In my old age, I suddenly decided to go and learn the guitar. Bucket list and all that.
So a few months ago, I toddled off to a class and registered myself. The spouse accompanied me and put on a long-suffering air stating that “Now you can’t say that marriage has stopped you from pursuing your dreams and hobbies”. Full melodrama this – I’m not really the martyr types who will sacrifice her life at the altar of matrimony.
So like I was saying I went and registered in this class in my neighbouring suburb and have been going there twice a week ever since.
This guitar class is a one man show run by an elderly-catholic-gentleman who from what I can gather has been playing the guitar professionally since 1950 or so. Being definitely old school in his approach to life in general and guitar in particular, he believes in all those old maxims of hard-work and practice makes perfect, 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, and no progress without duress ( is that a maxim or did I just make that up?) – Anyways you get the gist.
As an aside and for the record, I would have much rather had a hot, stubbly young rocker-teacher types but I couldn’t because a) I didn’t find anyone of the sort and b) S claims ( quite unjustly) that I need someone who will figuratively cane me into practising – and this gentleman seems to fit the bill.
He, let’s call him Mr. M was quite fascinated by me when I first started attending his class. A female keen to learn the guitar was rare, a person on the wrong side of ..well never mind the numerical age, but the wrong side of the guitar-learning age was rarer (most of his students appear prepubescent to me - smaller than the guitars they play on.) and a person who is married is also quite unusual. So a person who combined all three was an oddity quite deserving of deep suspicion and an unshakable conviction that “She won’t last for more than a couple of weeks” and I think the fact that I do turn up quite regularly, never fails to surprise him.
As I mentioned earlier , he is quite the old style school teacher – balding, be-whiskered, beer-bellied ( ah for the young rocker, sigh) - he regularly scolds and clucks around all the unfortunate students for everything – whether it is not doing homework ( which is practising some 4 hours a day) to smoking ( “Next time you come I will SMELL your mouth and if I think you have smoked you better ‘WATCH IT”) and for not covering notebook ( this last particular one was directed exclusively at me – I kept on forgetting to cover the damn thing ( incidentally the first time he told me to cover my notebook I gaped at him like a half-wit – no one had told me to do that for close on 15 years. I also spent some pleasant time contemplating what stickers I should put on them – the Hello Kitty ones or Snoopy. Ok. I am being nasty).
He is also exceedingly meticulous (although I suspect terribly dated) in his music classes – one is expected to write down the theory (and seriously, all you typer-sharks out there are you able to write extended passages even now? I seem to struggle to write anything more than my signature these days), followed by a long diatribe on lack-of-practise ( he firmly believes that practise is more important than other minor things like earning-one’s livelihood or preparing food) and then some exceedingly excruciating exercises’ for one or the other hand – yes, I am still stuck at those (exclusively-arachnidan named) exercises’ - I have been doing these for months now, and I suspect I will be doing them till the end of time.
Also Mr. M and I seem to have quite differing definitions of what constitutes a relaxed hand. He will contort his hand in a quite impossible angle and make me do that with mine and insist that the hand is not relaxed enough. Well, I agree with that – my claw looks like it’s in the throes of rigor mortis. But I defy anyone to hold the hand in those particular positions and be yogic-ly relaxed at the same time.
And I suspect my fairly flippant attitude to learning is something which he views with deep disapproval. He wants to make a professional guitarist out of me - despite all the odds and despite the unpromising musical raw material. He periodically drops broad hints about how a so-and-so- restaurant is in need of someone who can play and sing and how in a few months I might consider it (It might be worthwhile to broach this proposal in front of my Ma– I am sure her reaction to the news that I am considering singing and playing a guitar professionally ought to be quite interesting. I'm sure band bajega. Quite literally)
So anyways I plug (pluck?) on with the guitar. In a few decades if you see a white haired old lady standing and crooning on some stage with a guitar, stop by to say hallo, it just might be me.