Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I want to learn how to play guitar this summer.

I wanted to lean since I was sixteen and bought a guitar.
But I still haven't mastered it.

Wait who am I kidding?  I still haven't  really begun to play.   (okay full disclaimer- I know a few chords and can accompany Kum-ba-ya and other campfire songs)- but I want to be at the place where I can pick up a guitar and dazzle  (not offend) the listener. Even just for a couple of measures.

The music teacher from school has been trying to teach me. I actually practice- something I refused to do when Eddie Simon, Paul Simon's brother tried to teach me a half century ago.
I'm getting it- slowly.

Here is what I know.  I have a decent ear- I can hear when a note is wrong. I just have a hard time making it right. I have absolutely no rhythm.  I can count to four-I just can't make the spaces between the numbers even.  And these old fingers don't always go where I will them to.

And the point?

I can declare loudly that I'm going to be a musician.  My teacher can reassure me over and over that we are a community of guitar learners. But this is hard for me.  Damn hard.

Yet I've eaten everyday for that last half century.  Without one musical bone in either my parent's, my husband's  or my body we've earned our living.  We've worked year in and year out for decent wages.

When I show the guitar teacher the piece at the end of the book, and make a vain stab at trying to figure it out- she 's says, "Not yet, you'll get there but you're not ready for that level just now," and turns back to the pages I can struggle through.

No one accuses her of not having high expectations.  No one says those early pieces are not rigorous.
Okay- so it's just me and her in the living room but if I'm willing to be her student I'm willing to trust her teaching decisions.

I'm lucky- I had the right match to the skills someone said were the one's I needed for college. Mastering guitar had nothing to do with my academic success. Mastering guitar had nothing to do with my earning success.

Mastering algebra did. Not that algebra is  more use to me today than guitar playing is.  I haven't ever had the desire to walk into someone's home, picked up an equation and dazzled the audience with my solution.

I was born in an age, in a society a culture where mathematical skills not musical ones were a ticket for success. That's why I'm lucky.

Not everyone is.  I'll end here.  The tips of my figures are kinda sore.