A Little Something New? - Part 1

My past musical experiences have been minimal.

At a very young age, my parents signed my sister up for piano lessons, and I took a few guitar lessons. I was not old enough to wrap my fingers around the fretboard, and only had two or three lessons. When that did not work out, my parents put me in piano lessons with my sister. I was in piano lessons for a few years. I was never "very good" at it, and because I was not real good at it, and it was not my "first choice", my interest was not there. I practiced because I "had too" and the music I played was not music that interested me. The song I remember playing the most was "The Entertainer"... Need I say more?

I did finally quit piano lessons. A few years after piano lessons I had a short lived "run in" with the saxophone. My "failure" with the saxophone was less to do with me, and more to do with the incompetent music teacher at my elementary school.

It was sixth grade. I signed up for band, and requested to play the saxophone. There were two of us "just starting" to play. I had the rented "alto sax" and the other guy had an old family "baritone sax". The teacher was glad two see the variety and started lessons.

This went on for about half the school year. The time came for the spring concert, and so for the first time, all the band sat together for practice. (Remember, this was elementary school "lessons" and less of a band. The teacher taught the same songs to everyone (regardless of the instrument) and then the highlight of the year was to put each of these kids in "Lessons" together and call it a "band".) Anyway, so for the first time we all gathered in the gym to "practice" we played a few songs. The teacher was obviously listening for something "wrong" but had us each keep playing. About half way through the practice, she had the other saxophone player and myself play our parts together without the rest of the band. She narrowed down the problem to the saxophones... (sigh..) It was not long before she approached us and asked us why we were not playing the right notes... She took our music lesson books and that is when she realized that she gave the alto books and materials to the baritone player, and the baritone books and materials to the alto player.

The solution to the problem was simple... She told both the baritone and alto sax players (that would be me folks..) to just "pretend" to play during the concert, and we would start from scratch after the concert. I did the "pretending" part, but never went back to start all over. So ended my relationship with the saxophone.

Two years later (eight grade) I started back into the guitar. This was fueled by my original interest in the guitar at a younger age, but even more so, by the "popular kid" at school. He had played some AC/DC songs on his electric guitar on a lunch table during a party or talent show or some such thing at the end of our seventh grade. He looked like he was having such a great time, and I could (for the first time in my life) FEEL the music. I think this was the day that (at least LISTENING to) music became a driving force in my life. When we got back to school in the fall, I signed up for guitar lessons. I enjoyed the guitar, and finished out the year of guitar lessons without anything eventful. My favorite song to play from that time-frame was "Suicide is Painless" the theme song to M*A*S*H*. Because we rented the guitar, I had to return it at the end of the year, and I never returned to it. I think perhaps the transition between 8th grade (junior high) and 9th grade (High school) made me a bit anxious, and helped end my guitar playing days.


Fast forward about 20 years, and my oldest son (about 16 at the time) gets an old electric guitar (6 string) and an amplifier from his uncles for a birthday gift. I picked it up and was able to remember about 3 chords. I played those three cords, practicing over and over until I started getting blisters on my fingers. I then went and downloaded some "online" guitar lessons, and started teaching myself Tablature. I was adding more chords, and picked up on the TAB for "Blister in the Sun" by the Violent Femmes, and a couple of different tunes by (probably my favorite band of all time) The Cure. I sat and strumed on the guitar while talking to my wife, and watching TV.

When he finally moved out, he took the guitar with him, again ending my relationship with the guitar.

It has now been two years since he left, and I have been missing playing it.

What is a 37 year old man (with very little formal musical training) to do when he wants to express himself musically (and by more than just listening)??

Stay tuned...

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