A life long dream
by Ian Mason
Hi! My name is Ian and I am 54 years old. The first time I realised I liked classical music was when I was about 7 or 8 years old, I went to see Mary Poppins, I enjoyed the film but it was the part where the old lady is sat on the steps of the cathedral singing "Feed the birds".
although I liked the song it was when she stopped singing and the orchestra kicked in, I felt something I had never felt before, the hairs on the back of my neck prickled and I had goose bumps, but more importantly, I started crying, and to this day I still don’t know why.
There are certain Classical pieces that make me cry, for example, Capricho Arabe played by Julian Bream. Anyway! My Father saw me crying and told me to shut and watch the film, you did not go against my father, at 6ft 10" you did what he said instantly.
I don't think there was a day that went by that I didn't get punished or beaten. As we left the pictures there was a very old man outside playing a guitar for pennies and half-pennies from people walking by, so I stopped to listen. It was beautiful and I could feel the tears welling up again, I had never heard music like that before (I know now it was classical guitar).
After a minute or so my father suddenly grabbed me and dragged me away and said "what do you want to listen to that rubbish for? Are you a girl?"
After that I made sure that I didn't make any reference to that music again for fear of a beating. A couple of weeks later I sneaked back down to the pictures to see the old man playing. I had managed to save two-pence to give to him, but he wasn't there.
I never did see him again and often wondered what became of him. I would have gladly give him my pocket money (when I got some) just hear him play.
From the age of 10 to 17 I was in children's homes and didn't receive any education which also reduced my chances of coming into contact with classical music/guitar.
I eventually left and two years later I joined the army (a man’s world) so no mentioning classical music again. It was only when I became "hard" and could stand up for myself did I start letting my true feelings out about how I felt about classical music.
It was on my tour in Northern Ireland when I came across someone playing a guitar and playing the music I had heard as a child, I spoke to the elderly gentleman and asked him all about it. That's when I found out it was Classical guitar.
The time quickly came when I had to carry on patrolling, as I was walking away he called to me and with a smile he said "You will one day" and promptly walked off, that was the only time I ever saw him.
As the years went by I forgot all about guitars and such and basically conformed to people's wishes just for an easy life. 5 years ago a met someone who is now my wife and the for the first time in my life I am with someone who cares about how I feel and what I would like to do.
4 months ago she bought me a Santos Martinez classical guitar, foot rest and music stand, they are the best presents I have ever had.
I have had 11 one hour lessons and have learnt to play, Minuet in D minor by Robert De Visee, Ode to Joy, Green sleeves, Swan Lake, and I'm just learning German Dance.
I still make a lot of mistakes when playing them but I realise that will take 2 or 3 years before I am anywhere near competent, but I am a patient man and will get there in the end!
My dream now is to be able to play a beautiful piece and put it up on YouTube. It’s probably the only notoriety I will ever have, but its enough for me :)
As an afterthought, my favourite type of music is early Baroque and early Renaissance, I think the reason why I like the more melancholic type of music is because of my childhood, (who knows?)
Well! Thank you for taking the time to read my story, there is a lot more to it than what I have put which I'm sure you can tell but would probably take volumes to tell the whole story :)
Wow! What a sad story but I'm so glad everything seems to be turning out well for you now. It often is very hard, especially if the 'barriers' we have in our life are constructed by our own family members or someone close to us.
Congratulations Ian on making such progress against such very hard circumstances. I hope you keep enjoying classical for many years to come.