If I’d had good discipline , I might have gone into music .
There was a time when I thought I’d learn guitar .
At some point I went over to McCabe’s Guitar Shop and paid $250 for a pretty good guitar . Two hundred and fifty dollars in those days , remember , was like nine million dollars today . I fooled around with it , learned a few chords from friends . I asked my friend Joe to give me a few lessons . Joe tried to explain how guitar chords were mathematical , he explained harmonies , chords , what notes have to do with it , and blues progressions . I tried to comprehend it all , see the sense of the dynamics of stringed instruments , tried to learn a few more chords , to manage and massage the strings , determine frets , play a few simple songs .
Joe politely told me , after a few frustrating lessons , that maybe I should stick to wind instruments . Joe had brought the hammer down , struck the gavel and pronounced judgement . And , I knew even then and since then , Joe was probably right .
I picked up my flute again and toodled . I bought a used clarinet and learned , a little , how to play without exhaling so much air that I’d pass out , although Benny Goodman I definitely wasn’t . I even bought a used saxophone but quickly sold it to a friend . I put the guitar away for the time being , sat back down at the drawing board , reassessed my stringed thing potential , brooded . It was as if the music God had said , ” Dan , there’s only one thing I don’t want you to do . Don’t try to learn to play guitar ” like it was the forbidden fruit .
So , inevitably , the guitar challenge worked on my mind , needled me , nagged me . There the long-necked thing was , after all , right there in the room , leaning against the wall , taunting me , that great guitar , tempting me to try again .
Probably months later , after the lessons , I bought the Easy Way To Learn Guitar books and got psychologically ready to try again . I eased in to it . Paced myself . I practiced chords . I had problems stringing the chords together . I couldn’t make sense of the guitar , still . I tried . But , week by week , month by month , no breakthrough , no encouraging riffs were ever heard from my apartment .
You just pick up a chord , go twang , and you’ve got music .
I was reading a post called Monday Memories and Music from a fellow blogger who was in a little bit of the same boat as I was in with a guitar , but she with a piano . She was at the book buying stage . Her post prompted this one . Brought back old memories .
Learning music by reading about it is like making love by mail .
Writing about music is like dancing about architecture .
Years later I took another stab at learning the guitar . I thought that I gave it a good shot and , once again , got not very far . Meanwhile I was getting mildly interested in photography . One of my sisters had a nice camera . She seemed to be playing the same game with a camera as I was playing ( pardon the presumptuous expression ! ) with the guitar . So we agreed to a swap , camera for guitar . She was working at the time in Florida . If the camera didn’t work out for me , or the guitar didn’t work out for her , we agreed that we would swap back .
When that time came that I thought , once again , that I should take up the steel stringed thing again for another try , I called her to suggest a re-swap . But , it was not going to happen . The guitar had moved on . A boyfriend had taken it with him to Chicago , she said . And the boyfriend never came back , as it happened . That’s the way thing go sometimes .
I have a borrowed guitar , as I am writing this post . It is leaning against the lawyers’ bookcase in the back bedroom . Near it , on the writing table , are the Learn To Play Guitar books , good ones , and an electronic tuning device . I tried . Believe me , I tried . Once again . The plan was to , finally , learn the instrument well enough this time to encourage me to , once again , go out and buy a good guitar .
But , I may have to admit that Joe was right all those years ago . The only reason that I haven’t returned the guitar to my generous friend is that I hate to give in once again , to give up my guitar playing ambitions , to capitulate again , to drop again ( temporarily ? ) my recurring guitar-playing dream , to again throw in the towel
Most people live and die with their music still unplayed . They never dare to try .
——-Mary Kay Ash
Oh , I’ll try again . There’s no rush , after all , is there ? I’ll rest up a bit for the next bout .
Where words fail music speaks .
—-Hans Christian Andersen
To all you striving musicians , piano players , guitarists , banjo pickers , tuba tooters , accordianists , and yodelers : Keep the dream alive ! Music rocks ! Otherwise , all is lost .
This land is your land , and this land is my land , sure , but the world is run by those that never listen to music anyway.
One more quote that may apply :
He has Van Gogh’s ear for music .