After School Special

I spend a considerable amount of time poking around the web for whatever tid bits about guitars and playing I can find. What I'm beginning to learn is that there is a whole world out there who take guitar a helluva lot more serious than I do. And that's ok. I'm feeling pretty good about playing lately. I've worked pretty hard to get over some "mental blocks" that were keeping me back--telling me that I'm not good enough or not worthy. I had forgotten why I decided to learn guitar in the first place. Simply put, to make music for myself.

Of course, like any good after school special will tell you, once you've decided that you don't need to be as good as the big boys, you can start surprising yourself in just how well you can do. So what if I only know one finger picking pattern? So what if I can't play melody on chords yet? A year ago I was still struggling with basic chords and look at me know. The truth is--nobody cares or notices how bad I play. My fears are just in my head.

I've started taking my "second" guitar out to the picnic table behind the library when I take my afternoon break. It's been sunny but cool here in Northern Hoosierland so it is really nice to sit in the sun and not bake. Today I made a effort to notice my strumming patterns and change out of some ruts on some songs. I took a song I hadn't played in awhile--Great is Thy Faithfulness. Now, the chords I learned way back in January of 2007 never really sounded right--but the book said A2, D, A2, E and repeat, so that's what I played. Well, today I thought, Dagnabit, it just don't sound right. So I played A instead of A2. Wow! A simple change like that and it was wonderful. Then I thought, an A7 might sound nice hear just before moving to D. Wow again! Whaddya know, I might be a musician after all.

See, the after school specials were right. Most things in life can't be judged against the accomplishments of others even though we often live our lives like we should account for ourselves that way. No, the accomplishments of others can inspire, inform, and encourage us. But our true test is how we judge ourselves against that ideal person we hope to be someday. What we forget is that we need to give ourselves a chance to grow into that person and take pride in the small achievements just as must as the larger ones.

Tonight my wife was out for the evening with the ladies of the church. My kids and I were watching a movie. I noticed my guitar case had been sitting on the floor in front of the couch and I leaned over to pick it up. "No Dad!" was the unanimous cry, "Don't play!" I told them that I wasn't going to; that I just wanted to pick it up and put it away before someone tripped over it. Then my daughter said "Good, because as much as we like your playing, we want you to watch the movie with us."

And all my worries of not being good enough simply melted away.


  1. Guitar Musings said...
    Nice post. I recognize the Dad don't play request. Sometimes you don't realize how many times you pick that sucker up instead of playing with your kids.
    K. Jay said...
    Thanks for the comment GM! We had a great evening that night.

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