Guitar Lessons Once a Week for a Year


I took guitar lessons once a week, Monday nights, for a year. I enjoyed learning to read music, getting to know a handful of chords, several notes and even playing some songs. I bought a used acoustic guitar, learned to change the strings, keep it clean and treat it with respect. My little brother even gave me an electric guitar that he wasn’t using anymore, so I got to play around with both types.

My teacher started off showing me several blues riffs. As I practiced those, he would play along with the lead guitar role, giving all kinds of character to my riff as I simply tried to hit the right notes.

The first song he taught me was Eric Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight. After months of practice, I actually got pretty good and could play along with the song at full speed. Then he showed me Snow Patrol’s Run, which was another fairly simple one, except for a little change up at the end with which I always had trouble.

Lastly, he taught me to play the rhythm guitar for Guns N’ Roses Sweet Child O’ Mine, often breaking out into a little bit of the lyrics as he played Slash’s parts along with me. Now that was a fun one to play. Again, there were some change-ups in there that I never quite mastered, but still a fun experience.

And then I taught myself how to pick Pearl Jam’s The End. The song has a real nice melody and, of course, Eddie Vedder nails the lyrics. After I learned to play it, albeit slower than Eddie, I tried singing a few times. Wow, that is really difficult!

One benefit, in learning to read music, I was able to understand more of what my daughter was playing with her flute. Not that I knew enough about the flute, tone or sound to be of much help, but at least I felt a little less ignorant.

I took lessons for a year. It was a fun experience and I’m glad to have invested the time. I’ve always respected musicians and wished I’d learned to play something when I was a kid. The experience gave me even more respect for them and a tiny bit of insight into their world.

So what happened? Basically, I wasn’t practicing enough to progress in my lessons. I felt stuck. There were too many other things in daily life that I prioritized ahead of practicing my guitar, even just 20–30 minutes each day, so I decided to stop lessons and continue on my own, at a slower pace.

I kept it up for a few months, but it slowly trickled to fewer and fewer times I’d pick up the guitar. That was two years ago.

I haven’t touched either of my guitars in 4 months, but I smile when I look at them. Sitting in the corner of my living room, more than a little dusty, they’re a reminder that life is about experiences and trying something new.

~tod

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