Thursday, December 9, 2010

This Ain't Your Father's Music

Sebastian Ignacio Navarro was not born into a wealthy family. His parents were immigrants from Latin America and he and his sister were the first generation of their family born in the United States. Naturally, Spanish was Sebastian's first language, and he didn't learn English until it was time to go to school. His mother started teaching him English in the months prior to school so he could avoid the culture shock that she experienced when she came to this country. Children at that age learn very quickly, so it wasn't difficult for him to learn English, and to this day Sebastian considers both English and Spanish his native languages.
Technically, being Hispanic makes one a minority, but growing up in an urban area just outside of New York City, the lines between "minority" and "majority" are very, very blurred. While the Navarros were not wealthy, they certainly did work hard to provide a comfortable life for Sebastian and his younger sister.
Early in his childhood, Sebastian showed an interest in music. As any young child would do, he would bang on pots and pans in the kitchen, but the real interest began to manifest itself when he would sing church hymns at around 2 years old. Growing up in a Baptist church, the natural venue to showcase this emerging talent was of course, at church. And so, as cliche as it seems, Sebastian was singing in church from a very young age.
Sebastian's parents were able to enroll him in piano lessons around the first grade, and this would prove to be a valuable decision for his later life. His father, Roberto, was particularly fond of classical music and especially loved the piano and the violin. Although he did not play any instruments himself, and never professed to any musical inclinations, he always played classical music in the house and Sebastian grew up with that influence.
By the time middle school had rolled around piano lessons had ended for Sebastian. Now he found himself playing the trumpet, an instrument that he was embarrassed to practice because it was so loud. In addition to not really being that good at that instrument, he didn't really have an interest in practicing at all, so he slowly languished in those skills and in music in general. In those days he got mild encouragement from his mother and none really from his father, when it came to musical endeavors, so it was extremely difficult to find any motivation to pursue it. It is only now, as an older man, that Sebastian can look back on that time of his life and realize, this is where his real insecurities began.
When he started high school, Sebastian discovered the bass guitar. Now, he knew that even though it looked similar to the guitars his friends in school were learning to play, this was not the same as theirs. Strangely, that dichotomy between the familiar and different appealed to his nature. When he began to play it he discovered that he really enjoyed the sound. The low frequencies appealed to him and weren't as grating as the trumpet was. Sebastian was enamored and absolutely enthralled with this instrument, which began to awaken his passion for music. Up to now he had not known anything for which he had a passion. At the hands of condescending music teachers and amidst mediocre encouragement at home Sebastian had lost his interest in music almost completely. Now, with this new instrument he discovered his life's passion. He felt alive with the possibilities of playing music for fun, for money, and forever. This now, was his life.
Sebastian practiced for hours on end after school. He read books and articles and anything else he could get his hands on in an effort to learn more about the bass, and music in general. It was clear to himself and everyone around him that this was his new focus for life. Sebastian was a musician.
Sebastian is still a musician. Now into adulthood he still carries that same passion for music and for the bass. He also still carries insecurities about his music and his instrument. Overcoming one's insecurities is no easy task. He found it to be an everyday battle, one that he loses on some days. At certain points in his life Sebastian has felt the need to prove himself - to himself, to his teachers, to his peers. At thirty years of age, he still struggles to prove himself and overcome those insecurities about music, and other things. In his younger years he may not have known himself well enough to know all his self-doubt or where they came from. Now he knows, the first person he felt he had to prove himself to, was his father. In his adult life, Sebastian knows himself a bit better, and that makes his struggle fractionally easier.

There is more of Sebastian's story, for a later time.

1 comment:

  1. I love it! This dude sounds pretty cool. I can't wait to hear about his very interesting up bringing and life. Looks like he is going to pan out to be something special. You are an excellent writer coming from another person who writes.
    This is very good.