Making it look easy

I have a ukulele now. And I take piano lessons. Add in the drum set in the basement and the guitar in the closet and there are a lot of musical opportunities in the house these days. Right now, the uke is the winner…it sits out by my desk and I pick it up about every day. Can’t say I practice any of the rest of the instruments that much.

Of course, I am only playing the one song I know right now (I’m Yours by Jason Mraz) but the more I play it, the easier it gets. Practice makes perfect.

All of this leads up to something that I have been thinking about for a while but never got down to writing about it until now. We went to hear Steve Martin play his banjo this weekend at the lovely Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Yes, the home of the Grand Ole Opry! It was my first show there and I hope it won’t be my last as it was a great performance space. Wonderful acoustics, fun pews (not TOO hard) and a top-notch show to boot. Steve Martin was a pro with the banjo and his band was phenomenal.

Add in the fact that his opening act was the multi-talented John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and that he had guest vocals from Dan Tyminski and Rhonda Vincent as well as closed the show with Earle Scruggs playing Foggy Mountain Breakdown and you get the gist that it was a truly wonderful night of music.

But, what I have been thinking about was how easy they all made it look. McEuen went from guitar to banjo to fiddle without even taking a breath it seemed. If I put down the uke and sit at the piano, I have to fidget and think and get all set up to get going. It is amazing how at ease he seemed with all of the instruments and just being on stage. And, I know it comes from practice.

To take it from music to techy – I can sit down at a Mac and then move to a PC and then to an iPhone with the same ease. I have been told many times during training “you make it seem so easy”. And, that is my goal – to make it seem easy but to also really just make it easy. But, there does take some practice. Some time with the “instrument” whether it is an operating system or a software application or a new peripheral. You have to spend some time with it and learn how to work it, where things are and so on. Then, moving between all of these things gets to be much smoother. And, just like how a guitar player can probably pick up a uke and make some decent noises – the more tech you play with the easier it is to pick up something new just because of all of the practice you did before.