I am publicly announcing my commitment to practice guitar every day from now until [infinity].
I got my first guitar when I was 9. I’d learned a few chords on my dad’s guitar and I wanted my own. In all my life, I don’t think I have ever wanted anything as much as I wanted that guitar. I knew I was going to get it for my birthday, which probably made me even more excited to get it than if it had been a surprise. I remember running all around the house, screaming I GOT MY GUITAR I GOT MY GUITAR I GOT MY GUITAR at the top of my lungs.
I spent hours with an instructional video, learning the first few simple chords. I took lessons for a few years, eventually quitting the piano in order to focus solely on the guitar (a decision which I now regret, but I’m not beating myself up about it). Sometimes I practiced seriously. Mostly I just played because I loved it. My ear and my intuitive sense of rhythm got very well trained. My musicianship, as far as learning good technique and advancing in skill, did not. I didn’t really “get it” about the importance of practicing, and as an obsessive perfectionist of a kid, I did not have the patience for sitting around and “messing up” over and over again.
But everyone who knew me knew I was a musician. Other kids teased me about it, and I got mad because I was a hot-headed little kid, but it didn’t really bother me that much because I was so passionately committed to what I was doing. I spent hours every day in my room, singing and playing the guitar, knowing that someday I would be AMAZING and everyone who made fun of me would wish they’d been a lot nicer to me back before I got famous.
And then my teenage years hit. I didn’t have the good practice habits that I would have needed to continue improving, and I didn’t have access to practice space or lessons for a few years when I needed to live away from my parents. I’ve spent a long time being upset about this, and you know what? I’m done with that! I’m releasing it, I’m letting it go, and I’m picking up the guitar again.
Not playing the guitar all the time actually led to something really great: it made me reliant on singing as my musical outlet. Singing is something I can do anytime, anywhere, and it comes a lot more naturally to me than playing an instrument that lives outside of my body. And when I spent several years living with a disability in my arms that made it impossible to play the guitar at all, it was definitely a good thing that my identity as a musician was tied to singing at that point.
I began taking hormones during that time, which caused my voice to change. So when I picked up the guitar again, after surgery and recovery and yoga and painkillers reversed the nerve damage in my chest that took my arms out of commission, not only was I way out of practice, but it was a whole different voice singing along with the guitar, and it didn’t fit like I was used to. I couldn’t face that. I needed to be on the hormones, for a number of complex medical reasons, and even if I stopped taking them, my voice wasn’t going to change. So I avoided the guitar, sang my heart out, and figured I would try again someday when I was “ready”.
Well, I’m ready. Or maybe not, but I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. I have to make music. I have to do everything I can to be a musician and make music. The specific things that I need to do are becoming clearer and clearer to me every day, but right now, the one that I can put into play immediately is practicing the guitar. I can’t afford lessons right now, but I have my old practice book and that will keep me going for a good while. The important thing is that I do this, that I commit to it, and that the people I love know that I am getting my ass back on the right path. I make music for me because I love it, but really, what keeps this thing alive is that I make music for YOU, because I love it.
What can you do to support me?
Ask me how it’s going.
Leave me supportive comments.
Tell me about your experiences practicing music.
If you have guitar practice books that you’re not using and would like to donate, please let me know! (Please don’t just send them without checking — I don’t want to get inundated with books that are below the level I need to be practicing at.)
If you want to symbolically join me in my practice, send me GUITAR PICKS! I’ll give you my address if you send me a message letting me know you’d like to do that!
Also, I’d really like a capo, but check with me about that first too so I don’t get 50 of them.
If you would like a Tarot reading or Reiki session (see the tabs above), please let me know — the money I make doing those things will help me save up for real lessons!
Go make some music of your own (or whatever art you do), and share it with me to inspire me to make more too!