Freeway Music — Columbia, SC’s Premier Music School

Turn the Negative Into Positive Energy

Most of my guitar students get a kick out of the fact that I was kicked out of my first band that I ever played in. It’s a failure I often share to illustrate how I used a negative experience and turned it into a positive outcome.

I was just a junior at Irmo High School, and I had been playing guitar since I was 12. As was typical for my time, I was obsessed with Kirk Hammett and 90’s grunge music bands. I finally had the coveted opportunity to play in a band. I can’t remember how I got hooked up with the guys I played with, but the band name was The Soul Merchants…oh yeah! Haha! Anyways, we would head to Jimmy’s house in Chapin and practice every week in the garage. He had a nice set up since his dad was very supportive of music. Jimmy was on drums, Aaron on bass, Tim on guitar, and Alonzo on Vocals. They were very serious and had been playing for a while before I came into the picture. They were all very talented, and I felt lucky to be part of what they were doing. We practiced a bunch of classic rock tunes and played a couple shows together…including a pep rally at my school, which made me feel like a rock star.

As time went on, I felt the pressure from the band to “be more like Tim.” They would say things like “Tim is a ‘real’ guitar player” and “why don’t you take lessons like Tim?” Tim was really great and surprisingly nice to me. I was trying my best to keep up and catch up, but their patience wore thin. So, they sat me down and had “the talk.” I felt it coming. They told me that I wasn’t good enough to keep playing guitar in their band. I was heart broken and a bit angry.

Instead of tossing in the towel and getting mad about it, I started practicing my guitar like crazy. I signed up for some guitar lessons and kept learning. I continued playing with other bands and used the negative energy to propel me further. Then, one day my new band was playing at Rockafellas and the guys happened to be there to see me play. I had a great show and displayed my massive improvement on guitar in front of them. They came up to me afterwards and told me how impressed they were. It felt great! All the hard work had paid off. I continued studying and progressing with the same fervor to help me develop into the musician, teacher, and business owner I am today. I don’t regret playing with those guys one bit. I learned a massive amount of cover tunes, how to play with a band, and how to lose. To this day, I am thankful they kicked me out of the band. It was vital in shaping who I am.

Don’t be afraid to try things, make mistakes, and fail. It’s one of the best ways to move forward. The next time you encounter a negative roadblock in your music journey, turn it into something positive.

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