hopeful growth

This is Advent and I realize that there’s something right under my nose about which I ought to be more hopeful. Parishioner/friend Jill T. wrote on her blog about learning to play an instrument at 35. Her comments are here.

and here’s how I responded:

I think of myself as a musician, tho I play the guitar and banjo (some would immediately discount this because I put “banjo” and “musician” in the same paragraph…) mainly by ear. I can barely read music (my 9 and 14 yr old children read MUCH better than I), altho I have developed the ability to transpose keys and have memorized which key has however many sharps or flats.

I’m 48. And I continue to learn new techniques on the instruments that I do play.

But I want to learn the cello. I don’t have a cello. And so I am learning to play my mother’s violin as well as a viola that I have on loan. I am still not learning to read music on either–cheating, because I have a fairly decent ear–and so playing new and unfamiliar songs is a tedious trial-and-error exercise.

My children are very forgiving and so we will often have “family concerts” where my daughter plays the piano, my wife plays the hammered dulcimer, my son plays the bass and I’ll play the violin or viola. We’re actually starting to sound pretty good on Pachelbel’s Canon and a few other things.

I don’t happen to believe that we “have” or “need to learn to be content with just” anything. If it is our heart’s desire we can continue to do amazing things throughout the good lives with which God has gifted us.
[She asks some questions in her article to which I give these answers:]
So:
my desire to play cello is not secret any more.
I don’t think I am a “real musician,” however I do hear music in my head all the time
you CAN learn a new instrument.
Oh, and I never get to play enough. 😉

I guess “I never get to play enough” is my Advent discipline. I need to take up and do those things that help me grow into what God has made me to be. The gifts that He has given me are things in my life that I need to tend and water (dare I suggest “exercise”?). Thanks, Jill, for helping me along with that!

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3 Responses to “hopeful growth”

  1. Will Says:

    Hi–

    You have an interesting blog. This post interested me because I am about your age and I would dearly love to learn the guitar. Would you have any thoughts on whether this particular system would be helpful in learning guitar? It is called “Fretlight” and their website is at http://www.fretlight.com/

    Of course you also look at Episcopal/Anglican issues so I’ll be back!

  2. dpc+ Says:

    Dear Will,
    First: Welcome! and thanks for your interest and comment. I’ve also visited your site (although I’ve not commented yet; sorry!).
    I’ve been playing the guitar since I was 14. Started with two chords (D and A) and began finger picking with two fingers… Now I play lots of power chords (mainly in E) and can pretty much get around the fretboard with most standard chords and the occasional funky one. I was introduced to a Shubb partial capo a while back and absolutely LOVE to play in a modified “dropped D” tuning using it.
    I visited the fretlight site. Looks interesting. Before I can really respond to your question I need to ask a few questions: What kind of guitar do you want to play? Electric or acoustic? What type of music do you want to play? ZZ Top, James Taylor, Grateful Dead, Matt Redmond, Delirious, Chris Tomlin, John Michael Talbot, Michael Card, Bebo Norman? And will you be playing in church with a “band” or in small groups by yourself? All of these are important considerations before launching in to it. I’m going to do some more investigating about fretlight and I’ll get back to you more about it.

    Back to tec/anglican issues: what do you think of what’s happening in Virginia?

  3. Will Says:

    Wow, those are good questions. I suppose if I ever became proficient enough I’d like to play something like Michael Card or James Taylor–or even classical. In all probability I’d just play by myself. Guitar type? I’d probably go acoustic if I could sound OK. The model I am actually considering is the FG-405 which can be played either acoustic OR electric. It also has a built-in digital tuner which I think I’d find helpful.

    As for what is happening in Virginia: well, being something of a conservative sort I am supportive of what the Falls Church and Truro are doing. I just don’t think they should be held by compulsion (which is what the Dennis Canon in my opinion is) in a church (TEC) with which they no longer have much in common. I’d be interested to know your thoughts on this as well.


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