Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Little Light Fare

On the right side of the blog, a few inches down, you'll see the LibraryThing link which runs a sample of the relatively few books I've entered.  These are mostly books I've just read, or favorite books, or those just chosen as samples from my library.  One of the things that will show up at random page reloads is Gibson's Learn and Master Guitar, a training course I'm currently working my way through.  L&M Guitar is taught by Steve Krenz (bio), a really gifted instructor who is both formally trained and an experienced, professional musician. The class teaches you to read music, music theory, and its construction – along with the actual manipulation of the guitar.  I don't know if you know much about playing guitar, but many folks who pick up guitar never learn the music theory side or how to read standard musical notation.  Since written music, like any language, is there to convey information, folks who don't read music have a separate, written form called tabulature – or tab – to convey the information of what to play.  There is coverage of tabs in L&M as well, but it's not emphasized. 

Like most of us, 99.99% of the music I grew up with was guitar-based bands. I first learned to play at about 13, when a friend of a friend introduced me. By 14 or 15, I was playing in typical “garage bands” like millions of other geeks in my age group. I did not, however, really learn music like L&M teaches.  I won't get into lots of details, but I probably played with/at guitar from age 13 to 35 years old.  The story resumes around last fall.  Someone somewhere talked about what will we do after TSHTF or TEOTWAWKI, and talked about being able to entertain yourself and your family, perhaps by playing an instrument.  For some reason, that got the gears going, and by Christmas, Santa had arranged for a nice acoustic guitar and the L&M class. 

I laugh at myself for thinking “I don't really need this.  I know how to play guitar”, when it has been longer since I played than all the time that I played.  In some ways, I'm probably ahead of where the classes assume you'll be because of the years I played with a guitar, but not much. 

Steve is an excellent teacher, and if you're interested enough to be looking at some way of learning to play, I recommend the L&M Guitar class.  Steve is good at pointing out the things that are physical and just take time for muscles to adapt and muscle memory to work, vs. the things that need to be worked at, or even just memorized (key signatures, chord fingerings).  If you break down the task into simple, small steps, it becomes more achievable.  An actual teacher who can look at you and see what you're doing wrong might be an improvement in a few situations, but I really don't think it's that big a deal. 

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