Thursday, October 1, 2009

Just Do It

I used to take guitar lessons. One day a bunch of years ago I saw a guy playing the violin at a wedding and I decided right then and there that I simply had to learn how to do that before I died. So a couple of months later I took my bad self down to the local music store and told the dude that I was going to start violin lessons. And you know what I did then? I let that s.o.b talk me out of it. Yes I did and I have been flogging myself ever since. He told me that it takes years to learn to play the violin well and clearly (I guess by looking at me he could tell) I didn’t have that many good years left, there simply wasn’t enough time. So he pointed me in the direction of the guitar and I said what the hell. Classical guitar is lovely and I would be thrilled to be able to play classical guitar.

Yeah, well about eight years later I’m still struggling with this freaking classical guitar and sometimes I just want to throw the damn thing through the window. There is something amazingly soothing to me about the sound of shattering glass… especially when I’m the one that shattered it.

Anyway… so here I am eight years later, still learning to play the classical guitar and I am here to tell you and I don’t care what ANYONE says, there is NO WAY ON THIS EARTH that learning to play the violin could be any harder than learning to play classical guitar. And all you violinists out there my hat’s off to you and you have my undying respect, as do all of the classical guitarists out there as well as any other player of a musical instrument. You do not know the meaning of the word ‘perseverance’ until you have taken up the task of learning a musical instrument. The good news is that the payoff is so high and that makes it all worth the effort (at least I keep telling myself this).
That a person could learn to play the classical guitar, or violin or any other stringed instrument is proof positive to me that we are capable of things we never dreamed possible if we are only willing to slog through the difficulties of life.

So here’s my point. I took lessons for something like five years and I made progress but I never could get over the feeling of being judged. I never could get over my obsession with playing each scale perfectly, with sounding each note perfectly, with not making any mistakes. In short I never could allow myself to play like the beginner I was instead I expected that I should, right out of the box be able to play this instrument like Segovia.

Ridiculous I know and I did know it in my head… but my heart was something else. I could not let go of this. I read books about how to practice. I read books about the learning process. I read books about how to freaking LET yourself make mistakes for god’s sake! (that is so pathetic). And still….

My guitar teacher used to tell me all the time how I just needed to ‘let it fly’. Just let it go and PLAY. And I couldn’t and I used to beat myself over and about the head trying to find that ‘thing’, that elusive gene, that mysterious whatchamacallit that would magically enable me to let go of the need to play it ‘right’ and instead just play it. What was wrong with me that I could not Just Do It?

And so to Nike and your ‘Just Do It’ slogan might I just say… Well I would be breaking my own little rule of no naughty words on my blog. But you all know what I’m thinking.

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