Practice, Practice, Practice (Five Years Later)
Five years ago, as the New Year approached, I decided to challenge myself with something new. Too many years passed by where I didn't necessarily stretch my limits and step beyond my comfort zone. Excuses, excuses. I would only run a marathon if being shot at and my life depended upon it. Rock climbing? Nope. As far back as high school, I considered giving music a chance. I played the saxophone in third grade. All of these years later I still can't recall my reason for quitting. In sixth grade I gave music a second chance and attempted the clarinet. Same result. I played for a year then threw in the towel. I just wanted to play sports. Ever since that moment, I've regretted that decision.
In early December 2011, I signed up for guitar lessons at a local store. A friend of mine, who is a musician, web designer and fellow Star Wars fan, recommended someone. They played together in a hair metal band in the late-1980s. Yes, there are photos to prove it. I was told that he will teach me "the right way" to read music and how to play. I kicked the idea around for about a week then signed up.
After five years, I've been attending 30-minute lessons almost every week. The days and times have changed throughout the years. Without a doubt, this remains the most challenging endeavor I've attempted. Squaring up on a 90-plus-mile-per-hour fastball still isn't easy. I needed a challenge that would require different thinking, different skills. Half a decade later, I still leave the studio scratching my head wondering how on Earth I'm going to master what we just practiced. While challenging, it's still a blast.
We've long since mastered our discussions regarding chords and general navigation. After years of practice, we've compiled quite an extensive list of songs. Some I can play well, some not so much. I'm still not on any local speed metal band's watch list, but we continue to see progress. I still can't pull off a decent B chord yet.
And after five years, it's fitting that the song I play best is Take Me Out to the Ballgame.