Individuality – Turning passion into a lifestyle

Sharon Glassman – Individuality – Turning passion into a lifestyle.

So when I was still living in Brooklyn, this is going back to early 2000s, mid 2000s. I was at Solar Performer, the owner of a one person company. A single woman, living in a one bedroom apartment. And I looked at my life and I said, I gotta find a group activity, because I’m going to become a cat lady and I’m allergic to cats so this is going to be really bad. Like, it’s not going to work with me.

I had played violin as a kid in the orchestra. I played it sort of haphazardly, you know, music upside down. It was good enough to get life to a certain degree. And I joined my community orchestra, and I was there for about five years. And I heard people saying I’m playing the second violin section. There’s two sections, if you’re not an orchestra person. First violin is the melodies and the leads, second violins are boom tch, tch. And I love that, it seemed to have a low risk threshold.

I said that I had taken Hippocratic earth with music, sort of playing really quietly. But I started to hear people say things like, this isn’t the way we played this in 1971, I don’t want to change! And I thought that, ugh! Is that my future? Do I want to be that person? Probably not. So I started l playing along with the radio looking for forms of music. And I stumbled across country bluegrass, which I had never heard. And I started hearing people in the orchestra, I think I can do this other thing. It was coming with the drug problem, this weird mental imbalance; they wanted to get an intervention because I had lost it.

But as I started doing this, I got on Craigslist and I felt really crazy and joined a string quartet, but instead I found this girl group that was looking for a fiddle player. And then I almost knew anything. And we rehearsed in a studio called The Sweatshop in Brooklyn. And this place was hilarious. It was so—like, it’s still there. We’d go down like a cobweb ridden staircase to a dank dark hallway. It was BYOT, bring your own toilet paper. This place was like really pitiful.

We go down there and rehearse, we have this great down, but none of us knew anything about plugging in our instruments. I didn’t know the instrument I was using, which was technically an electric violin wasn’t meant to play out, you could only rehearse. It had no quality sound. I didn’t know about plugging into an amplifier. We went to play our first gig, and I didn’t know about a monitor, which is if you see musicians with a speaker on the floor, that’s the thing that let the musician hear how they sound.

So I didn’t have on those. I didn’t know how I sounded, I didn’t know my instrument was out of tune. And we go to play our first gig, and we’re all like BFF, we’re talking about going on tour, and by the end of the gig, no one’s talking to me. And I failed. Miserably. And that’s not why I fled New York for Colorado, I actually made the active choice to move. They didn’t run me out of town.  They didn’t.

So I get to Colorado and I’m like, I’m never going to do this again. I answer another Craigslist  ad, and I thought it said, one fiddle player not to play out at gigs. And so I go to this house, I play, and oh, you passed the audition. Our first gig is in a month. So now I made my purple band that plays in barns. And it turns out the most fun thing in the world. All of a sudden, I’m a rock star. I’m shredding my bow.  I’m getting to get dressed up, I’m getting to wear—you know, in orchestra, you wear black and you have to be quiet. And this is about being as loud as possible.

Over the interview in five years, then and now, I’ve actually learned how to play this instrument. All of a sudden, I realized I actually played guitar, I had forgotten about that. I figured out how to sing already, and so now I’m reading my novel aloud with the original songs, we’re about to cut my first CD. And this is awesome. It’s like I put myself through a training, made a lot of mistakes along the way. I’ve had the most fun in my life. Like, I’d rather go out and play some music than go to a party and make small talk. I’d rather talk through the music.

I’m having the most fun that a person could ever, ever have. Now I’m learning how to refine that product and do what I want to do. And in the meantime, I don’t know, I’ve played a lot of really fun gigs.