Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Lessons and country music

WE'VE BEEN FORTUNATE that there's been no drop off in our guitar lessons at Second String Music. In fact I've picked up some new students and it never ceases to amaze me what music they like and why they want to play guitar.

One of my new students is a 13 year old boy. He has longer hair and his mom bought him a cheap guitar to get started on. He's done some plunking around on it already but we spent most of the first lesson on technique and how to make noises when pressing fingers into the strings and frets.

I asked the young man what kind of music he likes and he said, "I listen to a lot of old country." Now, coming from a 13 year old that could mean a lot of things, but it turns out he loves Willie, Waylon and the more traditional country music.

I've said this many times before, but when I started giving lessons full time eight years ago I had strong opinions about music genres and I wouldn't be caught dead telling somebody I liked country music. Teaching has opened my mind to a lot of different musical forms, and you can't deny there is killer guitar playing in country, blues, rock, jazz and reggae.

And just what defines a genre, anyway? The best players are the ones who can make a guitar sing on a country song and then turn it around to blister away on a rock track. Have you ever heard of Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits?

I hope the young man really tries to learn the guitar and succeeds on his new musical adventure. And if it takes Merle and Hank Sr. and Patsy Kline to get there, well, I'm ready for the ride and ready to learn new things, too!

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