A life long dream

by Ian Mason
(Plymouth UK)

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.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

Comments for A life long dream

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Apr 08, 2014
my dad
by: Anonymous

I still remember you playing your guitar.. And the look on your face when you was playing.. I miss you soo much dad. I wish you was here to meet your grandson. I will make sure he knows all about you dad i love you soo much...

Nov 17, 2013
by: K.P

Mace - You were a true friend and an inspiration. to see you suffer the way you did and yet ' tourette's was always at the forefront !!

Hayley is being looked after and always be, she listens to your music and has also now started watching the videos of maps you made, so although you felt guilty and worried about your legacy you hold each other in your heart and always will.

Your guitar playing was outstanding, I'm just so surprised your guitar never got chucked through the window when you struggled but I believe Hayley knew how to calm you down and that I am eternally grateful for else you would be down the tip getting another guitar and Hayley would have more of your ' hoard' to deal with :p
It has been nearly 12 months since you was taken away from us but with the recordings Hayley has I give you my word Mace that we will get her through and support her steps through this life without you.
Mace, you will forever be in our hearts and when I hear a certain piece of music, you will come straight into my thoughts and until the day we meet again, keep watching over Hayley from afar and we will do what we can.
Love you Mace xx

Mar 02, 2013
by: becky

When i read this i cried. Hayley is the best friend anyone can ever wish for. You have been through bad times. Ian will always be in our hearts. And his music will always be with you and others. He is one talented person. And im so glad i can say i knew him. Love to you all. X

Mar 01, 2013
Sad Loss
by: Pete S

I have just seen a link for this and I am so saddened to read Ian's story then to see the thank you comment from Ian's wife, Hayley. This brought tears to my eyes and although I never had the pleasure of meeting or hearing Ian play, I agree with previous comments that I hope Ian's music brings Hayley great strength support comfort and guidance on her path through life.
Hayley - I am so sorry to 'hear' of Ian's passing and I hope on the scope of things you are doing 'ok'....just one piece of advice though - make several copies of Ian's music so you always have it if you 'burnt' out the CD !! ....Keep the faith Hayley, Ian is always around you.

Mar 01, 2013
Cherished Player
by: anon

Sorry to hear of your loss Hayley, I only heard Ian play once and what an inspiration he was !
His guitar playing will always be a part of you through your journey in life and his recordings you have can only bring you guidance and peace.
A great loss we have suffered....

Mar 01, 2013
Re: Cherished player
by: Anonymous

Dear Hayley,
I have had the lucky experience of hearing Ian play and his playing was unique and amazing ! To suffer like he did with cancer and yet you still gave him the strength and courage to keep playing...i commend you.
I hope the recordings you have of Ian playing gives you comfort and peace, you are one lucky lady to have had a talent like Ian and I hope now although he is not with us anymore, he still continues to play :)
Rest in Peace Mace

Feb 27, 2013
Cherished Player
by: Hayley Mason

Thank you for the kind comments offered to my Husband, Ian Mason....Ian passed away December 2012 to cancer but he always played his guitar right up until he just wasnt well enough anymore. Luckily I have recordings of Ian playing and will treasure them forever :)

Jul 23, 2011
by: Raymond James Rivera

Glad you started! I'm 40 and am just picking up the instrument myself. Just that you started and are patient means you'll probably be not that bad of a player... I think it's great that you are doing it.

Dec 19, 2010
Classical Guitar is Not for Wimps
by: Patricia


If your dad is still alive, maybe you should set him down in front of a music stand and ask him if he can play "Leyenda".

Then he might change his mind real quick about whether or not the classical guitar is a sissy instrument.

Sorry to hear of all your painful experiences, but glad to hear you have this wonderful instrument to comfort you. It's the best, isn't it?


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