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IronShadows28
12-02-2005, 10:18 PM
Hey everybody. I have sort of a predicament, but first Id like to introduce myself as a guitarist. I am 16 years old, and I have been playing guitar for about 4 years. Im a long time reader of the articles on IBM but I've rarely browsed the forums. In the four years I have been playing, I have gone in and out of my little "phases". I have been through, classic rock, shred (never really got too far on this one), metal (power metal, melodic death, death, metalcore etc), blues, and probably a few others Ive forgotton. My latest obsession has been sort of depressing acoustic alternative/folk in the style of Nick Drake, Iron and Wine, Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stevens etc and I have been trying to write in this style. My guitar teacher, whom Ive been playing with for about 2 and a half years of my playing, is mainly a blues guitarist but he can play almost any style (aside from shred and other very technical genres) and he is helping me with my acoustic writing right now.

Anyway, now for my problem. A friend of mine, who is in the school band told me that the after school jazz band needed a guitar player. I told him he could sign me up because, 1. Ive been meaning to get involved with a music program at our school, because we have a really good performing arts section, and 2. Ive been meaning to learn some music theory to help my writing, and 3. I played guitar in 8th grade jazz band and it was easier because I had played acoustic and no one could hear me.So anyway, I show up, and the teacher hands me the music, and of course its full of chords that I dont know. I was sort of nervous after I got the music, but I managed the first song by turning my amp down and just playing the root chord (F13 is just an F for example). I couldnt really follow the music too well. I mean I know what most of it means, because I played trombone elementary and middle school, but I just couldnt apply it to my guitar. Then he hands us the second piece which was the James Brown song "Papa got a Brand New Bag". I dont know how many of you have heard that song, but right after he sings the chorus "papa got a brand new bag" the guitar rapidly but precisely strums a high C octave.My friend who is like a music theory machine and sits next to me and plays bass tried to explain the timing and rhythm for it to me before we started but I still didnt get it. I cant tell you how much I messed this up. The teacher then asked me if I read music and I said a little. I felt so clueless and as low as a dog. When I got home I thought about it alot and I was pretty sad because I had made a complete jackass out of myself. I was wondering if this was really for me. I mean I obviously dont have the required skill. And if it was, I would have to completely 100% dedicate myself to relearning music and sight reading and apply it to guitar, and I would have to do it extremely fast fast. My thoughts about it have changed a lot over the past 24 hours. I figure if I didnt have the required skill, now would be the chance to learn it. I mean Im obviously going to need to know how to read music if I want to keep going with music. Also Ive known myself to chicken out of things like this. I told myself I wouldnt this time but Im having doubts. If I do, Ill feel like a quitter and Ill feel really crappy about it.

What should I do? If I do decide to stick with it, how do I go about learning all the stuff I need for this? My guitar teacher doesnt read music by the way, but he knows a decent amount of theory and could probably teach me the chords. Also If I do stick with it, is it going to take the place of my acoustic writing? Like I said I would probably have to 100% dedicate myself to it, and thats one of the things Im afraid of.

silent-storm
12-03-2005, 02:03 AM
Well, are you self motivated enough to improve your playing on your own as much as it will improve by throwing yourself into a pressure cooker by being forced to learn things NOW? And even if it doesn't, don't you think learning how to read music and learning a bazillion new chords improve your writing way more then just by working with what you have?

Take the stuff to your guitar teacher and get as much out of him as possible. He'll be able to show you all the chords you need to know. Find the recordings, you can slow them down using windows media player ('enhancements' under some random tab thingy...then 'play speed settings') and just PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE.

Of course this is all just personal oppinion, but if you really dedicate yourself by throwing yourself into unfamiliar territory you will see the biggest jump in improvement in all your life...gauranteed you wont regret it...actually more then that, if in the end you get all this stuff down you will probably say to yourself "what the hell was I thinking to even consider not doing this stuff." These opportunities don't present themselves too often, especially when you are still young, so take everything that happens to come your way. Who cares if you made an *** of yourself and who cares if you continue to do so for the next few rehearsals...at the end of the day you've learned exactly what you need to be working on, end up with twice as many skills as you went in with and in a year or so you'll never see most of these people again in all your life. At this stage it's all just about personal development.

smallbusrider
12-03-2005, 04:24 AM
reading music is easy...sight reading it is a bitch!!! lol :D

jade_bodhi
12-03-2005, 08:57 AM
Don't quit. Perhaps this opportunity presents itself for reasons you won't know for a while yet. You don't have to pretend to be anything your not or claim skills you don't have yet. Find where you fit in best, and that place may change from song to song, depending on the areas where you do have skill and knowledge.

You have the good sense to turn down your amp when you're uncertain. That in itself shows promise. :D

It sounds like your teacher might be able to help you master the charts week by week, too.

metaljustice83
12-19-2005, 05:31 AM
sounds very similar to my first jazz band experience. Stick with it you won't regret it! At least I didn't! As far as learning, just get a chord book, a large one, and try to learn as many chords as you can. Start witha few moveable 7th chord forms, and then build from there. Your instructor will give you the ins and outs. Plus if you show them that you are willing to learn, it will help them help you. Good luck!