Essay On Guitar

This was a hand-out given on the first day to my guitar class at Davis& Elkins College in 1992. There have been several requests for reprintsof it, so here it is. (Harvey Reid)


Guitar music is a place where the elements of rhythm, tone, emotions, harmony, melody, poetry, preparation, solitude, friendship, intellect, physical training and spirituality all meet. It involves your spirit, your body, your heart and your mind, and it is both a solitary and a social act. It not only offers the player the pleasure of making music, but it also offers to the skilled the ability to actually change other people's thoughts and feelings. Just by doing something you love to do, you can impart profound things to others and give them something they value. Those who discover that they have this ability, who feel obliged to develop it and who use it generously, will experience a reward comprising not only the satisfaction of the act itself, but also an abstract pleasure in sharing and communicating with others through the language of music. There is an energy, a sense of purpose and a direction that it imparts to its practitioners that can give a gratifying sense of meaning in what threatens to seem like a meaningless world.

Only through a lifetime of music will you experience an understanding of all the aspects of the art, but a basic awareness and regular reminders of the existence of all these various ingredients that make up music will allow the student to progress more quickly toward a mastery of it. There is, as always, a price to pay, and there are responsibilities that come with having the power to change other's thoughts and feelings, and not all who set out on this learning path make it all the way through.

The essential element in the study of music is a love of music and an appreciation of its sacredness. Music is not something your hands or your voice do. It is not something your mind does. At its finest it is a transcendental state that involves all parts of you, and allows you to exist on the crest of a wave, in the exact moment of the present as you perform each part of the music. It is only there, in the present that we can truly live and have control over our lives, since the past and future are inaccessible to us. When you are deeply involved in music and when you have control of it, you can experience an excitement and a sense of well-being that is impossible to duplicate. The sensation of the pleasure of music making is the primary thing a student of music must focus on. If enough time is spent in joyous music making and if the desire to share and transmit this feeling is strong and sincere, the hands will train themselves and the voice will find its true expression. One cannot hurry the process­p; you must instead enjoy and cherish it as it slowly unfolds. There is an unfettered freedom in being a beginner that you may look back on fondly some day. The desire to be something other than what you are will impede your ability to grow, and the amount of pleasure that music brings is relatively constant. If you are not experiencing that pleasure and fulfillment as a student, then you must learn how to do that before you can go further. The magic that is music comes from such a place inside us. And any beginner can experience these sensations just as easily as the master. If not more easily.

Harvey Reid (Elkins West Virginia 1992)

© 1992 by Harvey Reid

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Harvey Reid Concert Schedule |Harvey's Blog | About the Liberty Guitar Method|Catalog of CD's and Tapes|Discography|About this Web Site & What's New Here | Hot News | Woodpecker Home Page | About Harvey Reid |The Song Train| Video | Audio | About Joyce Andersen | Books by Harvey Reid | Get On the Mailing List... | Concert & Record Reviews | Interviews with HR | Lyrics to Harvey Reid Songs | Harvey Reid Annual Newsletters | HR's Guitar Tunings | About the Partial Capo | Articles & Essays by HR |HR's Gear | HR's Favorite CD's | HR's Career History | Booking Info | Publicity Info & Download Files |


This web site concerns the music and life of acoustic musician & music educator Harvey Reid.

If you don't find what you want, or if you have comments or questions, please email to

 

WOODPECKER MULTIMEDIA
PO Box 815 York Maine 03909  USA
phone (207) 363-1886


Harvey Reid Concert Schedule |Harvey's Blog | About the Liberty Guitar Method|Catalog of CD's and Tapes|Discography|About this Web Site & What's New Here | Hot News | Woodpecker Home Page | About Harvey Reid |The Song Train| Video | Audio | About Joyce Andersen | Books by Harvey Reid | Get On the Mailing List... | Concert & Record Reviews | Interviews with HR | Lyrics to Harvey Reid Songs | Harvey Reid Annual Newsletters | HR's Guitar Tunings | About the Partial Capo | Articles & Essays by HR |HR's Gear | HR's Favorite CD's | HR's Career History | Booking Info | Publicity Info & Download Files |


This web site concerns the music and life of acoustic musician & music educator Harvey Reid.

If you don't find what you want, or if you have comments or questions, please email to

 

Anthony Buchanico

Iron Stream

A Guitarist's Passion

 They say everybody in life has a passion. And if you don’t you simply haven’t found it yet. For those that haven’t, I highly suggest going on a venture to find it for the betterment of your life. My passion has been guitar for quite a while, and even though I’m not the best at it, I continue to aim higher and higher as my practice continues. And if you haven’t found a passion yet, well maybe guitar can be yours as well!

Having a passion can help in a number of ways. In my case, it not only gives me something to do, but something to strive to be better at as well as relieve stress, and get away from daily life. The possibilities of what you can learn or create are practically endless and show no signs of dwindling. Of course, it’s not always so simple finding something one could love to such an intense amount.

The first time I had picked up a guitar was when I was 8 years of age. After listening more and more guitar in the world my interest sprouted enough for me to walk up to my parents and say, “Mom, Dad, I want to play the guitar!” They liked the idea of me taking an interest in music, so within the week my dad took me to the only small music shop around the neighborhood and there I purchased my first and only acoustic guitar so far, A Jasmine, by the name Takamine.  It was a cheap guitar, brown body, black pick guard and lining, and an illustrious fret board. Of course back then I didn’t understand much about what makes a good guitar just that, but I didn’t care I finally had a guitar!

            I Started playing more and more through the days I had it, but no matter how much I practiced I just wasn’t getting anywhere with playing. After realizing this, my parents decided it was time for me to get some guitar lessons. With a quick search we found a local teacher who would hopefully show me where to go. Of course being a young kid around the time, I had no patience and just wanted to start rocking out riffs left and right. Sadly it wasn’t that simple. Contradicting my previous statement, I had an idea of what I wanted to learn, but as with many things, they never go as planned. My teacher was a very “classical” type of teacher. She stuck to the simple form of learning jingle bells and spending a month and a half on the G note. After about 3 months I looked at my past lessons and it hit me  “What am I doing?”  “This isn’t what I wanted at all.”

            After some discussion, I left her teachings and slowly faded away from guitar. I thought I was done with it; after all it was just some old hobby I picked up. So I put my jasmine down in the corner to collect dust for the next couple of years. I thought I was done, the end of just another short chapter in the book of life. But just like a book, you never know what’s on the next page until your there.

            I was 12 and like most twelve year olds all the days were boring and repetitive; Video Games, food and the Internet. I badly needed a hobby, my parents agreed.

“Hmm, what do we have around this house? I need something good.”

I thought to myself with no idea about what to do. Just then I started hearing piano. It was my sister playing again; she’s an amazing pianist! It seems so easy for her.

And then it hit me, I had an instrument, granted that instrument was now a pile of dust in my room it was an instrument. So I hoped up and waltz my way up to the familiar blue and orange walled safe zone I called a bedroom. I looked at the guitar and with a smile on my face thought, “Let’s try this again.”

From then on out I slowly started getting back into it; I practiced more and more, this time progress slightly quicker than last time. Now I was twelve and about to be 13, a teenager! My birthday was coming up and I knew exactly what I wanted, my first electric guitar. So my birthday came, and I got what I wanted, well almost anyway. Being a young kid I assumed I’d be able to just waltz right in and pick out the nearest multi-thousand dollar guitar. I wound up settling for a beginners pack, I was a beginner after all.

Months went by and even though the guitar wasn’t the nicest sounding it got me by. After a while I had the desire to save for a better guitar. Luckily for me I had a little friend named Christmas coming up. I’ll never forget that Christmas morning when I awoke to find a guitar under the Christmas tree. On the cold and silence of the Christmas Eve night my family and I drove home from South Philadelphia after the annual visit and dinner with my grandparents and the rest of our grand family. As we were driving home on the endless road I could sense the thoughts in the air and interest of what my two younger brothers, my older sister and my self would all receive for the amazing holiday of Christmas. About 45 minutes form departure; we finally arrived to the familiar haven we all call home. After the usual tradition of exchanging gifts between the families we all headed off to our rooms ready as ever to receive gifts and everything on the side. No matter how bad of a sleeper I am, Christmas always manages to be the exception with me quickly falling asleep like a sound child each and every time. My eyes shut, and in the feeling of a blink I was back up with 2 familiar faces in my vision.

            “Wake up Ant!”
                        “Santa Came!”

In the early morning confusion, I almost had forgotten what day it was. It was Christmas of course! As my brother and I anxiously stood at the top of the stairs Stephen, my younger brother, went to wake my parents up on this 7 am Christmas morning. As my sister comes rumbling out of bed it becomes apparent she cares more about sleep than gifts at this moment. So we let her go for later. Right after, my parents come shuffling out of their room just as ready to go downstairs as we were. Halfway down the stairs I looked over, and there it was. A black Les Paul waiting for me. Without even as much as giving the other gifts a glance I scurried to it ecstatic as anyone could imagine. And with each day of the month passing by, I could feel myself growing closer to this Black Les Paul. Now it is the only thing I use more than my computer!

            To this day guitar is still in my life every moment. There hasn’t been a single day where I have been ashamed or regretful of my choice as a passion. Although it may have seemed like rambling it was to show how much passion can take over your life and make you a better person. If there were one thing to do, it would be to implore a passion into your life someday. You won’t regret it!

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