PERSPECTIVES: One Note At A Time

Lotus Blue Stratocaster Copy

–Music is uncharted waters for me. Luckily I was able to find a very nice old guitar for an absurdly low price.


epiphany: [ih-pifuh-nee] n.a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.


So, I decided at about the time I turned 50 that I should learn music. To be fair, I’ve done pretty well working with other creative arts, and music is one that eluded me for many years, despite a couple of half-hearted attempts in my 20s to learn the guitar.

But now, with the kids almost out of the house, and a little more disposable income and theoretically more time on my hands, I thought I’d give it another go. I’ll be honest, it’s a challenge; one made even more difficult by my short attention span issues (now trying to learn guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards simultaneously), and several unexpected flaws in my empty nest/extra cash/free time theory.

But I am, slowly, beginning to understand it.

That’s important for me. I think that it’s possible to find a lesson or a text or a tutor that will enable me to play Stairway to Heaven. But I want to actually understand music, in the same way I understand painting or drawing. That is, I want to be able to pick up a guitar like I do a pencil, and create, with some degree of technical proficiency, what it is I imagine in my head.

I grant you, my skill with a pencil or a paintbrush is the result of a lifetime of practice, combined with some years of formal instruction in the principals, methods, and tools. And I realize that at 50ish, I may not live long enough to accomplish even a modicum of that ability with a musical instrument.

But that’s not the point.

Every little advancement is a victory. I’m exploring the wild uncharted territory here. Every step that something doesn’t kill and eat me is glorious.

Which brings me to the epiphanous part.

Every step we take is an achievement. The danger lies in telling ourselves that we are not ready or able to take that step. The greater danger is telling ourselves the journey is not worth it without knowing when or if we’ll make it to the end. If we never begin, we never do get there. If we begin but stop, we won’t get there either. So the trick is to start and keep going; one foot in front of the other, one note at a time.

So here I am back online to take another step. I am doing something today. It’s nothing major. It’s nothing complicated. It’s just one note.

And then I’ll do something next week. And then something the week after that. And eventually, I’ll figure out how to play Stairway to Heaven, and whatever else I want.

Or maybe I won’t.

But I’m going to give it my damnedest, and you can bet I’m going to have fun trying to get there.

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