Sunday, 11 March 2007

He's the guitar man

Do you play a musical instrument? Ever since I was a kid, I have wanted to be able to play the guitar. Or at least I've liked the idea of being able to play some kind of instrument, and I guess the guitar would have been my instrument of choice.

It's not as though I have a burning desire to play Eddie Van Halen or Jimi Hendrix guitar solos or anything (although...), it's just that it would be nice to be able to pick up a guitar now and again and play the odd tune or even just a bar or two of Kum By Yah.

So yesterday I had a guitar lesson. My first ever guitar lesson! It was a free taster session and was a group lesson, so it wasn't just me on my own. There were five others: Dana (age 8), Mark (age 9), Billy (12), Clare (10) and Gerrard (11). And me (age 36). At first I felt like the kid who had been kept back a year at school (or rather 25 years!), but the guitar teacher, Vernon, was used to teaching classes with such different ages and so he soon made me feel at home (also, the fact that Dana's dad and Mark's mum sat in on the class probably helped).

Vernon asked each of us why we wanted to learn to play the guitar. Neither Mark, Billy, Clare nor Gerrard seemed to know why they wanted to learn. They responded with a shrug. Dana managed to avoid being asked this awkward question altogether by turning up late. When it came to me, I thought I'd try to help Vern out and said "Well, I want to be a rock star!", hoping to raise a laugh or at least a smile from my fellow students. Nothing. Instead they all looked blankly at me, no doubt thinking how sad that this grown man still believed he could actually one day be a rock star. Even Mark's mum tutted and slowly shook her head.

But I wasn't to be put off. Vernon showed us the kind of songs we would learn to play on the course, and within no time we were able to shout out "head... neck... body" as Vernon pointed to the different parts of the guitar. This exercise seemed to be beneath Gerrard, who was sat next to me. Gerrard could obviously play a little and even informed us he could play both left-handed and right-handed. And when you're 11 years old I guess you don't really have the patience to sit through "head... neck... body". I doubt he'll be signing up for the course.

By the end of the 45 minutes, we were strumming along to The Beatles' Get Back, and even Mark's mum had picked up a guitar and was joining in (who's the sad wannabe rock star now, eh?).

Whether or not Gerrard signs up, or even Mark and his mum, I think I'm going to sign up for the course. They say that it's good to learn a new skill later in life, so maybe it's something I need to do. Before you know it, I'll be jammin' along with Eddie and Jimi... "One, two, three... Kum By Yah, my lord, Kum By Yah...".

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