Bit of A Minefield – Email 9/19/23

Hey, it’s Tomas…

Wes Montgomery said, “I never practice my guitar – from time to time I just open the case and throw in a piece of raw meat.”

I can’t remember the last time I threw raw meat in my guitar case, but I can recall many times thinking about doing something drastic to feel like I was making progress.

Today I’d like to share some tips and tools that will help you to play guitar better and learn faster and easier.

Rather than trying to squeeze everything into this one newsletter I’m going to give myself a little breathing room and do it over the next 3 days.

And I’ll include something exciting at the end of the series. I don’t want to give too much away now but let me just say that for some this has been long awaited.

Before I dive in, let’s talk about why you might care about playing guitar at all. I found that when I get clear on why I want to do something it makes everything a little easier.

Someone once asked me “Why should I learn guitar? Why go through hours of practice with no guarantee it will pay off?”

The question caught me by surprise. I didn’t have an honest answer at that moment that I felt good about.

The glamor of being a guitar player that motivated me as a teenager didn’t cut it anymore.

After giving it some serious thought the simple answer that seemed the most true to me is because it makes us feel alive.

Yes, there are days you won’t feel like practicing. Of course there are times you’ll wonder if you’re getting better.

The struggle of not knowing, then slowly hearing your clumsy notes evolve into music is still magical.

It reminds me of gardening. Each spring I would pull out the weeds in a small patch of my backyard and plant a garden. Each morning I would go out to see if the seeds sprouted.

It seemed to take forever. Every spring I would begin to wonder if this year it wouldn’t work.

Then one morning – magic!

Little green shoots peeked through the dark wet soil. I felt a small pang of joy as my faith in the universe was renewed. I couldn’t be happier.

It’s moments like this that breakthrough the day-to-day monotony and give us a sense of being fully alive.

Hearing something you’ve been practicing start to sound like music does that.

Then there’s the look on someone’s face when you play guitar for them. Even a simple Happy Birthday for your spouse, or the instrumental song you made up for your granddaughter that she calls “her song”.

These moments are precious.

Music is one of the most powerful yet sublime influences in the universe. Knowing you have some small part to play makes up for the work 100 times over, and then some.

Besides, what are the options?

5 years from now being older and playing guitar a little better… or being older and wishing you’d started 5 years ago?

Choosing a “normal” life without having a practice? Plotting along day by day? Same old thing. Every day inching closer to the “ultimate retirement”.

Or choosing to have a practice? Choosing a life of musical adventure? Each day something new. Each year getting a little bit better.

Same “crap out” date, but every day is a chance to make your small but unique mark in the world.

I wouldn’t trade my musical adventure for anything, and I’m guessing you wouldn’t either. Especially if you knew some of the things I’ve discovered to make the most of it.

You’re probably asking yourself about now “how can I get better? How can I learn faster and with less effort?”

As much as I hate to say it, answering that question is a bit of a minefield.

I’ll explain why in tomorrow’s email…

Bye for now.

You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

Comments on Bit of A Minefield – Email 9/19/23

  1. Patricia says:

    Catching up on these articles. I am older, arthritic hands, but the last almost 4 years of guitar lessons have made me a better player than when I was young and took lessons. And the improvements sort of sneak up on me….just doing the lessons and keeping’ at it, and one day, everything comes together and people want to hear what you are playing! It’s a very satisfying road, even at my age! Thank you Tomas for your excellent skills at teaching us and giving us what we need to go forward. It is much appreciated! Patricia Jones. (PattyLou).

    1. Tomas says:

      Thank you for taking the time to write this Patty Lou. You’ve made my day 🙂

Leave a Reply