Practice, Practice, Practice
As the New Year approached, I had a desire 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. Run a marathon? Only if being shot at and my life depended upon it. Activities like rock climbing just don't seem compelling. For decades, I considered music. In third grade I played the saxophone. Honestly, I don't recall my reason for quitting. A few years passed, then I gave music a second chance. In sixth grade I attempted the clarinet. Same deal. 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, I signed up for guitar lessons. A friend of mine, who is a musician and web designer, recommended someone. They played together in a hair metal band in the late-1980s. I've seen the photos to prove it, too. 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.
I've been attending 30 minutes lessons every Tuesday night for just shy of one month. Without a doubt, this is the most challenging endeavor I've attempted. Squaring up on a 90-plus-mile-per-hour fastball isn't easy either. I needed a challenge that would require different thinking, different skills. Each week, I leave the studio scratching my head wondering how on Earth I'm going to master what we just practiced. But that's the fun part.
We spent the first couple of lessons discussing basics like chords and general navigation. He's had me practice a major scale to get acquainted with single note play. At this point, I doubt I'll be recruited by a speed metal band, but we both see progress. I'm even feeling comfortable with the finger placement for several chords. I still can't pull of a B chord yet. I know where my fingers are supposed to be, I just can't get them to work in unison yet. The last two weeks we've discussed strumming. Honestly, it seems simple and straight forward, but there are patterns and rhythms that I haven't nailed yet. This has already proven to be the challenge I craved.
So I guess it's just practice, practice, and more practice.