Keep up the practising!

56 key Wheatstone Aeola Tenor Treble ConcertinaWhilst in Ireland last week I was reflecting on as a Scottish musician getting older (38 this year) how do you keep up the momentum of doing the gigs when there are lots of younger musicians coming up through the ranks. Family and financial pressures tend to strip you of the major time you once had to practice and concentrate. In my case I don’t know where the time goes and the week is over! I have lately found myself promising to practice after the last gig and the next gig has arrived and I still haven’t managed to get my concertina out of the box.

Should older musicians stand back and let the younger ones through whilst we get on with running festivals, events – the farm? The older musician has lots of experience gained from years of gigs and stage performance and surely has more to offer an audience apart from not being ‘new and trendy’.

This maybe looks like self-pity but I suppose I’m using this as a call to action (for myself at least). Scotland’s music will be much stronger with a large depth of musicians of all ages. Scottish musicians like Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham, Dick Gaughan, Battlefield Band are all at the top of their game playing all the time, recording and making DVDs (check out the new Battlefield Band DVD). Are they just more single minded than other musicians?

I need to find regular practising time again (rather than sporadic gasps) learning lots of new tunes, creating new ideas and improvisations, calling promotors and putting myself out there. I’ve always said to myself that I will still be playing at 80 and in order to do this I better step up my work rate.

While I’m at it check out the latest Foot Stompin’ newsletter featuring new releases from our great Scottish musicians young and old!

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