The Zen of Guitar

It was a long time ago when I picked up the guitar for the first time, but I still remember it pretty well.  My big brother Eric showed me how to play a little instrumental from a

Rocking out on the guitar!

YES song…there’s a little harmonics part in “Long Distance Runaround” and another little section “Roundabout” that I just played over and over.  Admittedly, these are weird little guitar tidbits for a ten year old to know, but it got me started on the journey, and that’s all it takes.  You’d be surprised how many people get hooked playing the guitar just by playing their favorite riff – how many times have you heard a someone play the lick from “Smoke on the Water”? 

We happened to have an extra guitar at the house that Eric had left behind – he’s ten years older, so he was off to college by the time I started to take the guitar more seriously.  He also left behind some of his guitar books, so I started to page through them – my favorites were the Elton John and Neil Young song books.  They have little diagrams above the words that show the chord formations and where your fingers should go, and that is really how I learned how to play the guitar. I can still see my twelve year old self sitting on the bed struggling to play “Levon” and “Comes A Time”.
I never realized that those early experiences were going to shape my professional life and my personal passion.  It’s why I always encourage parents to expose their kids to as many different musical instruments as you can.  I highly recommend guitar lessons for anyone, young or old.  Playing the guitar is something I do for fun, relaxation and to continue my learning process by challenging myself.  I’m inspired by a couple of gentlemen with whom I’m playing now – they’re in their mid to late seventies, and they’re still practicing, still learning. 
As the holiday approaches, think about offering a loved one, or maybe even yourself, guitar lessons…giving the gift of music is something that can feed the mind, body and spirit.

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