Saturday, July 12, 2008

Me and My Guitar

I've known how to play the guitar since I was 12 years old. I have a certain amount of ability. But my growth on the guitar, just like so many other interests I've had, seems to halt abruptly at a certain point. Playing the guitar and singing - by myself - in my living room is a summertime pastime. I get great enjoyment from what I can do when I'm alone, and I have the time to build up some callouses on my tender fingers.

I spent years strumming away at camps, coffee houses, vacation bible schools, a summer camp for a nearby private school, and a few times in church. But it's strange to me that I never gained enough confidence to fully use what seems like the perfect instrument for me. I say that because I have an extremely high singing range and generally you can adapt the guitar to your own key with a capo.

A few times in my neighborhood I attempted to play at our lake picnic area and I felt like a real idiot and swore I would not make a fool out of myself anymore. Even though I consider myself a singer I have a light-weight voice and it really needs amplification. Whenever people find out that you can sing they expect you to be able to sing anything, anywhere! My neighbor kept insisting that I could sing like Janis Joplin so I finally gave him a CD I recorded so he could hear that I sound more like Sarah Brightman than Janis Joplin!

Anyway! A couple years ago my dear husband, trying to be encouraging and supportive, gave me a whole set-up to perform - an amplifier, microphone, and a device to amplify my acoustic guitar - and have I used it ? NO! So I'm feeling guilty and confused by something I had made a decision to give up on - especially at my age. I mean, if God wanted me to be the next Joni Mitchell wouldn't I have figured it out by now? The desire is still there. A desire that I have for self-expression of every and any kind I can manage. But will I ever dare to risk being a fool again - an amplified fool this time?


Kelly Jene said...

Would you be more of a fool to never try? (Hug) I know God has given you many talents, Diane, and music is most definitely one of them. Give it a try, feel like an idiot (as we all do when trying something new), work at it, and I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

Love ya!

happyone said...

Your never to old to try again. I say go for it.
You are a woman of many talents.
I always enjoy your blog.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

"So I'm feeling guilty and confused by something I had made a decision to give up on - especially at my age. I mean, if God wanted me to be the next Joni Mitchell wouldn't I have figured it out by now?"

And what age will you be if you don't try? The same age exactly . . . but perhaps an older-feeling version of that age because you'll have given up on part of yourself.

You don't have to be the next Joni Mitchell. Just being you will do.

Can you maybe find a less public place to experiment? Maybe at a gathering of family and friends in your yard or family room instead of a public picnic area?

Just thinking "out loud."

Lost In Wonder said...

I love the drawing of you and your guitar. Plus, I have a guitar as well, and ZERO musical ability. I always feel sad that my guitar could have been given to someone with a bit of talent. Kind of like it will never fulfill its destiny, but yet, it brings me enjoyment.

CJM-R said...

Wow, what a wonderful and thoughtful gift from your husband. He is being such an amazing support.

If you have the desire you should give it a go for your own pleasure.

Don't worry about the performing part just yet, it will come when you are ready for it.

I always wished I had been blessed with a singing voice as I love to sing. So if you have the voice, enjoy it and allow others to be moved by it as well.

I hope all of us have helped you to decide to give it a whirl!

Choralgirl said...

I can SO relate to this--have been a guitarist of sorts since age 8, but am MUCH more comfortable as a in interpreter of what I see on a page of music that as a "jam" sort of musician. It's intimidating.

Check this out, if you haven't seen it:

Billy said...

I started the guitar at 12 as well. Was very much into PP&M and Beatles and folkies, etc. I still have my Martin D-28, although the neck needs some work. Playing has always been a catharsis. The amp doesn't sound like a bad idea depending on what song you're playing. My son had one for his accoustic, but I still play without one.