Making Music - Bipolar Question of the Week

John McManamy Health Guide
  • Music heals. No question about it. My healing instrument is the didgeridoo, and it’s been a very busy week, didgeridoo-wise for me. First, the airline smashed my travel didge. I swear, it was a contract hit. It was time for me to upgrade, anyway. My new didge is a ripper, as they would say in Australia. I’ve been like a kid with a new toy. Baby, this thing can honk.

    Serendipitously, a site called Didgeridoo Dojo - specializing in didgeridoo instruction - made its debut. I signed up, and have been parsing video after video. Very valuable tips on rounding out my circular breathing, adding bounce to my bounce breaths, and more. Plus cool new techniques such as the “wobble.”

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    I made a major breakthrough on my didge back in January. Suddenly, after nearly four years, I was actually making music with the thing, or something pretty close to music. This inspired me to do some serious practicing. Over the last month, I have sensed myself on the cusp of another breakthrough. Once it all comes together - six days from now, six months from now - I can actually call myself a “player.”

    A couple of weeks ago, I confided to a family member that I couldn’t believe I gave up making music for thirty years. My family member, who knows well my love for music, couldn’t believe it, either. I used to play trombone, but then life - career and family - got in the way. Over the years, I yearned to get back into music in some way, but was always intimidated by the prospect, either of learning a new instrument or relearning my old one.

    Then, four years ago, fresh out of NJ, in an out-of-the-way coffee shop in southern CA, the didgeridoo presented itself. A year and a bit ago, I finally summoned up the courage to bring my didge (two of them, actually) to a drum circle. I’ve been a regular ever since. My didge has been a welcome addition to the circle, but I’ve always been comforted by the knowledge that 20 or so people banging away can easily drown me out. If I screwed up, no one would notice, nor would I throw the others off.

    That will change today. Two or so weeks ago, on the suggestion of some of the drummers, I purchased a small battery-powered portable amp and a microphone. And now I have a ripper of a new didge to hook it up to. I’m off to my drum circle this afternoon. Can’t wait.

    Thirty years without making music - can you believe it?

    Question: Making music. Share your experience.

    Maybe you’ve been playing in a string quartet for 20 years, maybe you got up to the courage to sing into the mike on karaoke night, maybe you quietly practice your Indian flute at home. Or maybe you recall those moments back when you were a kid, when you nailed your piano recital, sang in your high school production of “Bye Bye Birdie,” or acquitted yourself well in school band.

    Go for it. Comments below ...    

Published On: August 27, 2011