The Non-practicing Musician


Something magical occurs every time I get into my car. Along with hundreds of thousands of other drivers, the moment the wheels start rolling we cease to have names.  We become nothing more than blue compact cars, white SUVs, or red sports cars.  With that feeling of anonymity comes a certain freedom, perhaps more accurately described as total denial that people actually can see us in our cars.

This is proven every day by the people who drive by with a finger knuckle-deep up a nostril, applying lipstick, or other personal grooming that the driver wouldn’t conceive of doing publicly.

For me, however, this magical shield of invisibility provides me with the arena in which I become a rock goddess…oh yeah.  Move over Mr. Satriani…Pamela is in da house!!!  Feeling the electricity surging through me as I hit every last note – bending it to sweet perfection, sneaking in a couple of subtle harmonics as my fingers fly up and down the fretboard.

Oh, but it doesn’t stop there.

I also could replace Neil Peart if ever Alex & Geddy wanted to change things up a little. Suddenly the girl who lacks the coordination to walk & chew gum simultaneously, is a precise, thundering wall of double kicks, rolls & crashes that keeps time better than Doc McGee’s Rolex.

Then there’s the bass.  Sometimes a song simply demands that all other instruments be pushed aside to feature a phat funky-ass base line…and I slap and punch my way through with such conviction it would make Flea blush.

A keyboard has even been known, occasionally to make its way onto my private stage as I careen down the highway.

For these magical moments, frozen in time, I am a musician, playing the very music that propels, inspires and nurtures me.

When I park the car, it’s all over.  I revert back to the non-musician that I am.

Oh I still feel it alright. Some music moves me to the point that I’m convinced that physiological changes take place in my cells when it’s resonating within me. On the flip side, bad music is capable of making me cringe so intensely that I fall just short of convulsing.  Infuriated, and with watering eyes and flushed cheeks, I’ve been known to accuse a bad song of aging me more than a pack of cigarettes!

I consider myself to be very lucky to have been surrounded by musicians for all of my adult life, and I’ve learned that I do have a role here – despite not being able to play.  It is a supporting role. One in which my ears, opinion, and ability to articulate thoughts and impressions conjured up by a particular riff or melody, can provide helpful feedback, direction and dare I say inspiration to those musicians who I so admire.

Thus, I’m thrilled to have been offered this space – where I – the non-practicing musician – can respectfully offer my two cents from the perspective of a music lover.

To read more about Ashton click HERE

Ashton's Column

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