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  • Writer's pictureBilly Jones

Featured Student: John Brown

Hi! I'm John Brown.


I play bass in the Bones Jones Music band Lawyers, Guns on Monday.


No One is Too Old to Learn


I’ve been a music nut my whole life. I’m a Deadhead and a big fan of Getty Lee from Rush. I always felt like a bit of a hypocrite for being so big into music but not actually playing an instrument. I played a bit of piano and trumpet as a kid but I always notice the bass above all else when I listen to music. It’s such an appealing sound.


In late 2020, my daughter Erika really started prodding me saying things like, “Well, are you ever going to learn how to play the bass?”


I was 52. I had this self-imposed age barrier that Erika was pushing me through. The way she said it, I felt motivated. She was reminding me that music is one of my primary passions and that I wasn’t too old to learn.


Her boyfriend Ryan had been taking guitar classes at Bones Jones Music for more than a year at that point and the two of them encouraged me to contact Billy.


I was still a bit worried about joining a class knowing nothing. But after my intro lesson, Billy assured me that I could handle it. He was so encouraging like, “Yeah! Come on! It’s going to be great! You can definitely do it!”


He is a sincere guy; a straight shooter. He wasn’t just saying it. He knew I could do it and that, along with Erika and Ryan’s encouragement, made me decide to join Bones Jones Music. It was honestly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.


Community


One of the greatest things about being a student here is the community. Even before COVID I was a telecommuter for 10 or so years. It’s isolating to work from home and I never really saw folks outside of my family. I wanted to be around people, especially other folks who are really into music.


There’s a great camaraderie with the bass players in class. We are all here because we love music but we’ve also become friends and we talk about non-music related things all the time. This makes for a really great learning environment.


Billy is very encouraging and knowledgeable and my fellow classmates are always encouraging too. Everyone is so supportive no matter what skill level you are at. Billy has this cool way of layering his teaching, which means that beginners can fit right into a class with more advanced players. And also the better we all get as a group, the more we learn. We aren’t just playing the same kinds of songs or learning the same techniques over and over again. The door is open for the songs to be harder and more challenging to play as we progress as a group. We are continually challenged and constantly learning and improving together. It’s really motivating for all of us.


Join a Band


My ultimate goal was to play in a band so after about a year of classes, I took the next step and joined the BJM band Lawyers, Guns on Monday as the bassist.


Band is a very positive experience. It’s really fun! I learn faster in the band because I’m motivated to not let my bandmates down. Preparing for performances is the best. Everyone rallies around the common cause. We roll up our sleeves and really get into it.

My bass playing has recently hit a new level. I feel more solid when I play. Being in both the band and the bass class, playing twice as much and always learning new songs and skills has really made a big difference.


I’m pretty pumped about all of the songs on our set list but especially What’s the Frequency Kenneth? by REM and Radar Love by Golden Earring. We also play Running Down a Dream by Tom Petty, Bad Moon Rising by CCR, My Hero by Foo Fighters, Rock Me Baby by Steve Miller Band and Do You Wanna Dance by Ramoes.


You Will Keep Improving


In some ways, I feel like I’m still painting by numbers with tab. I don’t want to have to rely on looking at the page to play. I want to learn to jam/improvise. I know I’m moving towards that goal because of what Billy is teaching us how to do. It’s clear that I’m in for a lifetime of learning on bass. I won’t ever stop coming here. It’s part of me now. I’m part of this family. I’m here for the duration.



 

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