But I Might As Well Have
Immediately upon arriving home, I fled to my bedroom and unpacked my guitar, set up the amplifier and placed the book in a convenient place. I went through all of the notes and exercises my teacher had put me through – and I continued for hours. I actually picked it up pretty quickly, and even mastered MHALL that night, site reading. (Site reading is the art of looking at a piece of music, translating it to the correct timing, strings and/or positions on the instrument, playing it to those specifications and doing it on the fly.)
Then I went on to the next page and mastered that. Then the next and the next and the next until I had gone through the whole book in about five days.
In that time I had learned about notes (whole, half , quarter, and eighth), time (4/4, ¾), sharps and flats (one note above or below a natural note) and the rest of the major and several minor chords. You might say that I was pretty into it.
And I learned just how badly finger tips could hurt…
Next Tuesday afternoon, 3:00 PM…
My dedication to the music lessons did not go un-noticed by my dad (or my mom or my brothers and sisters or the Fentons next door), so he was kind enough to give me a ride to my second guitar lesson…
Doorbell, open, “hi,” “hi,” guitar, sit, book, review, next page, play…
Teacher looked at me, sort of stunned.
“You’ve been practicing,” she remarked.
“Yes, I have,” I responded.
“A lot,” she said.
“Yes mam,” I answered.
“Just exactly how much of the book did you go through?” she asked.
“All of it,” I rejoined.
“That’s fifty pages!” she exclaimed.
” Yes, mam,” I replied.
“Turn to the last page in the book, please” she requested.
“Please play this for me,” she insisted.
I did so… Almost perfectly…
“Wow… I don’t think you left anything for me to teach you,” she stated.
I didn’t understand what she was getting at, and I was feeling pretty good about my progress – rightly so, as I was about to find out.
“Is that good?” I asked.
She smiled and said “Well, it means that you have taken this seriously and are learning a lot of music in a short period of time. But it also means that I don’t think I can teach you anything more – you need a more advanced teacher.”
I suddenly got it, and I was somewhat disappointed. I was happy with her as a teacher, and didn’t really want to start looking for another one.
I had made a great impression on a female, albeit a really old one (she must have been in her mid thirties) but I had just “learned” myself out of a teacher…
By this time, my thirty minutes were up. She got a pen and paper and wrote the name and phone number of someone who she thought would be a better fit for my talents. I accepted it from her, and thanked her for having taught me and for the name of a new teacher… I said goodbye, and walked out the door, not knowing that my formal music education had just ended for at least the next forty five years… Maybe forever…
Sometimes being too impressive is as dangerous as passing gas…