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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Milspec, Jun 16, 2020.
Buy more gear.
Someday that boy will be all grown up, and he'll tell his kids about the neighbor across the street, an older guy who was kind enough to play guitar with him. I wish I had somebody like that to play and sing with.
A highlight of our annual family reunion for me is playing music with my nephews.
The group was singing Summertime, and my nephew Will was about 10 feet from me, holding his guitar but engaged in a conversation with his girlfriend. Not seriously, I yelled, “Take a solo, Will!”
He jumped in instantly on the right beat in the right key and played a beautiful solo, without taking his eyes off his girlfriend. He is about 21 and started private music lessons when he was about 8, and plays bass, piano, sax and guitar and sings well. His parents have been extremely supportive.
As an old guy, what I offer is repertoire for boomers. Fortunately the younger ones are eclectic enough to know a lot of older tunes. Will’s girlfriend suggested that we do some Beatles songs, so we sang Yesterday, When I’m Sixtyfour and Eight Days a Week. Everyone looked up lyrics on cellphones, so we had great participation. Another of the nephew girlfriends is an extremely good singer and joined my wife and sister-in-law in making exquisite harmonies.
That’s what music is for: bridging the gaps.
Afterward my 91-yr old mother told me that I played really well. I thought about when I first started playing, and she would tell me to mow the lawn or do the dishes. I told her that I had been at it for 50 years. She said, “At least you didn’t quit.”
This has happened to me. A lot. So what? I play for those moments like you described in your first sentence. My advice: keep playing with this kid. Let him do his thing and enjoy it. As has been said, you will probably end up with AT LEAST a fun friendship. Bask in the joy of being around this kid. Have fun. THAT is what it is all about.
Oh, and yeah............. Tommy Emanuel.................. jeez................
if it wasn't for coming up against players that were better than me, I wouldn't have got up to any standard at all!
Age is irrelevant -just think that this youngster has been sent to you for the sole purpose of helping you to improve, not to make you give up.
And another thing - I would bet anything that somewhere along the line there is something or other you can teach him. Probably something in the area of phrasing or, say, when to go like hell, and when to slow down. Stuff that has to do with the wider matter of music per se, that you need many years to understand, and has nothing to do with chops.
This should be re-kindling your passion for playing, not extinguishing it.
We cannot control what happens to us.
But we can choose how we respond.
You practice or you play? Big difference.
I don’t know if this helps, because I occasionally lose interest.
However, when I was in high school people said I reminded them of Clapton. Mainly because of my sparse/reserved style.
Great players complement me even now (and I am not a great player.)
What I do (since I am not flashy/fast/technical) is find a space and fill it with the most fitting chord or fill that I can.
People say I should turn up, but, I mean to be heard only when there is a dead space.
I suppose I would say, find your space and let the natural greats inspire you.
I hit a wall in seeing any significant improvement a long time ago. For twenty-five years, I worked hard to be as good as I could be. I got a lot better than I thought I'd ever be, but not nearly as good as I wanted to be. There was a time when I actually enjoyed practicing scales and learning theory. Working to improve was fun. These days, I try to teach myself new things and new songs, but I do it all within the motivation to enjoy what I'm doing, and not necessarily with a motivation to improve. I figure any time I spend playing is going to make me better, but learning new things instead of dwelling on the same old stuff and "practicing" is being the most productive.
But in boxing, that 14 year old will turn into a 20 year old and you're still getting older. Boxing is a young man's game.
I'll never be what I want to be on guitar, but I can play and sing and enjoy doing it. Finding identity in the things we do is never good. I saw another thread today on a similar subject. Be who you are and be happy with that. The 14 year old is happy and wants to share the experience with you. That is huge. Be a part of it, you may enjoy the journey.
Surround yourself with a bunch of musicians who are at the same, or slightly below your level. Belt out a version of Sweet Child Of Mine. You'll fell like a million bucks again. It's amazing how great it will sound to you. No matter how it really sounded to a spectator.
If you want to feel like ten million bucks form a 3 pc with a drummer and a bass player. You'll be amazed at how great you can feel. Watching them drool and fight over how to plug a mic in. lol.
That kid probably looked up to you more than you looked up to him, just sayin...
Oh come on. Those happy little trees and mountains?
Write some songs. You'll play 'em better than anybody!
Don't be discouraged by a younger player. I was told once by someone in the "business" - "If you think you're pretty good, remember there is a ten year old someplace just playing scales and riffs in their bedroom that will some day be better than anyone you've ever heard. Live the moment."
@Milspec do I ever get "blown out of the saddle by a kid"? You bet. It hasn't happened on my own back porch (yet?), but yeah, it's happened. Does that experience take the wind out of my sails? Yes...temporarily.
But I've learned in life that there are different gifts and different levels of giftedness. When I encounter a kid that's achieved more in five years than I have in five decades, I am humbled...and that's a good thing. I may not want to continue to play in front of him, but such encounters/experiences have never once made me lose interest in playing the guitar.
Usually, it's the opposite; I get stimulated to play guitar whenever I see someone playing things I can't play. At this point in life, it doesn't really matter if that "someone" is Phil Keaggy, Doyle Dykes, Jonathan Stout, Mike Campbell or a 14 year old kid. Witnessing really good or even great guitar playing makes me want to pick up my guitar. Not in front of those greats, mind you, but it inspires me, it drives me to play more.
I started "plunking around" on my Dad's guitar when I was around 10, but I didn't seriously sit down to learn and practice until I was 14. I've played guitar ever since. Oh, there have been times when I have plateaued, wasn't learning anything new or progressing that much. But I always played. As I've said many times, guitar playing is cheaper than therapy. I have not, and don't think I ever could lose interest in playing guitar.
Oh, and that whole boxing analogy thing? I've got several teenage grandsons that could drop me like a rock, so that analogy doesn't really work for me.
Nobody does. That used to be a huge problem for me as well, and took me a long time to get out of my system.
I think it was the first year of law school that finally beat it out of me. Like most first year law students I figured I was destined for the top of my class. In the first semester I asked a couple of 'dumb questions' in class, didn't get invited into any study groups, and a general consensus quickly formed that I was a nice but unserious law student. After the first year grades came out I was in the top 20% in my class, made law review and figured out that asking dumb questions and looking stupid was smarter than trying to fake it. I also quickly learned that there were some genuinely brilliant folks in my class who were operating at a higher level than I was capable of. Instead being bummed that I wasn't the superstar I thought I was, I figured that those may be some good folks to get to know and learn from.
I'm still afraid of lots of things, but looking stupid just isn't one of them. There's just always going to be someone better than you, without fail, 100% of the time, like death and taxes. Instead of being insecure about it I really cherish those times I get to be the stupid guy in the room because I know I'm going to leave learning something. It's the exact same with music, I'm not that great at guitar but I'm ok with that. The one thing I do know is that every single time I play with someone better than me (which is 99% of the time) I learn something new and get a little better myself. Instead of being something to fear, it's what I look forward to the most.
Hope some of my rambling helps, keep at it!
Playing fast is maybe a little out moded now was maybe an 80s 90s thing more, also as mentioned above make up your own stuff i think that gives one great satisfaction, i can play fast but would much rather play slow and bring tears to the eyes and feel each note more.
Also just look on utube many fast players but nearly all of them copy songs thats all, just be yourself more i say, every one is unique and music is the love of sounds more not a contest.
I think part of where @Milspec is at, the kid is fully committed while our friend plays for his own enjoyment.
I have a variety of aptitudes like drawing, carving/ sculpting, playing instruments and singing.
To choose to devote our life to one aptitude?
I think many children that display aptitudes in their fast learning years get pushed into the one their parents prefer to be able to brag about. Or some parents prefer a list of way their kid is awesome, like being on multiple sports teams.
My wife is a painter and good at it, but I've seen her child age writing and she had potential there too.
But her parents are both poets and did not support her writing at all.
So painting was the career path they supported, while she hates the gallery scene driveling banter required to become a "known artist".
The point of this tack being that big skills come from devotion, not just raw talent.
If we have a career or other interests and play guitar for more of a hobby, we are not going to match skills with some teen phenom who practices ten hours a day and really does little else of value, like earn a living or keep a marriage together, pay the bills, manage the home etc.
Also of course we may have only modest natural talent in music, which seems to be how natural talents are handed out at birth.
We get what we get and can't really be proud of our height or hair color, or of our natural aptitudes.
If we choose to devote our life to something though, and work hard at it to become highly knowledgeable and skilled, we can be proud of our hard work.
To have a hobby though, and be upset that a kid who practice many hours a day and has no other responsibilities; is better than we are? That's something that IMO we need to just brush off and accept as an overall pleasant humbling experience.
Better than getting punched out by a neighbor kid, right?
Personally, I have my own issues with needing to be good at everything.
Obsession with our own awesomeness is not the most healthy thing IME!
you're always better than someone...and someone else is always better than you !