Friday, March 07, 2008

Certain things that bother me about my guitar teacher, Nick

Now that our album is recorded I've decided to learn to play guitar. Sick of being the Sid Vicious of the band (and unable to continue with the self-harm regime that goes along with that tag) I've started lessons with Nick from the Beggs Music Academy. I selected this school because it was the only place within walking distance and I did not have a car. I now have a car but am locked in after paying for 12 lessons upfront.
I have some gripes to share

1. Nick is approximately 18 years of age.

2. All other students at the Beggs Music Academy are approximately 13 years of age.

3. Nick is a far greater guitar player than I could ever hope to be but each lesson is only 30 minutes and Nick spends most of it showing me how awesome he is.

4. Nick says ''awesome'' a lot. In response to pretty much anything (including many things that are, frankly, not awesome).

5. Nick refers to famous guitarists by their first names. ''This is more of an Eric lick''; ''bend and hammer, just like Chuck'' ; ''you wanna play it like Jimmi but not ''sound'' like Jimmi.''

6. This is not just annoying but also potentially confusing. Last week I thought he was talking about Hendrix when in actual fact he was name-checking Jimmy Page: ''nobody got the chops like Jimmy.''

7. Nick keeps trying to make me play Black Magic Woman. ''Carlos is awesome, man.''

8. One time I arrived early for my lesson, only to find him alone in the room, belting out an impassioned version of Counting Crows' hit Mr Jones. Complete with imperfect vocal impersonations. ''Sha la la la la lal la..... Mmmmmwahhhaw.''

9. One time I arrived for my lesson and Nick didn't show up. He got the time wrong. Instead of apologising the next week he said: ''hey that was some crazy mix-up, ay?''

10. Nick is attending Jazz School and so talks in a mixture of hep-cat slang and New Zealand accent. This is beyond irritating.

11. I don't really feel that Nick and I have bonded and I worry that we never really will.

12. Personal hygiene also something of an issue.

On the positive side...
1. He likes Django, whose gammy handed genius I have previously blogged about.

2. I guess I am getting a bit better.

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Blogger Unrelenting Tedium said...

Clearly you have not told Nick about your hot band. I fear him googling us (what fool wouldn't) and the final pages of Brighton Rock spring to mind where Pinky's horrible message awaits whatever her name is on the gramophone.
I can see the Jimi/Jimmy has happened to me before. I am amazed by the number of guitarists who claim Black Magic Woman sparked in them the desire to play guitar (Slash and Ace Frehely spring to mind)...I'm with Zappa (sorry, I'm with Frank) when it comes to Santana.

The lessons are exciting. I hope you are feeling the benefit. 30 minutes does seem short and you are dead right to steer away from a teacher who plays too much during the lesson...I reckon most lessons they shouldn't play at all. The last teacher I had was younger but only a couple of years and he was a fine gent. I just googled him and he is now managing director of an Investment firm based in the British Virgin Islands. A fine axeman is lost to the lure of the tax haven tropics once more.

The post was a hoot by the way. The wife and I laughed very much when I read it to her.

10/3/08 22:05  
Blogger silky-D said...

tonight we shall see if Silky-D has mastered the Aeolian scale. And I always thought it was a kind of harp.

11/3/08 08:01  
Blogger silky-D said...

13. He says ''eckspecially''

14. He asked me if I knew who Robert Johnson was.

18/3/08 18:43  
Blogger Unrelenting Tedium said...

Are you feeling any improvement? You, at the very least, now know the aeolian scale...Crafty had the box set early on and shortly afterwards sold his soul to the devil...which is why we have such a fine tubs man at our disposal.

19/3/08 10:27  
Blogger silky-D said...

I was raised on the box set, my dad being a bluesman of great enthusiasm, if not great renown.

All this talk puts me in mind of the great 1980's movie, Crossroads, in which Ralph Machio plays a virtuoso classical guitarist who discovers the blues and ends up in a dazzling guitar battle with the devil (played by Steve Vai). Machio's parts, if I remember correctly, were actually played by Ry Cooder.

Man I wish I could see that movie again.

Last night we tackled the extended pentatonic, meaning I am now equally hesitant and vague about three scales (pentatonic, aeolian, extended pentatonic). Then we ripped through some black magic woman and a little bit of Robert Johnson.

Then my teacher played the entire solo from November Rain, complete with orgasmic guitar faces, before remarking six minutes later that he was surprised to discover time was up and the lesson over.

I have some pretty tricky exercises to be going on with, though, and if I practise as much as I intend to will be at Machio-level before too long.

Has p-borg fallen off his motorcycle and died? Or perhaps joined some sort of outlaw biker gang and taken an oath of silence?

19/3/08 10:59  
Blogger Paddy said...

Yes I have. Bummer.

I saw Crossroads many years ago when I was “researching” a talk I had to do at school about the blues and I always thought the climax was a farce: Macchio defeats Vai not by playing the blues which was the reason he was there but by playing some Paganini guitar exercises which he had rejected in the first quarter of an hour of the movie. Wholly invalidates the point of the movie. Ridiculous!

Scales, scales, scales! Learn to love your scales. Scales are awesome. Play your scales in the morning. Play your scales in the evening. Play your scales up hill and play your scales down dale. Harp on about that aeolian. Drink that pentatonic with your gin. If you practise scales as much as you intend to you will shortly outshine Macchio, Vai, and Squids aplenty. Hurrah!

19/3/08 11:46  
Blogger silky-D said...

ahhh, I knew I could prompt you into commenting by slagging you off in public. A cheap tactic and I apologise for it.

Perhaps I have misremembered Crossroads. I do remember thinking it awesome but I saw it circa 1987 when I was a less discerning, though equally opinionated, film critic. I'd love to see it again, though, I stand by that.

One of the great things about living somewhere where you have no friends is that you get to spend lots of time on repetitive musical exercises.

19/3/08 12:15  
Blogger Unrelenting Tedium said...

Another observation about the denouement of Crossroads. Vai plays a devilishly hard run up the neck consisting a billion notes, modulations, modes and scales only to fluff it repeatedly on the simple bend at the end.

Most rock guitarists have made a fine career out of the pentatonic scale, nevermind the oxymoronic extended pentatonic.

24/3/08 12:25  
Blogger silky-D said...

I'm impressed by how clearly you remember Crossroads. Have been dilligently practising my scales, though I still have very little idea of when to play each one. Oh well, baby steps.

24/3/08 12:39  
Blogger Unrelenting Tedium said...

Shut up about babies.

24/3/08 14:13  
Blogger silky-D said...

15. He cancelled my last lesson because he had a gig. When I complained he tried to sell me a bootleg CD of the gig. It was jazz.

10/4/08 14:32  

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