Today, while playing at a funeral, I met the son of the one of the limo drivers, a man who I’ve come to know over the years since I’ve been playing for particular funeral home. The son is 41 and was just let go from his job and has moved back in with Dad. Dad was telling me that he’s concerned about his son and the need for his son to get a job.
Before it was time to play, I was talking with the son. I asked him what kind of work he had done up to that point. He told me that the majority of his jobs were in sales. His most previous job was with an insurance company. I asked him the same question that I ask most people who are in a transition: If you won the lottery tomorrow and all of your financial obligations were taken care of, what would you do with your time? At first he told me that he didn’t know. I then asked him what he liked to do as a kid. He told me that he used to draw and sketch. I asked him if he had done any sketching recently. He said no.
Men who’ve reached the age of 40 are an interesting breed. As I’ve said in previous posts, these men are suddenly concerned about their mortality, are trying to squeeze in everything they’ve always wanted to do, and – hence - make incredible students. They now have an urgency to do something amazing. I told this gentleman that what he needed to do was to make an appointment with himself on a daily basis to draw and sketch. As his skills come back they could be marketable. He needed to develop a portfolio that he could post on the internet. The internet has made getting a job as an artist today a lot easier than before. Posting his portfolio on Facebook could eventually land him in his life’s work.
So what does that have to do with playing the bagpipes? If your dream is to play the bagpipes, be an artist, or something else, 40 isn’t too old; it’s a good age to get started. You need to do the same things that I talked about above. You need to make an appointment with yourself on a daily basis to practice.
If you work in a job that you hate, for people that you don’t like, and/or for not enough money, it may be your fault...unless you do something after work to change it. I personally have the greatest job in the world as a bagpiper. I started this business when I was 40, teaching and performing after work. What could you do? You won’t know until you try something. Just do it!
Gary Guth is a professional bagpiper with over 45 years of playing experience and has been teaching bagpipes full time for the last 20 years. He has written "Bagpipes For Beginners", "the Bagpipe Hymnal", and " A Piper's Christmas".