(This was in May, so still counts towards that month’s adventure. A couple other posts are coming for May. Though I have to start thinking about June here soon!)
My friend Rebecca, several years ago, gave me an acoustic guitar for my birthday. I love that guitar. I love the sounds that it can make despite my feeble attempts. (A friend recently told me it has a sweet sound to it, so it is not just my imagination.) In among house renovations, I have been teaching myself using a book I ordered online (Instant Guitar! I can’t find it online at the moment). It is actually a great book, but I never progress very far in it, because just when songs start to get complicated, so does my life.
But another reason is that by the time I get to the complicated songs, I start to wonder if I am truly holding my hands in the right position? What fingers do I use to pluck the bottom three strings – and can it vary? And I keeping time correctly? Am I pressing down too hard on the strings? And do I have to contort my fingers so in order to press down close to the frets? What potentially bad habits am I creating while playing these songs?
I determined that I should try and stop any now, before they become ingrained and ruin whatever glowing professional guitar career I may have. So I used a Groupon and took a guitar lesson from a professional classical guitarist, Piotr Pakhomkin, http://georgetownguitar.weebly.com/. Nice guy, and when we started he played just a few lines, and it was incredibly lovely (and somewhat intimidating.). His answers to the above? Hand position – Yes (mostly – just not so tight, and don’t fold your fingers out of the way, keep them handy). Fingers for plucking – just like you have them – thumb for the top (bass) three strings, and others (never the pinky) lined up for the highest notes; they can vary. Yes on the time, but basically not to worry – get a metronome. Etc.
It was a very helpful lesson, and I went through some exercises with him. But as I don’t have a great short-term memory, I hated actually trying to replay what he just showed me in front of him. But I did. After about thirty minutes of great advice and correction, however, what I really wanted to ask him to do was just play for me. Spanish guitar music is incredible. I wondered – could I use a Groupon to ask for a private performance from a guitarist? hmmm.
Anyway, back to my complicated life, with little bouts of practice here and there. But with more confidence, and more inspiration to help my lovely guitar sound out.