Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Do You Play? 11/05

Way back before civilization as we know it began and I was eleven years old, I took guitar lessons. They lasted several years. Once a week in the music/electronics store and practice for 40 minutes after school every day.
I had this clunker starter guitar which by today's standard would probably now cost several hundred dollars to buy a like instrument.
My teachers name was Les Parsons of Parsons Music Store. One started off learning to read music. That was first and foremost. Nothing until then. One learned all the notes, what they looked like, how to find them on the fingerboard, what they sounded like, their names and then one learned all the musical " signs". A rest, a sharp, a flat, a treble clef, a base clef, whatever. THEN after many quizzes, one turned to page one of the music book. One of three books. In that day, you had to learn to play by reading the music. Nowadays I think they use something called notation. I am not sure how that works but it sure looks like cheating to ME.
Of course, before one sits with guitar placed just so, fingernails are examined by the instructor. You can't press on the string and fretboard if your fingertips don't reach the things because your nails are too long. Ah HA! Too long! Out come the wire cutters ( you read right) and your hand is grasped firmly and your nails are cut down to the quick almost. THEN you start.
" Homeward Bound". That was the first selection I still remember on page one of Nick Manelo's lesson book. All on low E string. You were learning of course lesson one..where things are and how they sound on that string. Then you progress thru the other strings till..VOILA! You have done a little song on each. Now it's time to use them all!!! You feel such pride. Reading real music notes and accomplishing something. Chords, simple one come next. The veneralble C chord was first. Then the inevitable. A song with strings and chords. Long before that time you have developed handy callouses on your fingertips which were zinging with pain in the beginning.
When I started book two, my father bought me a concert Gibson F hole guitar. That thing is a classic now. I still have it though it has had to be refurbished to a degree. The fingerboard is very worn where little and then grown fingertips played.
A friend just wrote about his piano lessons and it cued me to write this.
I think music lessons, even the notation thing GRIN is something that all children whose parents can afford it should try to provide for their children. It never goes away and is always there for the opportunity.
Later dudes

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