I started my classes day before yesterday. The teacher seems really good, a nice, soft-spoken and very professional young man, with fingers that can coax the most amazing sounds from that instrument. I've been given a set of exercises for this week and I'm trying to do them as diligently as possible. Yesterday I managed about 30 minutes, and today I'm trying to push myself for more ( and therefore it would help if I wasn't pausing to blog, but my fingers hurt so I'm taking a break. Yes, the fingers are capable of typing, not playing right now, go away, will you?)
I was unable to play properly yesterday, everything was getting messed up because I'm so rusty. But miraculously today, I'm able to do the exercises much better - it's just a question of getting the little pink soft tips of these lazy fingers all hard and calloused again. The way it was about, what - 15 years ago?
I don't know. Am I an age-ist? I can't see myself taking guitar lessons in my forties. So I figured I might as well take them in my thirties and attempt to start playing again, and surpass the levels I had attained as a college kid - who used to walk around in baggy pants and an attitude at all the Delhi University fests. In college, I won quite a few prizes at the competitions -but for a combination of singing and playing always - I was never a great guitarist - just played about enough to belt out a decent song. But then of course, the guitar has been hovering in the background for me. I just didn't want it to be that way.
I don't think I'll ever be a great guitarist either - but I do want to be a good one. I just want to be able to pick it up and tinker with it and figure out a new song and sing - without my fingers aching. Without the frustration that comes from not being able to figure out a complex chord, and just giving up.
When I was 15, my parents bought me this small guitar which they had picked up from a Flea Market abroad. It was tinny, and it didn't sound very nice. But it was the first. And it was incredibly frustrating to try and play - the sounds just didn't come out right. And then one day, they did. And it was the most amazing feeling when things sounded like they were supposed to. I was delighted. So over the next few years, I played and got better - until I started work, got married and other things in life took over.
This last guitar that I've got , which I fondly call Bluey. Yes, it's a distinct shade of Blue - I bought it in Bombay a few years back. It's a really nice guitar- a Granada. And the really surprising thing is - I haven't changed the strings on this one, except for one that broke. This guitar is a resilient one - it still produces great sound, despite this lack of string-changing and the overall lack of attention.
Anyway - I just hope I'm able to keep it up. I'm self-taught and therefore my technique is non-existent. It's sort of starting over - hence the lessons from an expert. I did take lessons a few months ago too, but it was to no avail, considering that I never got around to putting in the practice time.
It's really a bit of a no-brainer - but like many things, it's easy to say and not so easy to do - with anything worthwhile ( learning the guitar? writing a book? juggling? seriously, I taught myself to juggle three balls as a bored 7 year old, from a Reader's Digest article on juggling. Could join a circus.) , there's a lot of frustration in the beginning. The trick is to start ...and then not stop. I've started. Now let me see if I can keep it up.
E, A, D, G, B, E...C major scale...Tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone...