Guitar Lessons – An Update

I’ve now had 4 half hour lessons over the course of the past month and a half and my biggest discovery is this: I really like learning music as an adult.

As an adult, I dictate when and how frequently can I fit a music lesson into my life because my daily schedule accommodates more responsibilities and people’s needs than my routine if I were 10 years old. I want to practice, I am not forced into it because “all the other kids” are doing it.

Initially I tried to do weekly guitar class, but after the 2nd lesson I realized it was not a good idea because I didn’t have enough time during the week to practice what I learned in the first lesson (plus the first lesson up to this fourth lesson has been challenging for my brain and my fingers/hands/arms/posture/ears/eyes), so I cannot let myself get away with attending weekly classes without investing time into practice and just picking up the guitar.

Through bi-weekly lessons, I can manage my time and priorities somewhat better–plus my spouse only has to put up with my fumbling-turtle-playing every other day instead of every day. (I think he is secretly very happy guitar has forced me to control my generally disruptive personality and that I am forcing myself to sit still for long periods of time, on my own, in another room, with the door shut.)

Some trouble I’m having — I am going to music lessons with no idea or huge interest in what songs I want to learn or play. I think I have to make an effort and find out what I like and what I want to play…one song  through. I guess I have no “vision” of what it would look or sound like if I learn and stick to guitar-playing, and that is honestly why I come up empty* when the teacher asks me “any songs you want to learn?”

*The irony of this is…I listen to a lot of music and a variety of music for 5-7 hours a day due to commute and work…but I have no idea who or what genre or what language it is unless I sit down and Wikipedia it all.

Sample of my iPod songs on shuffle (a bit Frankenstein, and not necessarily guitar-related):

  • Manu Chao
  • Big Wreck
  • The Beatles
  • Amy Winehouse
  • Muddy Waters
  • Scissor Sisters
  • Drake
  • Sam Smith
  • Bach
  • Rachmaninoff
  • Dvorak
  • Aerosmith
  • Queens of the Stone Age
  • Daddy Yankee
  • Marc Anthony
  • Florence and the Machine
  • Feist
  • Gotan Project
  • The Chemical Brothers
  • Chris Cornell
  • Soundgarden
  • Stars
  • Massive Attack
  • Duran Duran
  • Arcade Fire
  • Johnny Cash
  • Foo Fighters
  • Michael Jackson
  • a whole bunch of songs for bachata, salsa, cumbia, reggaeton…



Some Summer Fails and Looking at the Bright Side

After unsuccessfully trying out the motorcycle course with my hubby and falling off 3 times, minor sprain in the ankle, and some purply-green bruising along my legs, 3 things I learned about myself:

  1. I have very bad concentration.
  2. I have very bad hand-eye coordination.
  3. I lack confidence in myself.

I also made the wise discovery that if anything were to happen to me in an actual “real world” motorcycle accident, it would cause a lot of disruption in our lives, and quite frankly, it wouldn’t be worth it. A minor ankle sprain made me lose a day at work, forego all errands and groceries, limp around dramatically though I hate drawing that kind of attention to myself, and the immobility of the whole situation was plain misery.

To make up for all this shit I brought on to myself (no blame on my hubby, he really wanted to find a hobby we could do together, but he overestimated my motorcycling ability), I did 2 things successfully:

  1. Despite the ankle, I completed the Zumba Basic 1 certification.
  2. I signed up and started guitar lessons.

After 4 years of Zumba classes, the first item proves that I am better at doing things with my two feet on the ground. And the guitar lessons are my bizarre goal of self-improvement to improve my concentration and hand-eye coordination.

I’ve never picked up a guitar, never had a musical interest in the instrument, and I do not want to impress anybody with a few chords of Nirvana, Oasis, or cliche whathaveyou. I cannot even name anything I know about guitars except I loved the documentary It Might Get Loud. All this makes it a perfect thing to learn because I have no pre-conceived notions about it, and any instructor who teaches me can teach me whatever they want and I will have 100% expectation of myself to learn it well.

Somehow, within 36 hours of super failing at the motorbike I learned more about myself and my physical/mental limitations than I could dream of discovering. People get an ego-boost and a high from riding fast bikes, me on the other hand, I got a totally opposite humbling experience. I hate what I learned about myself, but I also really love that I learned it.