2011/365/048: Guitar Heroes

Left to right: William Ackerman, James Taylor, Shawn Colvin, Jerry Garcia

This afternoon, when I got home from school, I tabled some of the time-insensitive work I had waiting for me and picked up my guitar. I haven’t played in a long time, simply because I keep telling myself that I don’t have time for such things right now.

What a ridiculous thing to tell myself, time and time again.

Playing the guitar is one of those things that always brings me great pleasure and relaxation. I’m not good by any measure (really–I’m not being modest. I know practically no songs), but just creating music is an unbelievable experience for me. I don’t try to imitate anybody in particular or try to replicate my favorite songs. I just play.

What surprised me about today’s little jam session, though, is that I really wasn’t half bad, even by my standards. The reason? I didn’t hold back.

In previous practice sessions, I often try too hard. I’m studying that note, this chord, and the overall rhythm. I know, I know. That’s what you are supposed to do, right?

Well, yes…and no.

The reason why the four musicians above are my favorites is that they give way to the music, they let their song sing, often creating something new every time they take the stage. Their playing is magical, soulful, spiritual.

And they have allowed us to be the lucky recipients of that magic, that soul, that spirit.

I don’t know why I ever put the guitar down. It brings me such inner peace; it calms me in ways that I can feel both mentally and physically (well, the tips of my fingers on my left hand are a little sore…). Why wouldn’t I make more time for that?

Last summer, I started learning music theory, and it made total sense to me and made me play better. I’ve dusted off that book and reviewed those first four chapters. I’m not caught up entirely yet, but if tonight’s little jam session is any indication of what is to come, I have every reason to keep playing.

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