Monday, September 18, 2006

Mom as guitar teacher

I'm a guitar teacher now, much as I think guitar is probably my weakest instrument...no wait, there's piano...and my student is none other than Calvin the Inquisitive. I wanted to get him going on some musical trajectory, and since he had picked up a guitar and seemed to have an aptitude for rhythm I decided to take things into my own hands. There are precious few musical instructors within a fifty or so mile radius here; it seemed the obvious choice that, if Calvin were interested in something that I remotely knew how to play, I could probably save some money and do a halfway decent job teaching him myself, and learn something in the process.

I have found recently (within the last two days) that I am probably my own best instructor. I have been practicing mandolin, and I know what I want to accomplish, and my teacher-self has an amazing intuition for knowing just what I need to do to get there. Not that my teacher-self has the ability to play at the level I strive for, but my teacher-self is a hard ass. PLAY IT AGAIN! THAT WAS WEAK! LISTEN TO YOURSELF! Luckily, I managed to restrain that aspect of my teacher-self at Calvin's lesson.

It went very well; I had even written out a list of objectives beforehand and managed to touch on all of them within a half hour. (If you know me at all, you should be raising eyebrows; that just ain't me, to be so organized!). I actually had an inspiration for the lesson from last night; the kids had watched the movie The Blues Brothers for the umpteenth time (which I don't mind at all, it's one of my all time favorites!) and Calvin had somehow picked up on the Peter Gunn theme. He was so intrigued with it that he got out our soundtrack CD afterwards and played it over and over. It has an extremely repetitive bass line, one I remembered from my days in high school pep band, and I realized that the line could be played very easily on the low E string of the guitar. What better tune for a first lesson; one the kid knows and enjoys, simple rhythm, and one that can be played on one string.

Calvin seemed attentive, willing to listen to my teacher-self, and at the end of the lesson he even said he enjoyed it. I'll have to motivate myself to keep this gig up!

7 comments:

pablo said...

Good work mom! Fortunate for you that Calvin didn't decided he wanted to play the glass harp or such.

Do you play the banjo?

madcap said...

Now I'm jealous! I always hoped my kids would want to take up an instrument, but no signs so far... I guess we can look forward to the mp3 soon? ;-)

Deb said...

pablo- what's a "glass harp"? And no, I don't play banjo, although I've been listening to some good ole-time banjo players lately and thinking it's next on my wish list. My youngest offspring, I think, has the perfect personality for a banjo player. ;)

madcap- why not get a cheap guitar or something, leave it lying around, and see what happens? Or maybe that's not such a good idea, at least until you move out to the country. :)

My next step is to invest in some digital recording equipment and Web hosting, then you'll see mp3's!

Anonymous said...

Ha! I'll tell you what happens when you leave a cheap guitar laying around the Madcap household -

EL KABONG!!!

Deb said...

now, madcap, that ain't nice...or at least I shouldn't have taken a swig of my spiked apple cider and not swallowed before reading...SPEW! :D

pablo said...

A glass harp is, I think, an instrument invented by Benjamin Franklin that involves a revolving wheel of glasses filled with various levels of water. The performer runs his (or her) finger around the rim of the glasses to bring forth that singing sound. I think some classical compositions have been written to use the glass harp.

My reference was, of course, to a ridiculously delicate and difficult instrument that your fine son would nonetheless master in short order.

Deb said...

pablo- Thanks for the info, but I'm going to keep it hush-hush from Calvin. If he finds out about the musical possibilities of glassware, my house will be ringing for days and I won't have an available wine glass anywhere!