While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Me and my Yamaha APX1200 Acoustic/Electric guitar

When I was child, I discovered an old Fender guitar stuck in the back of a closet. The body was in bad shape, the frets were broken and the strings were terribly out of tune. I soon discovered that it had belonged to my father. It was one of the relics of my parents divorce. My older cousin told me that my father was a pretty good guitar player who inspired him to take up the instrument.

That old guitar allowed me to create my own version of Guitar Hero long before it became a popular video game. Although I had no idea what I was doing, I’d rock out like I was a member of an 80s hair band (back when I actually had hair). That guitar was also the only connection I had with my father because my memories of him were vague.

As I grew up, my passion for music increased. I spent countless hours listening to jazz, rock, hip-hop, gospel, and R&B music on my low-budget record player. Sadly that old Fender finally broke down and my mom couldn’t afford to buy me a guitar or pay for lessons. All of my guitar dreams eventually faded away.

It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I considered picking up a guitar again. I bought a cheap beginner Fender Starcaster with hopes of teaching myself to play. After a few weeks of frustration, I realized that I was a terrible guitar teacher and stuck the instrument in the back of my closet.

When I turned 40, I examined my life to see if I had any regrets. The first thing that popped into my mind was the guitar. I knew that I had to learn to play or else I’d spend the rest of my life with a dream deferred.

An ancient Asian proverb says, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” My wife, KayEm, discovered a piano teacher who was willing to come to our house to give private lessons to her and my daughter. For some reason, I had taken my old guitar out of the closet and placed it near the piano. The teacher noticed the guitar and asked KayEm if I played. KayEm told her that I didn’t but I had always wanted to learn. The teacher informed KayEm that she also taught guitar. I was so excited when KayEm shared the news with me that I immediately scheduled lessons and bought myself a new guitar.

I’m so happy that I’m making my guitar playing dreams come true. I may never become a virtuoso, but I am content with learning to play a few of the songs that I love. An added benefit is that playing music is now a family activity. My wife, daughter and I help each other to improve our skills. I’ve also purchased a guitar for my 7-year old son and my 3-year old will get a drumset for Christmas.

I’m also glad that I am able to show my kids that you are never too old to learn something new. Hopefully, follow my example and enjoy a lifetime of learning.

For your listening pleasure, I’ve recorded myself playing the first song I’ve learned,  Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” As I progress, I’ll continue to add sound clips and videos of my playing.

Ode to Joy | Upload Music

Stay Strong,

Questions: Have you learned something later in life? Is there still something on your “bucket list” that you want to accomplish?

About author

Frederick J. Goodall

Frederick J. Goodall is the founder of Mocha Dad - a parenting website focused on fatherhood. He is passionate about parenting and helping men to be great dads, husbands, and role models. You can contact him at fjgoodall@mochadad.com or on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mochadad

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