Remedial Adult Guitar Student

By Carrie Pokrefke

Back in the spring, I decided that I wanted to take guitar lessons.  Or at least try it out to see if I liked it enough to sign up for it.  I tried to find a place in the area that would let me rent a guitar AND take lessons, but the only place that did closed.  I ended up with a guitar and found a place over the weekend that let’s you try a lesson before making a commitment.  So, I signed up, got the email reminder the afternoon of my lesson and headed over to the music store that evening for my first lesson.


I walked in and then my new guitar teacher led me down a hall, past a few (much) younger students taking various music lessons.  That was probably the first moment that I realized my age and it dawned on me what I was actually doing.  I was about to take a guitar lesson.  A whole new instrument.  At my age?  What?  

We went into a room and we started going over the parts of the guitar and he showed me how to tune my guitar.  Then we started going over notes.  Every Good Boy Does Fine.  FACE.  There was a method book on a music stand and we were going over counts and…… I was instantly transported back to the band room at the convent at St. Francis in Vicksburg.

I’m all about living life outside my comfort zone.  I firmly believe that’s where growth lies.  But for this, I thought I was doing something new and exciting, but somewhat familiar and still in my comfort zone.  And then all of a sudden I was reminded of not practicing my trumpet when I was younger, not living up to my potential and therefore being a mediocre trumpet player, which was just awkward and not a whole lot of fun.

I starting playing the trumpet in 5th grade.  I really don’t know why I even picked the trumpet.  I was always envious of the flute and clarinet players because their cases were so light and small.  I did not practice like our band instructor expected us to at home (I wonder if my parents are secretly glad I didn’t practice a lot in the house?).  Which meant I was never first chair.  I’m sure I sat in the last chair most of my trumpet career.  Until I picked up the french horn to play in the concert band in high school.  And the only reason I was first chair is because I was the only chair.  Which means I was first and last chair all at once.

Here I was back in 2014, staring at this guitar method book, learning notes and chords on the guitar, feeling guilty for never practicing my trumpet when I was 10 and hoping that I was not doomed to repeat my mistake (26 years later, mind you) and end up a mediocre guitar player.  I felt like a remedial adult guitar student and stumbled through the rest of my lesson, feeling like a newbie trumpet player in 5th grade all over again.

And my lesson was only 30 minutes.  🙂

At the end of the lesson, my fingers hurt.  I was pleased that, despite feeling like an awkward 5th grader, I learned three notes and three chords.  And my teacher said I did a good job.  As I drove home with the windows down, I made a vow to actually practice.  Luckily, my parents won’t have to listen to me learn another instrument.