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  • Writer's pictureEric Dahl

Music Makes Me a Better Person

For the record I am certainly not stating that I am a better person than any of you or possibly as good? When I say “Music Makes Me a Better Person” I am affirming that when the creation of music is missing from my life I get very edgy and I’m not myself. This was a discovered as a young child thanks to my dad and my first guitar teacher Joe Lowes. Playing guitar and making music centered me then and it still does today. It is one of those activities in life that require your full attention with no distractions and for most of us there aren’t very many of those things. In this fast-paced world where we are expected to multi-task, juggle family, work, faith, helping others and sometimes self-care it is a struggle. Our smartphones are becoming smarter than we are and they seldom leave our side or our sight. Computer hard drives and the cloud not only save our work and plans but also our thoughts and sometimes emotions? Which in turn requires all of us to find things that slow us down and pull us off the rat race highway. At a point in my career in Las Vegas I was stressing out on work projects and I had a visit my physician at the time, Dr. Von Tobel. When I stopped in for my visit my blood pressure was rather high. The doctor was quizzing me and asked me what I do for my hobbies. I told him my biggest one was playing, collecting, reading about and working on guitars. He told me to watch my diet, exercise more and to play more guitar. This man is an educated Doctor that gave me some of the best advice of my life! I was talking with a friend at my daughter’s Bye, Bye Birdie play this past weekend. He is a guitarist and has toured with a major band. He does personal training now, but still plays guitar and sings and we always discuss gear. I asked if he had played much guitar lately and said a little but not enough. His explanation to me is that he either must do something physical (like running or a strenuous workout) or play guitar everyday or he isn’t himself. I told him the story about how my co-workers have asked (or told me before) so you haven’t been playing much guitar lately have you? In a kind a gentle way meaning that I am more stressed, edgy or snappy and not behaving as my typical self. So, the question is what centers you and calms you? What takes your mind off work, all your troubles and the many responsibilities you have on a daily basis? It doesn’t need to be complex or expensive to accomplish, maybe it is just reading a book or spending time in a garden or taking a walk. But as the world continues to speed up, and it will continue, we must find methods to slow ourselves down and find our center. I have friends that have mastered meditation or participate in martial arts or creating paintings. The opportunities to pursue these interests are endless, but we must make the time to do them. Much like I need to exercise more, sleep more and eat better. But that is besides the point. As I gain more years, and hopefully more experience and wisdom, I try to apply more of this advice in my life – even if I don’t accomplish it every day. And you should too. If a Doctor recommended that I play more guitar to de-stress what would your Doctor prescribe for you? Playing Music Makes Me a Better Person, so the question is what is your music?

Photo courtesy Ted Vandell
I played this Lucille until I returned it to the owner.


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