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Hi everyone, how has your start of the new year been?

My first week was a mixed bag. It started with a lot of stress and worry, but I settled down towards the end of the week. Generally, I’ve begun to settle down about a lot of things recently so maybe this year can truly be calm, or, at least calmer than 2021.

During the weekend, I ran into a wonderful opportunity to make the start of this year fabulous. Bluegrass music, Zoom, and guitars are involved…

I’m doing something cool this winter

January is a dull month here (much better than I’m used to in Sweden, however!), and Omicron doesn’t help. After two years of the pandemic, staying sane in the head is becoming increasingly difficult. So having a nice, uplifting project that keeps you busy is a good idea. And what better is there to do than studying guitar?

You may remember the singing class I attended in the autumn and how much I felt it pushed my singing skills forward. The same teacher has now released his course schedule for 2022. I received it in my e-mail last week and saw with interest that the first course would be a guitar class, to study the style of Tony Rice.

I decided to not join, mainly because… well, because it’s Tony Rice. He was a very advanced player and his style isn’t what I think of as particularly straightforward. Also, the required skill level was described as intermediate/advanced, and that’s not how I’d describe my own competency on the guitar, although I’m now probably closer to intermediate than a pure beginner.

Then on Saturday, I saw on my teacher’s Instagram page that he had opened another group, at noon the day after, which would be at 5 pm here. It’s a quite nice time of the day to sit in a guitar class – much better than the singing class that was in the middle of the night for me.

I was very tempted but still hesitated because I was afraid my skills were too low. But then – why does everything have to be easy? Something more challenging, in a way that suits me, would do me good. And I dropped all my preconceptions of “I’m not able to do this” and instead got into the mindset of “It would be fun to try this!”

The day after I contacted the teacher, and after a conversation about whether my level of guitar skills would be enough, I decided to join. A couple of hours later the first class took place.

My world during the next month – eat, sleep, guitar!

Moving forward with the guitar

Otherwise, I’m studying bluegrass guitar with Bryan Sutton at ArtistWorks, and have access to an enormous library of video lessons, tabs, and video exchanges between him and other students, and I can do my own video exchanges (I’ve done a few). With so much material, it’s easy to get lost, and I’ve been a bit stuck lately, doing the same tunes and exercises over and over, uncertain about what the next step should be.

So when this Tony Rice course crossed my path and kept crossing my path as if it was telling me to join, I saw it as a good way to focus on something completely different and that it could be the first step to get further with my playing. I may not be able to follow everything, but what’s the worst that can happen? I will learn a lot and get tons of material to work on in the future. It’s also a way to test the waters – how far beyond my comfort zone can I go?

I’ll learn licks and phrases that I can later use in my own solos, and while I focus on learning tunes and solos note by note from a specific recording, I’ll work on my technique, but without even thinking of it.

After the decision to sign up, I couldn’t stop smiling.

Now I’m on the fifth day of practising the intro of “Old train”. It seemed overwhelming at first, but now I play it with good flow in 60-70 BPM, even 80 sometimes. I can do this!

(That speed is way beyond my comfort zone!)

This course is just what I needed. It continues for another month, and during this time I’ll dedicate most of my time to guitar practice. My guitar, my teacher(s), the late Tony Rice and my determination, will make this winter a good one. This is the start of what could be a fantastic year with the guitar – maybe this year will be when I dare to call myself a “pretty good guitar player”?

I’ve babbled long enough about this – but you know, “…the mouth speaks what the heart is full of”! 

To be continued.


Sharing with the lovely bloggers at Natalie’s weekend coffee share.

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Comments:

  • 15th January 2022

    Susanne, It’s great to hear you decided to sign up for the guitar course and dedicate time for practice. An activity that makes you smile is a good start. Thank you for linking up with #weekendcoffeeshare.

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  • 15th January 2022

    Well done Susanne, a great opportunity for you! I love that phrase the mouth speaks what the heart is full of 🙂
    #weekendcoffeeshare

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  • 16th January 2022

    HI Susanne, well done on overcoming your self-doubt and signing up for the guitar course. I’m sure you will love it and look forward to reading about your progress. Self-doubt can really stop us from pursuing a life well lived. I know when I started my podcast I had recorded the first episode and then procrastinated for a month before pushing the GO LIVE button. Enjoy your week and your guitar. xx

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  • 16th January 2022

    That is wonderful that you are stepping out of your comfort zon and joining this new opportunity! Good for you!

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  • 16th January 2022

    You can only grow when you step outside of your comfort zone 🙂 I’m sure you will get a lot out of the class even if you don’t play quite like Tony Rice 😉 I’m doing a lot of self study this winter, but will most likely do a voice class sometime this year (I ahte my singing, but am doing more and more of it). I hope you have a wonderful week! Keep playing.

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  • 17th January 2022

    Amazing to pick up something new and agree a good time of year to do it if you can find the motivation. Getting a teacher is a great way to do it. I started my piano lessons again last week, I was feeling in a rut. So we started two new pieces, and I came back with optimism and hope. A great way to bring myself out of January. Define your own success and keep going.

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  • 17th January 2022

    Hi Susanne,
    Congratulations on taking up the guitar. You’re so full of hope and it’s so encouraging. I need to get back to my violin it’s been two years since I was playing seriously and I think I’ve only picked it up a couple of times in the last 18 months.
    My husband and I did a binge clean on our son’s room while he’s at youth camp tonight. I thought I’d at least wash his blankets and it was like a reverse tornedo swept through and the floor is clear. There are literally mountains of washing, a bucket of cutlery and so many of my husband’s missing socks. Tomorrow my husband will install an air-conditioner. This will be good as he’ll be needing to isolate for a few days. We fully expect him to return with covid, but who knows? He’s double vaxed and he could be lucky.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

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  • 18th January 2022

    I love that you used my #WOTY to describe this new fun thing you’ve been trying. And if you can play that intro even a little bit then you’re doing amazingly. I’m always really envious of people with musical talent and one day I’m going to find a ukele teacher and at least have a go at playing something easy! Good on you for putting yourself out there Susanne – you’re an inspiration!

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  • 18th January 2022

    I loved your quote at the end. Yay for jumping into something challenging and a little out of what you thought you could do!

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  • 30th January 2022

    I love this SO MUCH. This made me so happy to read. I was smiling so broadly by the end.

    Susanne, it is so good to hear about you putting yourself outside of your comfort zone, and pursuing the things that bring you joy, and calm, while also challenging you in some way. I’m going to channel my essential American-ness (sorry) and say, “YOU GO!” And, this is such a good example of having courage, and stepping out and stepping forward, despite initial misgivings. A good example for me this year!

    I can’t wait to see what else you do this year… if this is any indication, you’re going to rock it. (Sorry, another American-ism…)

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