So here’s the deal. I work at Rock Prodigy. I’m a Dad in my late 30′s and I’ve always wanted to learn guitar. That desire has never been stronger now that my wife and I have a beautiful 2 1/2 year old daughter (and a boy on the way!). In a parental sort of way, I believe my role is to teach my kids to have courage, to think independently and creatively, and most of all to fill their lives with as much joy as possible. I believe experiencing music and learning to play an instrument can be a catalyst to help achieve these goals. In a perfect world, I would be a living catalyst in this regard and teach by example. In a silly daydreaming kind of way, a wish of mine is to be able to play a song on guitar for my kids and in turn to have them embrace music and have it be something that enriches their lives regardless of which path they eventually decide to take.
What’s stopped me from getting on with it? For a long-time I just assumed it was too hard, it was going to take too long or that I just simply wasn’t musical enough (this is driven home even more when you are surrounded by amazing guitar players in the office!). Beyond the basic grade school music classes, I’ve never taken a guitar lesson let alone a music lesson. Looking back, I think there was probably some element of fear of failing and that I just never had anyone around me who was able to share the joy of playing an instrument and making music (no one in my family every played an instrument). For too long, the odds never looked very good and there were always plenty of excuses.
Fast-forward to today. I’ve started my journey! I am on the path to finally learn guitar with Rock Prodigy and our beginner guitar course. Keep in mind I was, and still am, the absolute beginning guitarist in all senses of the definition.
As of today, I have completed the first 14 days of Rock Prodigy: Level I. I didn’t complete the days in a straight two week stretch, rather I completed them over about 3 weeks. This has really been about balancing time. With a job, family, etc. I’ve found myself completing lessons and exercises when it makes sense. Some days I plow through a full day’s worth in one sitting where I know I have 45 min (e.g., after my daughter goes to sleep). Other days I split it up between morning and night (e.g., two exercises and a lesson over lunch and two exercises at night). And some days life is just too crazy and I’m not able to pick up my guitar. But that’s kind of the beauty. I can plan for the lessons and exercises and do it when it’s convenient. On top of that, I always know where I am with the live-tracking dashboard on the Rock Prodigy website.
What’s the verdict so far? Absolute joy! I can already see and feel a world of difference. I’ve completed lessons like Technique: Basic Picking, Scales: Chromatic 1 and Rhythm: Basic Rock. Am I still a little clumsy? For sure. But I can hear myself improving with every lesson and I’m having a blast! The lessons and exercises are fun and structured in a way that builds confidence yet pushes just enough. It doesn’t feel like learning; it feels like playing. When I can’t get a day in, I start missing the feeling, the feeling of progress I guess. I even find myself now mimicking finger positions while I’m driving home from work. It’s really an amazing feeling. I hesitate to use a phrase like “life changing” (because I’m not a superlative kind of guy) but there’s definitely something going on…something positive that’s hard to put into words.
At about day 10, I figured I would take a “test drive” as it were. I tried to play Johnny Cash’s ‘I Walk the Line’ from within the app – just the opening riff. Something that 10 days earlier seemed like a foolish, overly optimistic pursuit. What happened? After about 10 min, I could hear it. I was playing it. Not full speed, not perfect but it was happening. I can’t say how exciting that was, especially after thinking for 30+ years I could not do it. In kind of a giddy state, I quickly put down the electric guitar that I’ve been using (that my buddy had generously lent me) and went and grabbed an acoustic in our office to try it out (a Guild actually). Wow!! The room was just filled with these warm, rich notes…and they were coming from my guitar. I’ll never forget I overheard Alex say, “Is that Tyson?”. It’s good to answer yes to that question.
Again, I know I’m a hack now but I won’t be for long. For the first time in my life, I know I will soon be able to play for my kids and my wife. I will be musical. I am learning guitar. I can’t wait for the next week ahead. I’ll keep y’all updated as my journey continues!