know, a black sheep is one who sticks out, doesn’t fit in, usually gets cast out from the group.  That’s been me for pretty much my whole life.  Moved a lot when I was a kid and so always had the “new kid on the block” thing going on.  My tastes in music, books, TV, or whatever else people use as icebreakers have always run screaming from the popular, so that ice never quite got broke.  *laughs*  Example:  as a teenager, when all my peers were into boy bands, I was into Simply Red.   Result: spent a lot of time in my room alone listening to them and writing letters to fans overseas who were easily double my age or better.  Even within my own family, I’ve always operated with a different mindset to the rest, so it’s been tough to relate.  And I continue to defy convention.  White middle-aged chicks generally don’t listen to/play* funk bass.

Second, and more importantly, there’s a lot of “sheep/shepherd” language used when describing the Christian walk.  I’m relatively new to the game…gave my life to Christ on Easter Sunday 2008.  Only recently did I really come to appreciate the deeper message behind Psalm 23.  Most use that Psalm when they need encouragement on a down day.  Green pastures, quiet waters, cup overflowing…all soothing to the soul.  But I now see that this Psalm can also be used for a good kick in the spiritual bottom.  Sheep are not the cleverest of animals, and they NEED a shepherd to not fall off a cliff or get stuck in a bush somewhere.  To this point, the Shepherd has been yanking me back with his staff pretty regularly…and I’ve been wandering right back off.  Being the black sheep I am, I’ve been doing things “my way”.  But His way is better.  Most translations word this Psalm in such a way to indicate that God is the one doing the DOING, and we are being LED.  God acts; we follow.  But we have to be humble enough to follow, and to receive His correction.  It is that need for a spirit of humility–to recognize that I am no smarter than a sheep when it comes to running life–that was recently revealed to me.   Time will tell how much the lesson’s really sunk in.

Bass-ic Training.  As in the Christian walk, development as a musician is lifelong, has its ups and downs, and requires much deliberate effort to show any real fruit.  I haven’t been at the bass game long either, first picked the instrument up in the early part of 2007.  I played trombone for 9 years back in the day, 5th grade through college–and I liked it–but it wasn’t my first-choice instrument.  Wanted to play drums, but parents nixed that idea.  Well, fast forward to grad school…trombone had long since been sold in a period of economic desperation…and I was wanting to be on an instrument again.  Worked in a dorm, so space was tight and neighbors were too close.  Not to mention grad student budget.  One thing led to another and I found myself in possession of a Fender Precision.  I dabbled…tried to self-teach (“hey, it’s in the same clef as trombone, how hard could this be?”)…got frustrated and took lessons for a year and a half…but still didn’t really do much with it.  But I’d still mention that I “played” to anyone who would listen.  I shot my mouth off on my first day at my current church home.  That led to me occasionally subbing on the Worship Team, where I quickly demonstrated my ineptitude.  But God.  Circumstances led to me being offered the chair outright by its occupant.  I accepted.  Blind panic ensued.  The very sight of a chord chart sent me into fits, I’d had that classical training with little black dots all over a bunch of lines.  What do you mean, I have to make stuff up???  Well, learn to make stuff up, I did.  Having to get up in front of a congregation and play motivated me to practice like my very life depended on it.  But along the way, I noticed something.  Now that I was making music for the Lord and not for my own motivations, there was a holy ease on it…practice was actually enjoyable…skills were progressing more rapidly than before…playing was becoming pure joy.  Think I might have actually found my calling here.

But I’m still very much in development.  Still need daily application of discipline.  And I often find that God gives me spiritual lessons through things relating to my bass playing, so I end up growing in both areas in tandem.  I seem to now be out of the “baby Christian” phase and the “beginner bassist” phase…’cause God’s kicking it up a notch.  The lessons lately have had a very boot-camp feel to them, hence the second part of the title.

So that’s that.  Various other biographical details may or may not come out in my posts; time will tell.  Enjoy the ride.

 

 

*disclaimer: can’t slap to save my life yet, but I’m working on it!!!!

 

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