In the first part of our exploration into the “Learn Guitar Together – Class of 2023,” we delved into the diverse backgrounds and motivations that brought this unique group together. As we journey deeper into their stories, we find that their path to mastering the guitar is not without its fair share of challenges, but the joys they’ve discovered along the way make it all the more rewarding.
Navigating the Challenges and Joys of Guitar Learning
The journey of learning the guitar is not a real one without its fair share of challenges. Tony and Stephen provide insights into some of the most demanding aspects of their learning experiences.
One of the hardest parts is fingerstyle playing. Tony explains that this playing style leaves no room for error, as it exposes every wrong note. In contrast, playing chords can sometimes mask these errors to some extent. Tony’s acknowledgment of the intricacies of fingerstyle playing underscores the technical challenges that many aspiring guitarists face.
George’s Top Tip for learning to play: As Richard, one of the moderators, says: learn songs. That advice has changed my guitar journey.
Stephen, on the other hand, describes his entire guitar learning journey as a challenge. He candidly states, “I’ve found it all hard, to be honest, but rewarding as what seemed impossible eventually becomes possible.” This sentiment captures the essence of learning a musical instrument, where persistence and patience are essential in overcoming hurdles and witnessing personal growth.
In the midst of these challenges, our interviewees also reveal the aspects of their guitar learning journey that bring them immense joy.
In his guitar journey, Dwain has enjoyed learning solos and improvising over backing tracks.
For Tony, it’s the experience of playing live with a friend as a backing rhythm guitarist. He acknowledges that he may not have been a virtuoso, but the thrill of performing and the audience’s positive response created a unique sense of satisfaction and excitement. It’s a testament to the profound joy of making music, even at a beginner’s level.
Playing an instrument can also become a source of emotional support. Sarah describes her guitar as a “safe space” that provides comfort when life becomes difficult or stressful. This profound connection between a guitarist and their instruments goes beyond the act of playing.
The joy can lie in the sense of accomplishment, like it does for Stephen. Whether mastering a challenging chord, nailing a complex riff, or comprehending a piece of music theory, these milestones bring him a profound sense of satisfaction. He also mentions the positive impact of music on his mental health. Boris’s joy in the learning journey is evident in those moments when, after extensive practice, he can finally play a song or a specific part of a song. These moments validate the hours of dedication and hard work put into perfecting a piece of music.
Boris’s Top Tip for learning to play: 1) Record yourself frequently. 2) Don’t rush.
The Songs and Guitarists That Boost Motivation
We are curious to hear what songs have been in our participants’ repertoire and which ones they already mastered.
Tony recalls a memorable practice session with his friend when they tackled “Johnny B. Goode.” His friend guided him through the chord progressions, allowing him to play along with confidence, picking up on the chord changes in the backing track.
“Wish You Were Here” has tested Sarah’s patience and nerves. However, the moment her parents, who hold the song dear, had tears in their eyes and were amazed by how close she came to capturing the “real” sound, it made all the effort worthwhile.
Not everyone thinks they have “mastered” a song at all. Khurram emphasizes the subjective nature of mastery but takes pride in being able to play “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver reasonably well, according to his own opinion. Raffie found solace in the Beatles’ classic “Let It Be.” Overcoming the struggle of nailing the challenging F chords in the song brought her great satisfaction.
When it comes to guitarists admired by the group, Mark Knopfler is mentioned a few times. In addition to Knopfler, Tony draws inspiration from guitar legends like Hank Marvin and Jeff Beck. He also credits his friend Clint for sparking his guitar journey.
Sarah is captivated by Brian May, both for his guitar skills and unique approach to playing. She also admires Jonny Buckland of Coldplay for his memorable guitar parts and David Gilmour’s mesmerizing style.
Sarah’s Top Tip for learning to play: Don’t think it’s too late. You’ve started at exactly the right time in your life. Enjoy the journey!
Some have stories behind their love for certain artists. Raffie has a lasting admiration for Eric Johnson, dating back to the 70s when her brother introduced her to Johnson’s music: ”Had a mild crush on him since the 70s when my late older brother came home with the Seven Worlds album and lent it to me. I have not given it back yet.”
The Goals and Dreams in Music
In less than a year, our group has achieved a whole lot of goals set out for the journey. However, there’s still plenty to do.
For Khurram, writing his own songs seems interesting, but first, he wants to learn some music theory. “I would be happy being able to play a few songs in Open Mic events,” adds Khurram. Boris shares the dream of playing at an Open Mic.
Raffie’s goals are more related to the joy of just playing, no matter the occasion. “I just like playing for pleasure. I just like to be able to play or strum at a campfire.” This seems to be a theme for many and emphasizes the meaning of music as a way to have fun and unwind. “I’d like to jam with a band for sure,” says Stephen as well. Dwain mentions entertaining his friends and family, as well as just playing for himself, as the main goals for his guitar journey.
Dwain’s Top Tip for learning to play: Progress through the modules properly and take your time.
The music is not just about performance or perfection; it’s about the enjoyment, the sense of accomplishment, and the connections made along the way. The “Learn Guitar Together – Class of 2023” has not only showcased the transformative power of learning an instrument but also the incredible impact of doing it together. The journey is a testament to the fact that the beauty of music lies not only in the notes played but also in the shared experiences and the community that music can build.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced guitarist, the “Class of 2023” reminds us that there’s always something new to learn, and there’s joy to be found in every note and every chord. So, let us all be inspired by their stories, and let music bring us together as it has for this exceptional group.
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