PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

I’ve had a few inquiries about how my guitar playing is coming along. It’s been slow… oh, so painfully slow! Plus, it hurts sometimes  even to type these posts… (you guitarists – beginners and former beginners-  know what I’m talking about, right?). But I am proud to sport some nice looking finger-tip callouses like they are hard-won battle scars and I try to practice at least an hour or two every day.  There’s still a lot to learn  and I need to practice more on timing and strumming properly so it doesn’t sound like I’m strangling the guitar. Guitar playing sometimes seems like patting the head and rubbing the tummy as one hand does one thing and the other does another. I’ve  learned one strumming pattern Jordanne has me working on:  down, up, down, up, up, down —  and it’s a beat I hear in my head long after my practices have stopped. That and one and two and three and four and… the timing she drums into me.

I do get frustrated, especially when the strumming sounds so sucky and mangled! I like to blame the cheap guitar rather than myself. It’s a laminated/ plasticky guitar that needs to be re-tuned every time. But sis has been a patient teacher and she keeps telling me it’s only for practice. She has said that if I can learn to keep rhythm on a cheap guitar — well, then, that’s certainly something! We have one really nice guitar. It’s a Seagull guitar that was a gift to Jordanne from a “Little Homestead in the City”  journal reader (it’s a beaut and thanks to CK again). When sis got her hands on this nice one, she left the cheap guitar in the dust — well, in my hands. Of course, I can use the nice  instrument and sis keeps telling me to but she adores the thing and I think she’d rather that I fling the cheap one across the room when I am frustrated than fling her nice (expensive) one. I can’t blame her since I like to strum away at my guitar in the animal compound  behind the garage, away from the ear shot of humans – the animals don’t seem to mind my ruckus.

Jordanne has recorded a few of our practices so that I can play it back to see how we did.  It actually doesn’t sound too bad; however, as we are not going to be performing on stage anytime soon,  so it’s  not like I have to be perfect.

I love music of all sorts! But I do regret we kids didn’t get musical training early in life.  (Read my “Homeschool Confession“)  Living in the country, there was little to no access to that kind of tutorship;  but I was able to sing in the church choir both in Florida and here in California — which I loved!

Speaking of music, our lovely rural homesteading friends in Tennessee are launching a new CD – details to be announced just as soon as they give them to me! We’ve worn out their first CD “Farther Along”  and can hardly wait for their new one called “Farmer’s Daughter.”

Comments(7)

  1. chris maheux says:

    Great post! Keep picking away! I picked up the Banjo about a year ago and have made slow progress, but I love every minute of it!

  2. Georgette says:

    Oh I hear you loud and clear. I keep wondering WHEN are those calluses going to appear! Some days my fingers are so bruised and blistered I could cry, but I persevere until I’m strumming and changing chords in my dreams! It’s lovely when suddenly everything comes together and you’re making sweet glorious noises that actually sound like they’re supposed to sound. I strive for those moments.

    I will say, though, that even in my most frustrated moments I have never had the urge to smash my guitar on the floor or throw it across the room. I guess I want to play the guitar more than I want to give in to a moment’s frustration. : )

    Regards.

  3. Bonnie says:

    Hang in there, Anais! I’ve been working on the same song on the piano for about 6 months, and I still can’t get it right. But I’m better than I was when I started.

    Our church has an open mic event once a month for all levels of musicians. VERY friendly crowd, and lots of folks like us — picking up a new instrument in adulthood. Very encouraging, and fun! It’s usually the 2nd Thursday of the month, Newhall Church of the Nazarene, 7pm. Here’s the website: http://www.hope-n-mic.com/. Come on up if you can!

  4. Jim Jacquet says:

    Been playing guitar and singing since the early ’70s. Best thing I ever did. The last few years tho, I’ve become fanatical about the banjo…is there hope for me? lol
    Seriously–keep up the practice, but don’t think of it as ‘practice’. Just think of it as playing.
    Jim

  5. Ginger says:

    Good for you for sticking to it. I love to play music, but my violin has been at the shop for weeks now.

  6. Chris Flesher says:

    I grew up watching and listening to my cousins play guitar and always wanted to, but never found the time… till I was about 21, and, found myself with a great deal of time to learn.. I had played many years (tried) before that, and knew the chords, but the belly, head rub thing had me flustered, to say the least.. so many people discouraged me, so I would go out in the woods of Tennessee, (I live there.. Born and raised in cali tho) and I would sit on a log or stump and play to nature, and, as you said, they did not seem to mind… when i got serious about it, I cared not what people thought… now… I cant get them to stop asking me to play… no mater how much it hurts, I oblige.. it is so good for the soul… i just returned from a family gathering in Ohio, and played till I could no more.. they all said I missed my calling, but I think sitting there playing and singing for them, “Was my calling”… good luck… don’t EVER give up…. Chris

  7. Susan says:

    I understand. I’m 51 and re-learning guitar. I never was that good to start with but I was good enough to play folk tunes, kids songs, holiday carols, and the like. Its killing my fingers, I can’t believe how weak my grip has become so cording is a challenge (in spite of the fact I milk a cow). Its going SO SLOW this time. But I know that in the end it should all be worth it. Music that you make yourself becomes your own. Its not the same as just listening. Its not the same as just singing along… 🙂

    Susan

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