Ahh, spring has arrived, no matter where you live north of the equator, and with it a matching calendar that says so. This brings about the changes and annual events that coincide. One is graduation. It can be from Kindergarten or a University but it marks the end of one phase of education to the next or it can be the end of your official education and entry into the "world" and all of the unique challenges and connotations that exist. The first big time job search where you may just experience a singular professional taste and find it not to your liking. Or something scary could happen and 40 years pass accompanied by one employer and, these days very likely, a polite kiss on the way out of the door. Where does a guitar come into this picture? Get to the point please.

         One thing about playing the guitar is that we never graduate. Some might consider this idea frustrating. If you are fortunate to have graduated from a prestigious university with a degree in music, a Doctorate even, you will never finish. The guitar is meant to be explored sonically, rhythmically, creatively and tonally until they toss dirt on your box. I certainly believe that a music education, theory and that kind of stuff, can be mastered but it's application to the instrument we love can never be. If that possibility existed then that would be frustrating and infuriating. "What? I know it all and can play it…all? That's it? The same stuff over and over again? Ahh man. That's horrible!"

        I think you get the idea. Unfortunately for some of us, OK all of us at some time in our lives, this becomes a phase. "I've been studying for soooo long. It's time just to just use what I've got because I'm tired of studying." Yep. Been there. What is hard is to get back at it just like it's hard to go back to school to finish up that degree as an adult. The good thing is that as an adult you don't just sit through a class trying to get that credit but you will have a real interest in the subject that is being taught. We all love the guitar. It's reasonable to assume that going back will be, well, fun. Fun? Yeah, fun. That's why we started playing and why we continue. Fun. 

        So dust off the old brain cells and fire up some synapses. Learn about something that interests you. Pedals? Amps? Guitars? You can even be much braver and start to wean in some new techniques and timing and even some new "music" knowledge. It's OK. Just start small at first. You don't need to jump into the scale modes to start off. Possibly an extension of what you think you know. You might be surprised by going back to review familiar concepts and find out that there is more to it. (There will be. Trust me. I'm a teacher.) 

       Congratulations if you were just given the words, "You may now place your tassel to the other side". Enjoy some time off. You deserve it. The "world" has a unique perspective. Just remember to never stop your education and feed your interests. They are already hungry.


by Robert Gundry