Monday, August 10, 2015

Renewed Passions - Guitar Lessons



From the 1960's to my personal 60's (spanning 50 plus years), from Peter, Paul and Mary to Keith Urban, from protest marches to gratitude for just being able to walk, this wannabe musician is finally taking guitar lessons again. (I took lessons for about a year in my flower child days.)

You can find me every Wednesday afternoon jamming (or trying to) at From the Top Music Shop in Monongahela, PA. Bill and Renee Teck, owners and instructors are top of the line musicians. My instructor, Bill, is patience personified. I don't know what he says to Renee about me when I leave, but he gives me praise, confidence and motivation. In other words, the ideal teacher.

My Yamaha acoustic guitar has weathered the years well. It responds to classical, folk and rock commands equally, depending on the skill of the person playing. YouTube makes it possible to practice with any musician, living or dead. I recently practiced with Mick Jagger, The Beatles, Crosby, Stills & Nash and of course lots of 60's folk singers. How cool is that?

Playing my guitar is therapeutic. It's cheaper than any drug, doesn't require a prescription (although it is addictive) and it does not psychoanalyze me. Plus it is very difficult to eat while playing. No need to use any Weight Watcher bonus points!

 I've experienced first hand the power of music therapy. When 97 year old Mom was recently hospitalized for a perforated ulcer and subsequent surgery, she was exhibiting symptoms of Hospital Delirium. Apparently this is the most common complication of hospitalization among people ages 65 and over. She was agitated, noisy and hallucinating. She insisted there was a garage sale taking place in her hospital room, and wanted me to put money down on the nice chest of drawers. Did I mention that she was very NOISY? Nothing would quiet her until I decided to sing to her. I told her it was rude to talk while someone was singing. Much to my surprise, my singing immediately soothed her. She had a smile on her face and quiet on her lips. However, I'm not sure what annoyed the nurses more, Mom's ranting or my singing.

One of my Bucket List goals is to be a member of the band called Rock Bottom Remainders. According to Wikipedia, this is a rock and roll band consisting of published writers, most of them amateur musicians and popular book, magazine and newspaper authors. Dave Barry plays lead guitar and Stephen King plays bass guitar. Other author/musician members have been Amy Tan, Greg Iles, honorary member Maya Angelou and a "band" of others.

To quote Dave Barry, my absolute favorite humor columnist, about their band, "We play music as well as Metallica writes novels."  In that case, I could join right now if only I were published. Does a blog count?

In conclusion, The Rolling Stones have told me I can't always get what I want, but I sure hope I NEED to learn how to play my guitar (even though my little hands are struggling) and I NEED to acquire tickets to hear Dave Barry speak as part of the Author Series in 2016 Pittsburgh. If any of my readers have tickets for sale or for "give," please contact me. In return, I promise to sing for hours at any Hospital Delirium Event of your choice.

Just sayin'


Sandra Warholic Seeley is the creator and author of Kanela's Korner and The Sandra Seeley Column. She is a lifelong educator whose teaching experience ranges from suburban Bethel Park, PA to Hawaii to urban Pittsburgh Public's Homewood, Hill District and Squirrel Hill communities. She has taught in every grade level from Kindergarten through Grade 5. She has a Master's Degree in Education from The University of Pittsburgh with a minor in English. Her passion has always been the teaching of Communications: Reading and Writer's Workshop. She is now a freelance writer. To contact the author, click the following link.

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