Archive for June 2012

To Play Or Not To Play   4 comments

I am not musically inclined. There isn’t a spec of my body that holds a talent to sing, dance, play or even read music. When my ten year old daughter expressed interest in learning to play the guitar, I immediately signed her up for lessons in hopes that she would beat a case of bad genetics in the rhythm department.

After a few short months, the winter frost faded, and as the warmer weather presented itself, her interest to spend after school hours inside taking lessons quickly switched to riding bikes, and playing outside. Realizing I cannot force anyone into learning music, I let her off the hook.

Rather than canceling the long haired guitar playing hippie that comes to my house every Thursday, I thought I would try taking the lessons. Thinking the fine motor skill practice would be good for battling the effects of Parkinsons, I chose to take over. Well you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and after a few weeks, the hunch I’ve always had concerning the fact that I have no natural abilities were only confirmed. I imagine some practice would help, but I suck, and it hurts my fingers. The hippie was extremely encouraging, so I pressed on.

This week. Guitar lessons. Once again, another hour of humiliation while I sit there confused. I’d prefer to pay the guy $25 to just play for me while I drink a beer and holler at the kids. I could listen to someone play acoustic all day long, and it makes me happy. Im pretty sure I’ve even suggested that to the hippie on more than one occasion, but he took it as a joke.

I dreaded this week, as I failed, once again, to do my homework. I couldn’t remember the C chord much less play it without muting it. I certainly didn’t learn to switch from the C to the D as he had suggested, and I still look at a sheet of music as if it was written in Chinese.

The hippie arrived his usual 5 minutes late, and I utilized that time to quickly review the C, just so I don’t look retarded this week. After all, any idiot is aware that just an hour of lessons once a week isn’t enough, and practice is mandatory.

He showed up armed with a song for me to learn. It wasn’t written in Chinese, it was written in English. The chords were written next to the lyrics as G, or C, and I understood it. It was a song I knew. A song I had literally watched evolve from its infancy long ago when it was freshly written all the way to the studio recording. In fact, I had reported every week on the chart numbers and for months watched it climb the charts to its peak at #20 as I cheered on the new artist.

I was initially intimidated, as my lack of skills would only be highlighted once again by my failure to practice. But something came out that I never even thought was in me, and I actually played for the first time, something that resembled music. A person with no rhythm just strummed a rhythm. Without even thinking about, it was just happening. I’m not saying that I sounded good, but I was doing it. I was hearing chords, and it was as if they appeared like magic.

Now, to anybody who has ever attempted to play, you are getting me right now. You may even shed a tear of joy. To all the others, I suggest picking up a guitar and giving it a whirl.

For each of you that are wondering, the song was a recent top 20 country hit titled “Let’s Don’t Call It A Night” by Casey James.


Posted June 22, 2012 by Casey James Weekly in Uncategorized