Rosie the Rose.

           I have a rose plant called "Rosie". Left for dead I took a pot, some dirt, fertilizer and placed it into a new window with bright sunshine. To my surprise one half dead leaf and one healthy leaf is now two separate branches with beautiful pink blooms on the top of each. All is not perfect. The suns availability changed with the season and for some reason many of the leaves have turned yellow and died and the overall growth has slowed considerably. 

        Guitar players tend to do the same thing. Some of us start with great intentions but quit after a one leaf is established. Others keep that leaf alive and keep it green but get stuck without the needs it takes to thrive. Some of us see the danger of extinction, get frustrated with our current state, and repot and fertilize and search for some sun to help grow our ability to play. Still some of us have grown well but start to wither a little over time. So what is it that makes a guitar player grow?

     Understanding. Understanding of our personal goals and what it might take to reach them. For most of us it is education and the "get off our rear ends to get it" action. It is easy to get complacent and play the same chords and the same riffs but that is the equation that will equal the yellowing of our playing leaves. For some of us it can be as simple as learning a new song or chord progression but for most of us average players (I definitely include myself in this category) it is taking on a bigger challenge of structured education. Structured education can be entering the doors of TGGI and having a great time while expanding your musical education. It can be working it out with others.

       You have to ask yourself what are your playing goals. Is it to write songs. Meet another person and play music together. Is it to have the ability to step up onto an unknown stage at a blues jam and get it on with a group of unknown musicians and play an unknown song and be able to pull it off. Is it to have the ability to get into a group. Play rhythm and lead guitar. Form a band. Play weekends. Play every night. Be a full time professional. What do you want to experience as a guitar player? What will it take to experience it?

        Unfortunately some people view learning new things with the guitar as "work". Making you finger muscles do things that they have not done before and that might be a physical challenge. Remember the first time you ever picked up a guitar and how it seemed impossible to make the simplest open chord shapes? Hopefully now you change between them without much thought. It's time to approach playing the guitar again with the same determination you started with. The objectives might be totally different. They might lie between your ears. You might have to make your mind hurt a little as it builds up some calluses so you know some playing information that will become as easy as changing from a D chord to a Am chord. It might be still physical. Working in some new chords or playing techniques that are unfamiliar. 

       For every guitarist (YOU are a guitarist! Everybody who has a guitar and has not only the desire but tries IS a guitarist. Period. I don't know of any standard or test that is given or award or degree or anything else that says this person is, or is not, a guitarist. So there. I have now just clarified it for all time and for all peoples. You can now reference it and put quotes around it. Why? Because from now on it just is. Pretty cool, huh?) there is a desire for growth. I cannot recommend playing with other musicians highly enough as one of the keys to growth. Learning a set list with the necessary on stage communication to do changes on time, to learn and agree how to start and stop a song, volume and the best of all the concept of LISTENING. 

        So if you are within reading distance of "The Gundry Guitar Institute" we would love to have you here to fertilize your growth. If that is impractical then use all of the methods you can find to advance your playing. It can only do one thing. Make it even MORE fun to play the guitar. Trust me. I'm a teacher.


by Robert Gundry