Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Everybody can take lessons

I JUST READ an interesting article in Guitar World's online publication about self-taught players vs. people who take lessons. There is a myth that if you teach yourself, you don't have to take lessons.

I taught myself to play. If I remember right, I started fooling around and copying bass notes. Then I saw chords in a book or magazine and figured them out. But I developed bad habits and it's only recently that I've improved as a player. And there's still so much to learn - I'm horrible at lead guitar, so I'm learning some basic scales and techniques. My strumming is really heavy-handed, so I'm working on better brushing of the strings.

And I'm trying to find time to "goof around" - that means, just play.

It doesn't matter if you are a struggling beginner or an experienced player. You can always get better. And lessons can help.

Don't let the guy behind you goof you up, Liz! (Photo by Mike Sorenson)
Yesterday I gave one last guitar lesson to the talented Liz Bentley of Quincy. Her schedule is crazy and she needs more time for her studies.

She was already a good player when we started lessons more than a year ago. Now she's better, and that's because of her.

Geesh. We had fun! Maybe it was learning some songs, figuring out a goofy new chord, working on a specific strum pattern. Liz, 16, was a challenging student to teach because she's such a good player.

Liz plays all the time. She has gigs every weekend. She sings and plays piano and other instruments. She is a country music fan but she doesn't limit herself to a specific genre.

Liz has decided to take extra classes this semester at Quincy High School, and she will graduate in December. Then she's going to college. Then ... well. She has goals, dreams and plans.

I will miss having guitar lessons with Liz. I hope I helped her just a little bit. And I hope it was worth it for her to take lessons.

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