By Coach Shawn
When I was 13 years old I got a bass guitar as a Christmas gift.
At the time I really began connecting to music and writing as a form of self release and art.
Which would eventually lead me to getting a guitar.
Both of which I taught myself how to play.
There weren’t any youtube tutorials, I didn’t take lessons.
I was not great at learning chords but I got really good at creating melodies.
I could create sounds and tunes that would elicit feelings through sound.
It was powerful.
Around 14-15 years old my friends and I started a band.
At the time, our flavor of music was emo/pop punk music.
All the girls loved emo music. And they loved a guy who could play an instrument.
The name of our band was…
Half Torn Heart.
Go ahead and laugh now.
BUILDING SKILLS + COURAGE
After coming together and practicing as much as we could we were eager to put ourselves to the test.
To play in front of others.
I still remember the day we got our first show.
It was at this older girl I liked at the time named Jesse’s house.
Her parents were going to be out of town for the weekend and she was going to host a small concert in her very own home.
At this stage of the band, I was not only one of two guitar players but I was the singer of the band at the time also.
We didn’t have a mic in our practice garage… I am sure the guys couldn’t even hear just how bad I was at the time.
I actually think the only reason I was the singer was because I was the only one who had enough balls to try to sing in front of other actual human beings.
And my friends told me I was good.
Yet, I don’t think they could even hear me.
I was not good.
And this would be confirmed at this show.
Just imagine the courage and skill it would take as an early teenager to not only know how to play 3-4 songs on a guitar, in front of 40-50 fellow teenagers…
and to sing in front of them too.
And as you’re singing, you can tell by the look on their faces…
That you absolutely suck at singing.
I hope you’re laughing again, because I know I am.
And don’t worry,
It was shortly after this little gig, I was no longer the vocalist of the band.
I’d say a major step in a positive direction.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
Transitioning from guitar and vocals to solely focusing on the guitar only, allowed me to become even better at playing.
And someone better to fill the role of vocals.
As a band, we practiced a lot.
And once we were all able to drive we only began practicing even more.
Our skills and abilities progressed and our style of music would slowly morph as our attitudes did too.
The transition of music style went from emo to pop punk, to a complete 180 direction into a hardcore band.
We even changed our name to At Knife Point.
From, Half Torn Heart …
At Knife Point.
I know, I know.
Again, feel free to laugh out loud.
When you’re a teenager, all songs are about girls and girls breaking your heart.
Through relentless practice we became very close as friends and our music skills got really good.
I’d probably still enjoy listening to our music if I could ever find the CD we recorded after 2 full days in an actual recording studio.
That’s right, we recorded a 8 song album.
Full legit recording studio.
With a music producer too.
I still remember thinking of what it would be like to tour the world, playing music, signing autographs, traveling.
Crowds of people singing our songs.
Our music impacting peoples lives the way music impacted mine.
Living the good life.
This obviously, did not become our future.
As we progressed into 17 years olds our visions and values would all begin to slowly shift.
And mine were the first ones.
The singer and bass player were booted out of the band and a band re-boot was underway yet again.
Except this time, I knew It was time for me to exit.
My passions were changing, our energies as friends had shifted, and our general outlooks on things had grown apart.
Initially, it wasn’t easy.
They brought in three new ultra talented band members, once again changed music styles and began to thrive.
And of course I would question my leaving the band.
Yet while playing music was fun, a great outlet, I felt called for something different.
We all would eventually go our separate ways, including me going into the military.
Yet the gifts I walked away from that impacted my youth still stay with me.
It had been awhile since I picked up the guitar to play.
I have an acoustic guitar that was at my moms house, that I blew the dust off and brought home with me a few years ago.
And I recently bought an electric guitar and an amp.
To again open that door, to create and express.
(Give me some time to knock off the rust and then I’ll take personal requests to play you a song 🙂 )
And like a floodgate of memories flashing before my eyes, it all comes back.
Present day, I can see some of those gifts now where more of that creative expression gets expressed within Coaching and creating the evolution of programming training cycles that take place day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year for Railroad.
And feeling blessed that our folks at Railroad value these specifics, craftsmanship and thought/dedication within the programming they perform each day.
It’s an expression of art…
That started as a young boy learning how to express it through music.