Have you ever been watching the Olympics and think; “that looks easy”? Generally, when you watch someone who is very good at what they do actually doing it; it looks easy. It looks deceptively easy. As grown adults we usually have the presence of mind to realize that, in reality, it is not in the realm of possibility that you will be able to go buy a pair of skates and be capable of gliding around on ice doing flips. So, instead we watch and cheer and just sit in awe.
Now some of you know right where I’m going with this. You know me and you know that I was only going to be able to sit strumming E,E,E,D,D,D for so long. Well, here’s how it happened. I was watching an old video of Kiss playing Every Time I Look at You.
Kiss is someone who is very good at what they do and me, well, we don’t know what’s wrong with me, I thought “I bet I can do that.” I wasn’t thinking I could play that song but I did think I could start playing songs with more than one chord. I watched Paul Stanley’s hands glide across the frets, effortlessly going from note to note, chord to chord, not even paying any attention. His hands just did it with no thought at all. This is usually the part when, as a grown adult, I realize that he started just like me doing E,E,E,D,D,D but that would be too easy.
No, I decide it’s time to stop going so slow. Screw the basics, I can do this. So, I get my guitar and get into position. I start slow with my E chord then go to my D chord. Once I have sufficiently convinced myself that my fingers know where to go with little effort I start strumming away. I’m going to switch chords without missing a beat. I know I can do it. I know it’s time to move on with my training. Off I go…
You thought I was going to fail didn’t you? I was strumming away with my fingers on D. I can feel it’s time to switch and I begin to slide my fingers into the all too familiar E chord position. I keep strumming and to my pleasant surprise, it sounds good. I think I did it. I keep playing, moving back and forth from D to E and back again. I was thrilled. Then it happened. I looked down. I couldn’t just leave well enough alone. I actually wanted to watch my new accomplishment. As I switched from D to E again I notice something; my stupid fingers have been disobeying me this whole time. They’re moving alright- they’re moving from one fret to another but my fingers themselves are staying in the same position. They’re on the same strings just a different fret. I’m playing the same stupid note, just a different octave.
Basically, I was moving my entire hand not my fingers. Normally, I would have gotten very upset probably even cried but I surprised myself. Instead, I laughed. More impressive than that I just put my fingers on the E chord and started my E,E,E,D,D,D jam all over again. I’m not Paul Stanley and I’m ok with that (for many reasons). I have to learn at my level and pace. For right now I’m going to move on to the A chord.
But, I’m never going stop watching the Olympics and I’m never going to stop thinking; “I can do that”. Because, who knows, with enough work and patience someday I could.