A silence falls across the stadium, the lights dim, the anticipation builds, and the excitement fills the air with electricity. Cue introductory electric guitar riff, cue lights, cue roar of the crowd …as I emerge, smiling and ready to rock!
Well, that’s the dream and this weekend I have reached a significant mile-stone in the realisation of that reality. I have finally reached two years of guitar practice! Two years since picking up an electric guitar for the very first time and beginning this journey of learning how to actually play. Well, the learning to play is still a work in progress, but this weekend the self-criticism can take a break, replaced instead by a humble sense of achievement at having kept at it. Of dedicating myself relentlessly to the pursuit of something. To the pursuit of learning how to actually play this six-stringed animal, and, do you know what? I’m not even close to being able to play anything even remotely proficiently yet, but, I am still here. I am still striving to get better. Come hell or high water …I will prevail!
Despite knowing very clearly that I still have a long and challenging road ahead of me, for now, I am choosing briefly to enjoy how far I have come. With that sentiment firmly in mind, I am celebrating with a Green Day weekend, featuring covers of ‘American Idiot’ and ‘Basket Case’.
‘American Idiot’ has such a punchy, in your face, rhythm, and is just great fun to play! The mini-solo stretches the skills, feels good and let’s me know, like a cold cup of coffee, that I’m not there yet!
‘Basket Case’ is hopefully at least a slight improvement over my earlier cover of it, recorded some time ago upon reaching one year and three months of guitar practice. This song is always on my weekly practice schedule. I just love it! However, only hours after uploading these videos, I am looking back, horrified at my novice playing. Still a long way to go, I guess.
Wasn’t I going to leave out the self-critique this weekend? …alright, let’s keep focused on the fact that things are improving. I think!
Whilst I may not be entirely sure as to whether reaching two years of guitar practice is necessarily twice as good as the feeling I felt upon reaching one year, I am certain that with every year that passes, I feel something special happening. I feel like I am separating myself from the many other aspiring guitarists that have gone before me, who perhaps, for whatever reason, simply did not make it this far. I think about how, with every passing year, I am getting closer to the path walked by those that are now widely regarded as legends of the guitar. That’s not to say that two years is in any way a significant benchmark in the grand scheme of things, but the momentum built so far, if cultivated, will ultimately continue to carry me towards a level of competence on the guitar that I can currently only dream of.
I only really know one thing though, that nothing will be achieved without paying my dues, and putting in the endless hours of practice. That is what will truly maintain the momentum.
Where specifically that momentum takes me, who knows? In all honesty, I’m not so sure my inclinations are towards public spectacles involving strobe lights and stadiums. I am certain though, that I want to get better. Much better.
– Joel BB