My students come to learn to play,
They must also practice everyday.
They cast their eyes down to the ground,
When they play and make an awful sound.
Did you practice? I ask of them,
As they try to play the piece over again.
A few minutes here, a few minutes there,
A few minutes scattered everywhere.
It takes time and patience, to play really great,
No matter your age, it’s never too late.
Put down your fears, your computer game gear,
Play an instrument, for all to hear.
Take step after step to reach to top,
It takes dedication, it takes a whole lot.
It’s a wondrous journey, this musical trail
Now stop reading this poem and go practice your scales.
When I took guitar lessons at 15 years of age, it was the hard.
My teacher was so good, I was so bad, but I kept trying.
Hours and hours alone, practicing, trying over and over again.
Always preparing for my next lesson, to impress him and get my monies worth.
I never told him what I wanted to learn; instead he would have lessons prepared for me. I never questioned his teaching style. All I knew was that he knew more than me and I wanted what he had.
Teaching students how to play is a challenge, mostly because little time is spent between lessons. It’s mostly, “Oh, I have a lesson tomorrow, I’d better practice today.” Lucky if more than 30 minutes in total is spent on the learning.
I get it, I tried to take piano lessons once, I was a terrible student.
As I write this, there is a keyboard mocking me from the corner of my room.
But, ugh, it takes practice, discipline and I always defer to my guitar.
So, when a student doesn’t practice, I get it. Sometimes the lesson is the only time that they pick up their instrument, I get it.
For me, and only me. The desire to play the guitar was relentless. The repetition it takes to create muscle memory was exhausting. The constant struggle to make each note ring was frustrating, strumming and picking, oh the hours and hours spent.
But there was something about the sound of the guitar; I wanted to make it sing, to bring wood and strings to life. It’s magical.
If I can leave this world, having made music, having shared music, having taught music, then I feel that I will have left this world a better place.