As far as self-directed musical education goes, mine was uniquely slow and awkward.
My parents were immigrants from very austere living situations in their home countries. So austere that, even as twenty-somethings in the sixties, the seismic shifts in pop culture and music were so far removed from their reality that they missed it entirely. (Asking my father about the Rolling Stones will only win you a quizzical glance. Ask him about science, engineering or history, and epic lectures will ensue). After moving to Canada they had very limited time and money to devote to the very first world pursuit of « consuming » music.
But, as many struggling immigrants often do, they encouraged my sister and I to take up an instrument, preferably inexpensive ones. Rebel that my sister was, she chose piano. (Sorry Ma)
When it came to discovering music, we had free reign. It could have been a harsh desert to wander, but fortunately there appeared Much Music which debuted in 1984. The same year that my sister and I jointly purchased the Rock ’84 LP. (Thank you K-Tel! Rock ’84 )
It was an auspicious, yet humble beginning to my musical education.
One of my goals at this year’s FME is to mine the stories of musical awakening from the mouths of the the artists themselves. I want all the pimply awkwardness, as well as the tearfully profound moments of discovery.
To all the musicians and festival goers of FME: please feel free to open up about your musical youth when Zeus comes calling. Everyone can benefit from revisiting those innocent times, and it makes for some great drinking stories.