|Paul Clews Enterprises Tel: 07866 650015||
Today on my first day of work experience, the day was based around the recording studio as we where trying to start recording a song for Paul'scampfire songs album. Early on in the day, we handed out ukulele workshop posters to shops in Ilfracombe. After that we tested Paul's lighting equipment ready for upcoming gigs, and carried on with the recording. Probably the easiestday this week, as we are heading of tomorrow to Exmoor for a uke workshop.
I've heard it said that learning to play the guitar is fun. Well, I completely disagree. I remember when I was learning to play some 35 years ago, the little fun that was to be had, was soon replaced with frustration. Many times, I could have happily just chucked the guitar out of the window. I believe, that anybody can learn to play the guitar, in this respect learning to play is easy. But not everybody will. What stops them? Why do people give up having started to learn?.
Motivation. I'll say that again, motivation. What motivated me all those years ago was 'to play in a band'. It was the age of punk. All you needed apparently, was three chords (not true) and a safety pin. The band was put together and named before any of us could even play a single note.
The band had two 'guitarists'. Neither of us could play a thing, so I use the term 'guitarist' loosely. We came to it from opposite points of view. He took all the strings off his guitar except the bottom two, cranked up his expensive amp, and sounded what I thought at the time, fantastic in about a week. He had tuned the two strings (what I now know to be a fifth apart), and played with one finger. Me on the other hand, started the long process of learning to play properly. It took me ages. The motivation was to play in a band. I kept the motivation bigger than the problems.
It seems simple doesn't it? Practice for 15 minutes every day. What's stops these well meaning people from doing this? The answer has many versions as wanna be guitarist quitters. What's your excuse? Too tired? Not enough time? We don't have any chocolate ice cream in the fridge? After all, one excuse is as good as another.
I somehow kept my focus. Once I had mastered the bar F, a momentous moment in any guitarists career, (ask any of them), It was a very short time after this, the band recognised me as the best guitarist. Not long after this, the other guitarist in the band quit. He'd given up on his rock star dreams, and I don't think he ever played the guitar again. Well, let's be honest, he never really learned to play anything.
Me on the other hand kept going. Wouldn't it be great to play that classic Chuck Berry intro to Johnny B Goode? 'It's the only lick I'd ever want to learn' I said at the time. Having mastered that, I thought Layla by Eric Clapton had a great riff. I didn't like the song much, but loved that riff. Mastered that, and so it went on. You never stop learning the guitar. In fact, that's true for any instrument, except the kazoo and maybe the triangle. You learn to live with the frustration. So what are the benefits of learning to play a musical instrument? For me, that first punk band was great fun. So have the 20 or so bands since. All have been tremendous fun. It has enabled me to meet and converse with some amazing people. When I moved from Great Wyrley, the village I was brought up and schooled in, to Ilfracombe, playing guitar enabled me to meet people, and make new friends. This list could go on for ever, but ultimately it has given me a career and business. This started, not with guitar playing, but recording other bands on my 4 track recording studio. I still record demo's, jingles and other similar things today, but the technology is far more sophisticated now. I ran Flipside for 7 years. This was a shop in Ilfracombe selling records, CDs, videos and of course, musical instruments. I play in a band called The Backtrackers. A function band playing weddings and parties all over the Uk. My main income is from teaching. All day long, 6 days a week, privately and in schools teaching guitar and ukulele.
Well, what a life playing music has done for me. From punk band to teacher, a fantastic, and in many ways unplanned journey. I didn't know back in the early 80's where I'd be today, but I'm glad to be here. I never made it to rock star status, but then again, I don't think I ever really want that.
So what is your motivation to carry on? What is your excuse to quit? I look forward to your questions and replies.
If you would like to book guitar or ukulele lessons in your home, school or by Skype.
If you would like to book The Backtrackers for your party, wedding, corporate event, or function.
If you would like to book time in my recording studio.