Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My First Guitar Lesson

I had my very first guitar lesson yesterday. In fact it was my first music lesson in 35 years. I have taken my kids to many many lessons and I have paid attention but this time it was all for me. As a child I learned piano and I wasn't bad at it. Then there were all the years of accompaning my string playing kids so it is not like I haven't played an instrument in all this time.

After my stroke I tried to play the piano again and it has been an absolute failure. I even got the piano tuned hoping that would magically help. The fact is that my right and left hands are still not working at the same speed. My short term memory is also not very reliable so I keep needing to relearn any sections of the music. Another rather awful development with this stroke is that I became very sensitive to certain pitches and loud sounds, to certain lights and other strong stimuli; music has not been the soothing, joyful part of my life it once was. I have really missed turning to the comfort of my music but now my tolerance is slowly building back up again.

I am very fortunate that my left had is now working again. It is sluggish moving and to me it kind of feels like it is swollen. I have some trouble stretching it, I have a lack of strength and the other problem is that every once in a while my hand will clamp down in a death grip on objects I am holding when I least expect it. I need to use my other hand to peel my fingers off the object or poor persons hand.

The Therapy Mantra seems to be --- It you can move that body part .. do so.
If you would like more on that topic please see Peter Levine's very helpful blog-- The Stroke Recovery Blog.

My loss in ability on the piano is beyond frustrating and more than I can deal with right now. My right hand goes to fly on with the music and left hand is just out of sync with fingering.. a lot behind, and slowing down the tempo really doesn't seem to solve the issue.

Okay sooooo-
  • I am thinking Guitar is new and different and no expectations from previous performance levels.
  • I really like quiet classical guitar music.
  • We have a nice guitar of my daughters around not being used.
  • I want my hand to be moving easier
  • I NEED to work on my memory skills.

I heard of a nice , very experienced teacher at a local music school and yesterday I went to meet him for my first lesson.

So far so good. Most of it was doable, but it will require a lot of work on my part to become more fluid when playing. I think the teacher was a little surprised when he asked me what I was looking for in music lessons and I told him "Mainly therapy". He was good with that part though, and seems like a very patient man. He was having trouble working on adjusting to the fact that he had to help me get my guitar packed and up the stairs. I couldn't manage to go up and down the stairs to his studio and carry the guitar at the same time.

It had never crossed my mind that the place would not be accessible. Maybe it is just as well I didn't realize about the stairs or I would not have given it a shot, but we solved the problems one way or another.

I think guitar with my new teacher Rob is going to work out.

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