• Michael

So... I'm learning guitar. Oof.

It's wonderful/agonizing to be a brand new student of music again.

I've played classical piano for most of my life (20+ years now), as well as percussion, music production, blah blah blah. I know music. But learning to apply my knowledge in a new way --- namely, on a guitar rather than a piano keyboard -- is proving to be quite an illuminating experience.

In no particular order, here are some thoughts from a noobie on playing the guitar:

  1. Ouch.

  2. Buzzing sounds, constantly.

  3. How do I make my fingers do that lol.

  4. WOW that's pretty!

  5. This is easier than piano

  6. This is harder than piano

  7. This is addicting

  8. Where's my pick?

  9. I sound like trash

  10. I sound like a real guitar player!

As you can tell, it's a complicated relationship <3

But aside from fulfilling a personal goal, I decided to take up a brand new instrument (as the owner and director of a music school) for reasons that have to do with my teaching, as well.

THIS is the real benefit. I've suddenly been thrust into the world of confusion, frustration, anticipation, and eagerness that every one of my student feels when they come for their weekly piano lesson. When a person has played an instrument for 20+ years, it can sometimes be difficult to remember just how difficult the first stages of learning are.

learning to play the guitar is proving to be an invaluable experience for me as a teacher. Here's another list for ya:

  1. Don't talk so fast, they need time to absorb each direction.

  2. If they have reached the point of total brain-frazzleness, literally pick up their hands and show them.

  3. Set high standards.

  4. Review and review again, even if they believe they're already sure.

  5. Set small goals (like playing at the Music Lab performance workshops we do every few months!)

  6. Know when to speak, and when to wait while a student experiments.

  7. Remember that students are bringing with them all their baggage, stress, joy, and general life-happenings with them into the studio each week, and to allow for that.

I'm so grateful to have a job where learning a new instrument is ALSO a very potent form of professional development.

This is the kind of learning we strive for at Tacoma Music Lab. Hands on, practical, patient, committed, for EVERYONE -- even the teachers.

Stay healthy in this smog!


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