Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Day 363 - 02/19/2008

M, N and I played a few games of pool tonight after dinner (where N ate three kernels of corn -- without having to be smothered in ketchup!). While he's not progressing as fast as I had hoped in expanding his palate, he's still making positive progress, which is better than the alternative. Both M and N used half-cues (where I took off the base and they used the tops) and both of them seemed to shoot better. They're still learning how to anchor their hands on the table so that the cue is stable when it hits the ball, but given time I'm sure they'll become pretty good. (One thing I've noticed is that N sticks his tongue out when lining up a shot...just like his old man!)

After getting N in bed (M was in the shower), I headed over to David's for my guitar lesson. So far I've been enjoying getting together with him. I feel I've learned more in the past three weeks or so in terms of the layout of the fretboard than I did in the six months with Gary at Chantilly Music. (That's not to say I didn't learn anything over those six months, it's just that we focused more on chord progressions and strum techniques vs. what David's focusing on.)

My homework for the last week was to work on the blues chord progression and scales for G major and A major. I guess I misunderstood the lesson plan as I completely botched what I was supposed to do (which meant all that torture trying to stretch five frets between my pointer and pinky were for naught...well not really for naught as it helped get my hand stretched out, but it wasn't what I was supposed to do).

Tonight we worked on a couple of songs (both by Jack Johnson): Fall Line and Symbol in My Driveway. Fall Line is a pretty simple strum pattern between the D and G chords, with an A chord (and A fingering) during the bridge. Symbol is also pretty simple as well, but not as straightforward as Fall Line. Symbol starts off with an A, moves to E and then up to D. Basic, right? You'd think so. While I'm sure I'll get it down, I was foundering when I tried to keep up with David (and Jack, via the iPod).

I'm not discouraged, though. As David said, all it takes if five minutes a day to make steady progress. Well, more than that, really, but the point is that if I play five minutes a day, every day of the week, I'll make more progress than if I play an hour one day a week. It's all about building the muscle memory and neurological pathways that are needed to play the song without even trying all that hard.

All in all, I'm glad I finally got on the ball and started taking lessons. It's a shame I didn't commit to this 20 years ago when I first got my gitbox. Of course, I didn't have the expendable income I had then, although I did have the expendable time!

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