Amateur Guitarist

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Kleon’s “Show Your Work” really elicits a sigh of relief, and particularly from college students. Perhaps we are the most acutely aware of our being unqualified for “real world success.”
This is the first time I’ve ever been encouraged to embrace my amateur-ness, and that, for one, is an assignment I feel fully capable of doing. I’m an amateur. I’m a dreamer deep down and a recovering perfectionist, and those two qualities want to cancel the other out.

I often refer to myself as an amateur guitar player. I love guitar. I have always loved music and singing, and always wanted to be able to play an instrument to accompany my singing. I tried piano, but I didn’t love it. When I was fifteen, I taught myself to play guitar on a $30 eBay guitar, and that’s when I fell in love.
For my sixteenth birthday I was given the most beautiful Seagull acoustic guitar, and since then I’ve been playing. Particularly over the past year I’ve had the privilege to lead worship at a few local churches, amateur-ness and all. There’s nothing I love more.



jmalone's picture

As a dreamer, a perfectionist

As a dreamer, a perfectionist, and lesson-less guitar-player myself, this really was a great post, Emily! I've always kind of loved the 'amateur-ness,' as you put it, of the instrument. All around the world there are tons of classically-trained musicians that could play everything from Bach to Beethoven without (literally) missing a bit, but the guitar kind of flies in the face of that. Rock and Roll brought both the six-string and a lack of professionalism that came with it to the top of the charts, and knowing that everyone from Hendrix to Clapton started out in much the same way--on a cheap guitar and a passion for doing something--is honestly really exemplary of Kleon's text. Any classical guitar teacher would probably flip at the sight of one of their students holding their thumb over the neck as those two do, so its as if the amateurs get to be the professionals in certain spheres like this. Maybe that's what makes it so fun!

kgthoma's picture

Hey Emily

First off, I related a lot to your post. (Not the music part because I am totally tone deaf.) But I really related to when you said that you are both a dreamer and a perfectionist. I often feel this way so it is good to know that I am not alone and I hope that you take solace in that as well. To quote John Lennon, "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

I also love that you are embracing what Kelon says about amateurs and doing something purely out of love and not skill, though I am sure that you have some of that too. Keep singing and playing guitar!

Ps. I loved the link to "3 Lies You'll Hear About Successful People"!

tpom13's picture

I really loved how you talked

I really loved how you talked about Kleon's work and embraced it. I can tell by your words that you really love the guitar, and you are right, it is easy to talk about things we love. Guitars are awesome instruments, and I envy anyone who are good at them. I'm glad you also like to sing along while you play. That is a skill as well, it is sometimes hard to multitask like that.
Keep playing!