Sunday, June 14, 2009

Not Father's Day...

This weekend I:

1. Thought it was Father's Day.
2. Went to a club, got free bottle service and danced The Cupid Shuffle.
3. Miss my brother and feel like a dweeb for missing him. He's on vacay in Austin and I am not jealous.
4. Yes I am.
5. Saw Mad Max for the first time and I want to see it again like now.
6. Showered every day. Rare for a weekend.
7. Had an awkward guitar lesson with a sub.

Okay, let's talk about this lesson. I've had a lot of music teachers in my day. I rate my current as the best teacher yet. Every week, I feel that he makes it his number one priority to target my weaknesses and work with me -- relentlessly -- to the point of exhaustion, all in the name of getting this or that point through to me.

I've always had this issue with teachers. They see potential in me and at first I perform well, but gradually work my way into a zone in which I get comfortable with putting forth minimal effort -- just enough to equally frustrate my teacher and keep me mildly interested. A word of advice, kids: Don't give 100% at first. Always start with 60-65% and work your way up. It takes control, but trust me, it works out better for everyone.

Anyway, I'm at the point right now that genius guitar teacher is working overtime to get through to me. He's pushing me, and while I appreciate the effort, the pressure's on me and me alone. I don't practice nearly as much as I should. In fact, I only practice the easy and fun stuff throughout the week -- specifically repertoire and sheet music/sightreading exercises. The hard stuff (for me) is the dang theory study. The chords. What makes this chord this and how to play it three, four, five different ways on the fretboard. It's daunting stuff, and frankly, a little boring to me. I want the instant gratification of learning a 1-4-5 chord progression, learn the lyrics, and BAM, I've got another song to add to my repertoire.

I know what he's doing. All this pushing is his evil, evil plot to make me finally learn my fretboard after six years of playing. And that's what makes him the genius guitar teacher. But I know his plan, and I am resisting it because I'm a lazy asshole like that.

Anyway, back to awkward lesson.

This new guy was pretty young, and I sensed he was kind of nervous. Must've been my super-sexy hangover cloud and runny makeup from the previous night's club dancing (see #2). I explained to him all the tricks genius guitar teacher was trying to employ to get me to (heh) LEARN, but to my disappointment, he didn't try to employ any of those tactics. It's not like I was disappointed that he didn't try to give me the same weekly beatings to which I have been so accustomed. It's that I was giving him the green light to be like his boss, genius guitar teacher, and in a weird way, try to give him some pointers as to how to brutally beat some theory into a student. Plus, I was hoping to get some new insight from a fresh perspective, and all I got was a nervous guitar dude who just wanted to jam and talk about bar chords.

Let me explain.

Bar chords are easy. If you can put your index finger down hard enough to hold down all the frets and make the same generic shape underneath, you've got all the tools for making a major, minor, dominant seventh and major seventh chord. I get that. That all lies within my "comfort zone" we've already talked about.

And the jamming. This was clearly his favorite part.

I was getting bored/annoyed at the bar chord talk, so I suggested we look at some repertoire. I know the melody of this particular piece (That's All), and I was having some fun challenging him to back me up on chords. I noticed he was one of those insecure musicians who was eager to impress me with his knowledge ("Your teacher is a jazz guy, but me, I'm a classical guy."), so I thought it would be fun to try to play together. Mostly because the fumbling around with bar chords was so awkward, I wanted to do something different, but also to see if he had the chops he was clearly so eager to show me.

Success. We fumbled a bit at first, but in the end, the song came out pretty well. It only took us 26 minutes to finally have fun.

Back to the list...

8. Operation Six Pack is coming along swimmingly. The hardest part is the diet. Damn you, weekends, with your pizza and hooch! All in moderation, I say, but still. Friday night was definitely a night of indulgence, so that's my designated one night this week -- the rest of the week is nothing but good stuff. Now how to define "good stuff"...

Despite these indulgences, I have noticed some improvements. I keep finding these new lines, which is tre exciting. I still have a lot of work left to do, but these new lines I'm finding are oh so encouraging. Nothing to do but move onward. Maybe one day I will allow myself to take an afternoon off and lounge by the pool, which is what I stare at when I am running, running, running. The treadmill strategically faces the pool at my apartment complex, and on the weekends the pool is full of happy, relaxed people who for the most part seem to have achieved that perfect balance between getting in a good workout and drinking beer all afternoon.

That's all for now. Now piss off.


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