Sunday, 24 January 2010

Strum and strummer

Carrying my brother's guitar on my back this morning in its protective case-stroke-backpack I felt stupidly cool walking through Hither Green on my way to my first guitar lesson. I'm certain that I didn't look it, since the guitar added a few inches to my overall height and width, meaning that I kept getting caught in branches and doors that I normally never notice due to my relatively small stature. Clumsiness aside, I made it to the lesson venue in no time for the group session.

It's a class for 'complete or near beginners', and the majority of us were just that. When asked what we knew already, I proudly proclaimed "E Minor!", whilst one chap said "errr, well I know this is called a guitar..." which made me laugh. But despite the supposed novice status of the wannabe guitarists, everyone picked up the initial chords and C-Major scale quickly and easily....with the exception of me, that is. While everyone else's strumming sounded clear and had a nice ringing quality, my attempts at chords and notes all sounded distinctly clunky.

I could blame it on the fact that I forgot to cut my fingernails, or on the fact that my hands are pretty tiny. Or perhaps because the guitar I'm learning to play on has evil metal? steel? well, painful strings rather than nylon ones, but basically I really don't think my mind is attuned (ha!) to melodic instruments.

The room in which we had the lesson was kitted out with lots of guitars and music-related equipment and technology, but I couldn't help but gaze at the electronic drumkit in the corner. I know I'm not an amazing drummer and I never will be, but I know that if I was to sit down at a kit with a pair of drumsticks I could bash out a decent rhythm without even having to think about it. Whereas learning the guitar from scratch and developing the dexterity and coordination to move between different chords really quickly - and efficiently - feels incredibly daunting. And it hurts! But I'm a trier if nothing else, and I will continue with my weekly lessons until the tips of my fingers on my left hand are as hard and as numb as MDF. The teaching is good, so hopefully I'll be playing bar chords in no time at all...

Photo from Ru Tover's Flickr

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