For a short stint in high school, I took a guitar class. I never got that good at it, and I’m naturally pretty lazy, so I eventually gave up. But recently, a friend who was moving gave me his old guitar. So I restrung it and now I’m learning how to play again.
Now that there are about a million YouTube views on the subject, it’s a pretty good time to take up playing an instrument. What I could previously only learn from little diagrams I can now see performed by someone right in front of me. This makes learning super easy and fun.
However, there’s also the old school route (which is a little more disciplined, and therefore maybe better for some people): look around for lessons. Most cafes and music shops have postings from someone teaching guitar, and now there’s handy sites like Craigslist, too. Most lessons are pretty cheap–$20 or so an hour. Not bad!
Also, I’ve taken up playing with the wife—I know, awww—and she is learning from scratch, which makes be both a teacher and a student. That’s a great feeling. We might even do a musical Christmas card. I know, awww.
The other cool effect of this is that my brain really likes learning guitar. This is something I read about a few months ago, in this CNN story about learning new things (including the guitar, thank you very much) and carving new neural pathways. That’s one of the reasons why learning makes us happy—when it’s successful—because it actually produces serotonin, which the brain needs to secure the new neural pathway’s, well, path. Pretty cool, right?
So far, I’ve mastered a few songs from my youth, including some Green Day and Silverchair, and some older Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin. I’m taking requests. Anyone? Seriously. I want to get so good I can play in front of friends and neighbours at parties, without them wanting to take my guitar and smash it, Bluto style. If you don’t know what I mean by that, you should watch the video. And send me your requests. Seriously!