Sunday, November 11, 2007

Midlife Crisis: Learn to Play the Guitar

One day waiting for my order to be delivered at a Sonic drive-in restaurant I was listening for the umpteenth time to “Hey Joe” as covered by Jimi Hendrix in his debut album, “Are You Experienced”, which launched him as a superstar. For the umpteenth time I said to myself, “How did he do that?” Ever since a brief and unsuccessful encounter with guitar playing in High School, my response to “How did he do that?” has been “One of these days I need to try the guitar again.”

What was different about that day is I had recently become eligible for AARP membership and the midlife crisis that accompanied it. The “One of these days…” response was looking more like a punt. I needed to do something, either try it again or move on. Thankfully, I decided to try it again, and two years later, I am still at it and enjoying what has become an enjoyable and sometimes overly absorbing cure to the midlife crisis. What became immediately clear was that picking up the guitar in middle age has different dynamics than picking it up as a teenager.

As a teen, you have state of the art plumbing, lots of free time, and limited financial resources. Middle age is usually the inverse. Much of the first few months turned out to be a struggle on how to improve rapidly with limited available “hobby” time. The purpose of these postings is to outline what worked and what did not. If you are about to rock, spend five minutes reading a post and learn something that took me days or more to figure out.

Let’s Rock!


Anonymous said...

I found your blog after searching for info on pedal board construction--and I am so glad I did! I learned to read music in jr high and high school band, as well as choir classes at that level; but my real love was the rock music of the 70's with all the amazing guitar work. I never thought I could learn, always thought the equipment was too expensive (a view that resulted from the "boutique" priced guitars that make the news from time to time) and that I would never have time anyway. Then, for our 22nd anniversary, my husband surprised me with a Fender Squier and the G-Dec Jr amp. I was psyched, but had no clue where to take lessons. fast forward a couple of years, and I found guitar classes in the neighborhood where I worked. Signing up, I figured I would have to work my way through Camptown Races and the rest of the snoresville classics we learned in band...and boy, was I in for a surprise! After learning that I already could read music, my teacher asked what kind of music I like, what bands, and looked them up on one of the tab sites. Then he printed out the song for my first practice song...and I was blown away! This has returned to me, the "joy" of my youth--music always added so much, and this fire has been rekindled...and I also turned 50 just 3 months ago. I hope it keeps my brain cells from deteriorating!!

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