Still Learning

I had my penultimate lesson last evening. I've been able to stretch last year's Father's Day gift of lesson over the course of a full year. It was only supposed to be three months, but my wife's job loss and then my broken leg made it difficult to continue taking lessons. So, last night was my eleventh lesson with one more to go.

I have mixed feelings about my lessons. My teacher is a great guy and I have certainly learned quite a deal from him. I've learned techniques to change chords, finger picking patterns, strumming patterns, and picking patterns. We both knew that I would only have 12 lessons so we tried to cram in as much technique as we could. That said, I have to wonder at times if we were the best match. I went in to the lessons not knowing what style I wanted to pursue. He is a fantastic bluegrass musician. The best I could come up with was to tell him I was interested in a folky kind of style. I had in mind Simon and Garfunkel or Eva Cassidy. Well, he naturally pushed a more old time style like the Carter family. So it seemed at times I would be working at a style I wasn't enamored with.

On the other hand, when he learned I was playing in our church praise team he turned on a dime and started teaching me a more contemporary style. I learned that the old time stuff certainly prepared me for this than I had realized. I am more aware of where the strings are, for instance, when strumming and can emphasize trebles, mid or bass if I feel the need. He taught me a two measure strum that, once I got the rhythm of, I found quite pleasing. I'll do my best to share it here:


It still isn't easy for me to use it in a song. I am always unsure if a rhythm "fits," but he gave me a number of songs where it does work. Apparently it is a quite common pattern. I hope to pick up on it, and variations, when listening to others play.


  1. Alkelda the Gleeful said...
    My younger brother is a whiz on the guitar who started playing in his teens. (He's 31 now.) He told me that it took him 2 years before he started to feel as if he was just getting over the beginning stage. That's the way I feel too. In October, I'll have been playing for 3 years. I feel like an "advanced beginner!"
    K. Jay said...
    Thanks Alkelda. I needed a boost right about now. It's easy to be discouraged about my present skills, but when I look back on how far I've

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