In a few days time, I will be 43. For almost as long as I can remember I have owned a guitar and the knowledge of a clutch of chords and that’s all! So many wasted years…
I have finally taken up guitar lessons and I’m almost in tears of joy at how easy it is to make progress with just a little help and some targets to aim for. OK, I won’t ever be Ralph McTell or Eric Clapton, but if I stay disciplined and practice hard, I might pass as a guitar player.
I remember being signed up for piano lessons at the age of 9 or 10 and instantly hating it. My music teacher was an old dried-up prune of a lady whose childhood (if she had ever had any) had long since withered away inside her. Quavers, crotchets and minims. Practice, practice, practice, but never, ever a hint of fun. Needless to say I begged to be able to give up. Oh how I wished she had shown me a few quick tricks on the ivories. A few notes in a minor chord to spear into the heart of my soul and draw me down into the world of sweet, sweet music.
My son was similarly deterred from playing the trumpet. “Practice, practice, pratice!” droned his teacher, and never showed their spirits how to take to the wing. Of course practice is vital, but the seed of delight needs to be planted and nurtured first, especially with the youngsters.
Now I have 25 years (at least) of practice to catch up on and I’m going to love every minute of it.