Day 13 – The Profundity of It All

Last night was very profound for me in many ways.

Slow is Fast
Slow, structured practice sessions are paying huge dividends.  While I’ve already elucidated upon this, I must reiterate it. I’m more accurate, more fluid, and feel more musical as a result of my slower-paced, structured practice regimen.  As stated in yesterday’s post, I don’t have a reliance on memorizing tab anymore.  I still use it to get the gist of things as I’m learning, but I’m not thinking: 5 – 8 – 8 (Low-E), 5 – 7 – 7 (A-string), and so on.  I’m hearing the sounds, instead. My fingers are drawn to what I hear versus what number I see.  What a liberating experience.  What a profound realization!

The Power of Support
Last night as I sat here in the office playing guitar, my wife sat beside me (as she does on most days and nights I work in the office).  We have an amazing connection. While we’re fully capable of living life apart from one another, we cherish time together. If what it is we’re doing lends itself to being together, we spend time together. While the time together is nice, what it’s truly indicative of is the level of support she gives me to pursue my playing (and other endeavors).

Michelle, my wife, and I are are each at our second go at marriage.  I’m glad we found each other, as is she. We were meant to have found one another, we most certainly were. We share a love and support of one another that was void from each of our first marriages.

My aim is not to turn this into a sappy love story (though I’m not ashamed to call it that), but to expound on the joy I find in playing as a result of the support she gives me to pursue my retirement dreams of playing guitar professionally. You see, this hadn’t always been my norm — neither the support or the joy.

I started playing guitar well before I met my first wife. I played day and night stealing licks from Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, and Buddy Guy, among others. I had gotten quite good, actually. It was very common for people to hear me playing and ask me who I was listening to. It was always fun to share that it was me who they heard playing.

This period of life, however, was short-lived.

While I won my ex-wife over (in part) with a serenade of a song on my acoustic guitar, her interest in my guitar playing endeavors was short-lived. She saw my guitar playing as a waste of time. She grew tired of me listening to the same songs over and over again in an effort to learn their riffs and licks. She saw my guitar playing as interfering with getting work done around the house, though it never interfered with any of the work I did (time management, interestingly, is something I take great pride in — it’s how I’m capable of achieving the many varieties of things I do). She complained about the noise, despite the fact I often played through headphones plugged into one of my practice amps behind the closed doors of the office that she wasn’t sitting in.

That was a lot of “shes”!

While there’s certainly more I can elaborate on in the context of my ex-wife’s lack of support of my playing, my aim is not to publicly bash her. My aim is merely to present the argument that pursuing one’s passion is challenging when those with whom you share a life don’t support your pursuit of said passion. As a result, my playing became sporadic at best. I completely lost the passion to play and developed the belief that I’d never be able to do anything with it. I started slowly selling off gear. I started preparing myself to move on from playing guitar ever again.

Last night as I was laying in bed reading, I rolled over toward Michelle and said, “Thank you.” She asked, “What for?”  I told her that I was thankful for her support and appreciation of me playing guitar.  Furthermore, I was appreciative of her support of me working to become a professional musician. She responded by saying, “That’s what we do for each other…we support one another.”

When Michelle and I met nearly three and a half years ago, we made a commitment to one another that we’d put each other and our collective relationship first so that we could be the best we could be for our families and friends. This notion was foreign to both of us in the contexts of our previous marriages. This commitment is paying huge dividends for a strong, united relationship in the context of our marriage, our relationships with our children, with family and friends, and in professional lives as educators. This commitment is paying huge dividends in the context of me pursuing my dream of becoming a professional guitar player.

I’ve found a passion for playing guitar again that I haven’t had since I first played some thirty years ago. I could argue that my impending (though still off in the distance) retirement has provided ample pressure to get my act together. While there’s certainly merit to be made for this argument, the freedom and flexibility I’m allowed to be me — to do me — in the context of my relationship with Michelle is more likely the root cause of this inspiration. I’m now allowed to pick up my guitar at any time, day or night and simply play when the inspiration strikes. I’m not condemned or belittled for it, but encouraged.

I never realized the degree(s) to which I could find inspiration and productivity in the context of being allowed to be me. It’s taken a lot of reflection and adaptation these past three and a half years, getting used to being “me” again, but it’s reflection and adaptation that is leading to better outcomes and better experiences.

It’s been a beautiful experience to play guitar again. It’s been beautiful experience to find me again.

What a profound realization!

Agenda for November 5, 2018

  • Warm-Ups/Technique
    • 1234, 4321
      • 8th notes (60, 80, 90, 100, 120 bpm) alternate picking up neck
    • 1234, 2341, 3412, 4123
      • 8th notes (60, 80, 90, 100, 120 bpm) alternate picking up neck
      • 8th notes (60, 80, 90, 100, 120 bpm) alternate picking up each string starting at high-E
    • 134, 341, 431
      • 8th notes (60, 80, 90, 100, 120 bpm) alternate picking up neck
    • Finger Stretches
      • 12, 13, 14
        • 8th notes (60, 80, 90, 100, 120 bpm) alternate picking up neck
        • 8th notes (60, 80, 90, 100, 120 bpm) legato up neck
  • Theory
    • Pentatonic Scales
      • Position 1 all twelve roots
        • 8th notes (60, 80, 90, 100, 120 bpm) alternate picking up neck
      • Position 1 – 3 with legato and slides
        • 8th notes (60, 80, 90, 100, 120 bpm) alternate picking up neck
      • Positions 1, 5, 4 (down neck) with legato and slides
        • 8th notes (60, 80, 90, 100, 120 bpm) alternate picking up neck
    • Various blues, rock, and jazz licks derived from pentatonic scales
      • Various scale positions up and down neck
        • 50%, 60%, 75%, 100%
        • practiced until perfected, then 10x each
    • 12-bar blues progressions in keys of A, E, B, D, G
      • Varying strumming patterns
      • 4/4 time at different 80 – 140 bpm
  • Repertoire
    • Everybody Hurts – REM
    • Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
    • Take It Easy – Eagles
    • Silent Lucidity – Queensryche
    • Tin Man – America
    • Horse With No Name – America
    • Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen
    • 12-bar Blues Fingerpicking – Keys of A, E, G

Today’s Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 22 hours

Time Remaining: 9,978 hours


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