When I launched this business, I wanted to make sure I incorporated all the nice business ideas and marketing tools to do a good job at reflecting the concepts and representing my philosophies. So I chose as my tag line for Reunion Guitar Studio "Learn to love to play guitar." Its catchy and causes one to think (I think!)
Why not just "learn to play guitar?" This is, of course, the learning outcome I desire for every student. But I want more for my students than just going through the motions in a mechanical way. I believe playing the guitar can be something you can love, and allow your expressions and thoughts to be reflected in the music that you play. Loving to play, however, comes with a commitment of time. You have to get over the hurdles of the hard barre chords, the sore fingers, the exercises, the rhythmic strumming, and all the steps in between to see the results.
I want to introduce to you Bonni, my student with the longest tenure. She started with me at the tender age of 7. I was hesitant to start her that young, but her dad was deployed at the time, and her mother wanted something for her to focus on during his absence to keep her active. She was a very bright child - in fact her perfectionism
in playing songs would frustrate her emotions so much that we would have some tears at times. But she fought through it, and 10 years later she has learned to love to play guitar. I asked her a few questions about her experience and I think you will enjoy hearing where she is at today.
1. How did you come about starting to play guitar? Why did you choose the guitar?
As a little kid, I just desperately wanted to play the guitar. I would jam out with the radio on my air guitar, and I even constructed my own "guitar" out of cardboard and yarn. When I turned seven, my parents bought me a First Act Guitar for my birthday, set up lessons for me with you (Jan) and I have been playing ever since.
2. You have taken lessons from me for over 10 years now. What has been the best part of private lessons? What's the not so great part?
The support I have gotten from our one on one lessons has encouraged me to keep trying. Plus, I get a say in what I want to learn, which is great! The only downside is you can't effectively "wing it" if you haven't been practicing--she'll know!
3. Did you ever feel like quitting? What has motivated you to continue?
I did feel like quitting. I remember specifically that I was feeling done and angry when I was trying to learn the F major chord. It was so hard, and I felt like giving up. But everyone around kept pushing me to keep trying, and eventually I got it. And I've gotten better and better, because I've just kept playing. It feels good.
4. Now after playing for 10 years, what do you enjoy about guitar playing the most?
One of the things I enjoy most is my appreciation for all music. I can hear another musician and truly value the time and effort that went into their performance or skill. Also, jam sessions are the absolute best! Rocking out with my friends is always a great experience, and my guitar skills always make it awesome!
5. How do you see playing guitar fitting into your future?
The guitar will follow me for the rest of my life. I have learned an appreciation for music, instruments, and skills. As a bonus, I can form bonds with new people all the time over our musical inclinations.
Isn't that awesome? The time and energy she has put into learning to play has now evolved into a social activity that brings her joy. She is playing classical music, pop acoustic songs, and even a little ukulele. She is also leading out in a music club at her high school and instructing others on the guitar. I am very proud of her. She is one short year away from spreading her wings and heading off to college, and I have no doubt that she will go far in her life. And I am also confident that her plethora of guitars will go with her.