Saturday, December 12, 2015

String Theory

I've had to be a little more assertive with certain individuals in this house and so far it's been working out well. I based my actions on the theory that sometimes you have to make people do things that they enjoy or will enjoy because inertia is such a hard force to overcome, just ask Isaac Newton, if you can get through to his cell phone. Plus, as is often the case, just the idea of doing something is sometimes enough to discourage you from doing it, even if it's not a big deal. The story of my life, BTW.

The topic in question is playing guitar, specifically for N. I have tried in the past to encourage some interest in a musical instrument to no avail. His interests are of the athletic and engineering nature, which is fine, but I really think having some musical ability is a plus. Not just to get the babes, which is very important for a young man, but because music is an important part of life, and I think musical ability wires the brain in some nice ways. At the very least it gives us one more interest to pursue that does not involve the computer.

For all it's worth, A was not falling over herself to play guitar at first, and now she loves it. This pattern has played out in many of her interests, including skiing and hockey. I got her a guitar when she was very little and she said no thanks. It wasn't until she took a lesson with one of the homeschool kids that something clicked and she ran with it. Now she's a real student of the art, and it's really cool to hear her talk about music and music theory, though for a luddite like myself, it goes right over my head.

With N he is resistant to pretty much everything I throw his way. It could just be youthful rebellion, but whatever the case, we're not going to give in to youthful apathy and inertia. We sent him to some drum lessons and that sort of fizzled out, but his interest in music is always evident when we listen to it. He's clearly interested, and sings and mimics the instruments. I realize how much of a stretch this is, but it's better than nothing, right? Either way, as much as he might be interested in playing drums or something along those lines, drums are a pretty specialized instrument, and playing them requires a drum set (go figure) and a place that will tolerate all that racket. A guitar, on the other hand, can be very personal and as he gets older there is a much greater chance that he will encounter a guitar at a friend's place versus a drum set.

Whatever be the case, I sort of indicated that I wanted him to learn how to play guitar. He can play drums or harp or accordion, whatever he wants, but I'd also like him to know how to play guitar. He doesn't have to be in a band, he doesn't have to shred, all that I ask is that he can play some rudimentary chord transitions and be relatively competent. A campfire guitarist, as the saying goes. He went along with it begrudgingly, and I found the perfect person to teach him - his sister. Not only does she shred, but she's a good teacher and he listens to her. She adds "cool factor" to things, and she's enthusiastic about teaching him. Plus, it's a good activity during some down time that doesn't involve computers, and I think deep down he's got his eye on her electric guitar, which has even more "cool factor," but one thing at a time.

So far it's been going well. She has been sitting with him 2-3 days a week and slowly teaching him chords and songs. Then, for 2-3 days each week I have him practice what she's taught him, or at least strum some chords. Here's what I've noticed about it. First, A is enthusiastic about it and says that she thinks he's got a good feel for the instrument. Second, N said he thinks it's fun learning with his sister. Third, I have listened to him strum and he sounds good. Fourth, it's a great activity during the day that can take up an hour and doesn't involve anything digital. Fifth, girls like guys who play guitar.

Okay, what else can you ask for? It's a win-win situation. I love when that happens.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Hugo A. Quintero G. for the pic.

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