As a “Wedding Singer” and band leader, you’d think I would be inspired by only great musicians. As an example I’m currently spending time comparing performances of Bach’s Six Cello Suites by Yo-Yo Ma, Jacqueline DuPres, Pablo Casals, and Paul Tortelier, in search of the richest expression of the six phases of the life of Christ. However, last month a friend invited me to perform at the graduation evening of his 12-week beginners’ guitar class. There were 30 people in small groups demonstrating their ability to strum through a 5-chord worship song – in time and in tune. I was amazed to find myself fighting back tears as I witnessed their pride and joy in making music (& praising God btw) – so I told my friend, who replied, “Yes, I was welling up too, it’s all I can do to get through these evenings without blubbing!”
I remember an insight from a biography of Jimi Hendrix; that he would take notice and could take pleasure in the playing of any guy in a bar or a street. He was looking for what was good that he could take, and not picking out the mistakes that he could reject.
So I have learned that the inspiration to be creative can come from the unexpected, and also it can come from from the inexperienced. After all art is about communication, and however skilfully you can say stuff, you still need Something To Say. I can be inspired by beginners to communicate with honesty and authenticity – regardless of their skill, or mine for that matter.