I don't come from a musical family but my mom did (and still does) own an acoustic guitar (yep, the exact same guitar) for as long as I can remember. I'm pretty sure she had it before I existed. I remember asking her to teach me to play it on several occasions. She would show me how to play a chord and I would try for 5 minutes and then it was cartoons or riding my bike or whatever my 10 year old self was into at the time. Not girls. Definitely not girls. Yuck!
Later in life, college age days, I became friends with a couple of guys, Drake and Scott, who played guitar and I became interested again. Drake had an old electric guitar that didn't work but it allowed me to practice chord positions. It would kind of tune and even if you don't plug in an electric guitar you can still kind of make out the tone from the strings. Also, it was quiet so I could practice with it pretty much anywhere and that's what I did.
Eventually I needed to really know if I was playing the chords the right way so I asked my mom if I could use her guitar to continue practicing. Sure enough, I wasn't playing the chords all that well. But over time, I got better. I started learning how to play existing songs by learning to read tablature. I even started writing some of my own songs. I wooed my wife with my ability to play the intro to Metallica songs and put music to some of my poetry. Today, I play just about every Sunday in my church's worship band.
The thing is, I never took lessons and I never bothered to try and learn to read music. Tabs are great. I use them to this day and even guitar books you buy that have the transposed sheet music still have the tabs for guitar players. For church, I mostly just need to see chords; G, A, Em, even the dreaded flats Ab, Eb Db shutter.
Now that I'm older and wiser I really want to learn more about music theory and how to read music. I want to know why a G chord is a G chord. I want to look at the strings and frets on my guitar and know where every single note is on the neck.
Saturday, I begin guitar lessons with Vance Music Studio. My wife has been taking cello lessons from Rex Vance for nearly 3 years and my daughter is taking violin lessons from Marissa Vance. As a family we've been really involved with the Vance family; helping with photography, videography, and we really like their approach to teaching music. They are truly a staple here in Wichita.
I'll be taking my guitar lessons from Meghan Vance and I couldn't be more excited. It is going to be a challenge for both of us. I'm not starting from scratch. I've been playing a guitar for about 20 years; you wouldn't know it listening to me play. I'm sure I have a lot of bad habits to break.
I'm really looking forward to the challenge, the structure, and even the recitals where I'll be forced to say these words,
My name is Gregg and I shall play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
Music has always been a big part of my life in some way and this is just another part of my journey in life. I'm not trying to be the next Jimmy Page or B.B. King. But we can all get better at anything with a little practice.