I mean having to go through the pain of trying to learn a new skill. I hate it. It is difficult and it sucks.
This isn’t something that happened as I got older. I never liked it. When I think about learning new things, I always equate it with lots of tears, lots of stress and a lot of frustration.
A couple of examples come to mind.
I got a great job offer several years ago using a software I was familiar with but didn’t know how to use. I was honest during the interview and said if they would provide training, I was sure I could pick it up. They offered me quite a bit more money than I was making and promised the training would happen. I jumped at the offer.
My first day, I learned the person who was supposed to train me, had literally run crying from the building the Friday before I started never to return. A definite red flag.
The training never happened, and I was left pretty much on my own with a big thick manual trying to figure out how to do my new job. There was no You Tube or websites to search for information. I was on my own.
I cried nightly. I finally managed to get a former co-worker to come to my office for a day to give me some training. I still remember the joy of getting stuff from the software to just print!
I eventually became not just a SME at that company but learning that software changed my entire career path and led me to where I am in my career today.
The second example was learning how to put together sequenced music for my band. Having little understanding of music theory and even less programming experience, I was alone, trying to figure out how to add backing tracks of keyboard and horn sounds so I could keep my four-piece group sounding big, but not having to spend big for extra members.
Again, no You Tube or website help. I worked from a huge manual. I spent many nights frustrated and in tears.
I remember one night staying up until after 200am trying to get some changes I made to a sequence to save. I woke up the next morning for work, tired and defeated. I was standing in the shower when I suddenly had an epiphany of how to fix the problem. The fix worked and I went on to do hundreds of different sequences over the years. Those sequences became the basis of many gigs and lots of good times making music.
Which brings me to my latest endeavor. Writing and releasing original music.
When Eric, my former bass player, first brough up the idea of doing some writing together, I was excited. I had dabbled in doing original music during my early years of singing but had never really given it the time and attention it needed to fully develop. Add to that, I had never gotten very proficient on any instrument, which limited how and what I could create.
Nowadays not playing an instrument doesn’t mean you can’t write songs. Band Lab and Garage Band are two software programs that I have been learning that let you put together songs and collaborate with other songwriters.
But working on the music is just one piece. Once you finish it, there is setting up a distributor, getting the music in the online stores and promoting it so people find it. Don’t forget artwork for the single and making sure it fits within a certain size.
All of which I am a total novice at. Proven by the first release Eric and I have done, a song that we reworked from something originally written years ago called “Ready To Love Again.”
Figuring out the artwork and getting everything set up with the distributor was harder than I thought it would be. Some buttons didn’t get clicked so instead of being out and ready to stream, we were delayed by over a week.
Instead of nothing to reference on this learning process, there is an overwhelming number of videos and information and how and why you do things, much of it conflicting information. Easier than no information, but harder to sort through.
So why is this old dog learning new tricks? I have been asking myself that for months. Why not just spend my evenings watching “Dateline” or my celebrity crush Wayne Brady on “Dancing With The Stars?”
I think I got the answer the other night at my Cycle class. I wasn’t in the best of moods and as we were finishing up the class, I was reflecting on how much I wanted to go home and lay on the couch.
Then as we were finishing up our cool down, it started. Our new song. My instructor had downloaded it and was using it for the final section of the cool down. There it was blaring on the cycle room stereo. A song I had written and sang. No, it wasn’t the same as hearing it on the radio. It wasn’t a Grammy nomination. But I felt an excited feeling I had never felt before and it ended my grumpy mood.
Yes, learning new things sucks. Yes, sometimes I just want to watch some “American Greed” while having a little wine, but that feeling when you conquer something you have never done before. That feeling when you build or create something for the first time. Well, it just keeps you coming back for more.
Check out my new endeavor by searching on Spotify, Amazon and I Tunes for:
Ready To Love Again
L A Lyon
If you like it, add it to your playlists!