Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Zen of Playing the Guitar

The Zen of Playing the Guitar
Learning, playing and teaching guitar provides not only me a great deal of pleasure, but they are also a source of pleasure for anyone who participates, be it as a performer or an audience.
The joy of learning to play such a beautiful instrument is infectious. When a student expresses joy at their growing ability to play I find myself sharing in their happiness and sense of achievement. As a lot of our leisure time is spent in the pursuit of happiness it is a bonus to be involved in something that actually achieves some.
I remember being captivated by watching a friend of my father play guitar when I was twelve, and I think that my rapt attention and requests for more songs pleased him as much as his music pleased me. Whether this prompted him to give me an old guitar that he had laying around I will never know, but his generosity started me on a musical journey that continues to this day.
I would wait impatiently for school to finish so as I could rush home and attempt to coax out of that guitar the wonderful sounds that I knew it was capable of. This guitar had a warped neck and an action so high that to play it made my fingers bleed until constant use provided them with the protection of calluses.
As I met other people who shared my interest, my social network expanded, and as is the result of forming a community everyone benefited. Sometimes, after learning a new piece from someone, a friend would say “hey that’s cool, can you show me how that goes?”  Not only did I appreciate their appreciation the act of teaching improved my own playing.
I found learning the guitar difficult, but with the resources available thanks to the Internet this is no longer true. Certain individuals can pick up any instrument and immediately claim a mastery of it. These people go on to be guitar Gods. For everyone else, me included, it is really matter of technique, similar really to typing or even texting and can be learned methodically. Bleeding fingers and lack of resources need no longer keep anyone from sharing this pleasure that I have become evangelical about, hence this site.
This page links to resources that will help you experience this joy yourself. No money is needed, only your time and attention but in my humble opinion and experience the rewards far outweigh the costs.

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