In my younger days I always thought that what I really wanted with advancing years was wisdom – to be something like a village elder or tribal sage. I thought achieving that would be laudable. But in an increasingly cynical world it can be hard to achieve that without sounding “wet” or laissez-faire.
Recently a 14 year old nephew of mine wanted to learn to play guitar. His parents would probably agree that they are more Formula 1 than Free Expression and so he would turn to me ( a player of passion for some years) for advice on guitar purchase, tunes to learn, amplification etc.
Recently we exchanged emails on which tunes we were learning and the challenges ahead. I was always encouraging him to try but to practice slowly and it would come – to go through the pain barrier, if you like. I let slip that a new tune I was trying to master was possibly too much of a challenge for me. I was putting myself through this to add new techniques to my repertoire and I was beginning to think I’d bitten off more than I could chew. The arrangement (a funked up “Superstition”) called for taps, slap, groove and melody and improv and with only 10 fingers to deliver the result it was proving tough and at times very frustrating.
His response was disarmingly simple “Ah, but think of the reward.” Damn, he was right, of course. Think of the reward. At a time when I was considering working around some of the techniques and coming up with simpler solutions he was encouraging me to forge on and GET IT. And in the end I did. His simple boost came just at the right time.
Cool kid. I can only imagine that with that attitude he is going to be one helluva player.
“Sometimes you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.”