I deserve a gold star


This past Thursday, Danny and I spent an entire hour working on the Simon & Garfunkel piece. Not because I didn’t practice. Not because it was difficult. But because he was delighted to see my progress and gave me page 3 and 4 for homework. Which means I’ve completed two-thirds of this fingerpicking song!

It felt really good–I mean, really, freakin’ good to have Danny proud of me. “Now, didn’t I tell you-you’d be great at fingerpicking if you just practiced?” he said in his twangy South Carolina accent.

Typically Danny’s lessons are complex due to his “pop quizzes” and ability to fly through an extensive amount of material but last week it was 100% fingerpicking. But even he said it was worth it.

Although, my performance was nearly a 180, there were a few errors Danny teased me about (that’s the kind of relationship we have). When reading music, I tend to skip measures when I get bored/zone out. And secondly, I often neglect my pinky. The latter is most difficult because I’d already learned how to play tricky finger patterns (my way) and now I have to relearn them by using my pinky. Oh well, it’s nothing a metronome and repetition can’t fix, right?


Shame. Shame. Shame.


Last week was embarrassing. I am ashamed of myself for walking into Danny’s studio full of false confidence. I knew good and well my fingers lacked the muscle memory needed to play Simon & Garfunkle, a 7 page arrangement I promised I’d learn.

I could blame it on my internship with the Symphony Orchestra. I could also blame it on my current romantic interest–the most social (or “busy body”) man I’ve dated in a long while. I could even blame it on the numerous U.S. states I’ve visited this summer. But no matter what my excuse is, it will never erase the shame I felt in Danny’s studio.

Well, that was then, and today is a positive now. I’m sitting at my MacBook after a long weekend in Georgia, thankful that I took my guitar along because I made major improvements in my fingerpicking. I may have already said this, but I did not expect this summer to be me fighting distractions–that’s exactly what it’s come down to.

I see Danny on Thursday and I am determined to blow him away. Seeing the disappointment in my guitar teacher’s eyes feels no different than disappointing my own father.


Chivalry isn’t dead after all

Now, before you judge me, let me just say I love various styles of music: Punk Rock, Classic Rock, 90s Rock and R&B, Country, Blues, Motown, Jazz… and so forth.  And well, recently I’ve been working on a Taylor Swift cover–OK, now you can judge me.  But hear me out!

Don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not getting into Taylor Swift politics.  It’s just, my guitar teacher, Danny, is really hung up on me covering her song titled, Begin Again.  “Let’s play this Taylor Swift song, if you don’t mind,” Danny suggested. “I think you’d relate to it and the vocals are in your key.”

My lessons hardly ever consist of song collaborations, not to mention cover songs.  But Begin Again came up in a side conversation about my dating life which is fairly similar to Swift’s lyrics– I’ve gone on a few dates with a new guy and was enchanted by his chivalry, which I thought was long gone in my generation (thankfully it’s not).

I practiced the song a few times this past week and Danny was right… With the capo on the 3rd fret, the key suits my voice extremely well.  We worked on it again today and he showed me how to “walk down” the bass during the chorus.  I can only assume he wants me to nail it when I see him next week because we’re returning to fingerpicking Simon and Garfunkel’s The Boxer.  

Can we say, polar opposite?