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Listen and Learn Music: Friday Fave: My Guitar

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Fave: My Guitar

This week, I've been thinking a lot about my career thus far as a music therapist. Since graduating from college with a performance degree and making the decision to pursue music therapy back in 2004, I've had quite a journey! I have experienced a lot of change - three different cities, many settings, countless new friends and mentors - but through it all, one thing has been by my side: my guitar.

I had never picked up a guitar, nor had any interest in doing so, before my mom and I ventured into the Guitar Center in Winter Park, Florida, just days before taking my last undergraduate final and heading back to Illinois. I fell in love with a nylon-stringed beauty, and it made the long trip home with us. I learned my first chords on that guitar. But when I met my guitar teacher at my first lesson, he recommended that I buy a steel-string guitar with pick-ups so that I could be a more versatile player. He showed me a Dean acoustic-electric right there in the store, and immediately, I knew I had to have it.

That guitar went to graduate school with me, where I used it through all four practicums. I used it during my internship, too, even though one of my supervisors offered to let me use hers. When I started my first (and current) job as the music therapist at The Hope Institute, the school purchased a new guitar for me. But my old Dean was always in my trunk, traveling with me after school to my clients' homes.

Now that I see clients in my home studio, I don't have to subject my guitar to the elements every day. Well, the outdoor elements. I have to be honest: it has seen a beating or two from my students, most of whom have no ill intentions. There are a couple nicks and scratches on the body, but I'd say that is pretty impressive, considering all that it has been through.

My guitar (which I used for the very first gig I played and every one since) has a rich, gorgeous sound, looks pretty, and feels like an extension of me. My journey as a music therapist will continue, and things will change, but I don't plan on going anywhere without it. I will be forever grateful to that guitar teacher; he only gave me four lessons (I decided I could teach myself) but he introduced me to one of my most favorite possessions in the world.

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At December 18, 2009 at 2:36 PM , Blogger Erin said...

Rachel, it is blatantly obvious that your guitar is one of your favorite things! You're just so good, and your songs that you compose (with guitar, no less!) are absolutely precious. Thank you so much for sharing your talents with us!

At December 18, 2009 at 10:36 PM , Blogger Adelaide Dupont said...

When I was a jeune fille, I was given an uklele for Christmas. I drew on it, similar to your students (without their ill intentions!).

Guitar teachers, too, have their recommendations and opinions. One David Miedzianik's guitar teacher recommended that he play a 12-string guitar 'because everything has to be new in pop music'. Miedzianik thought he would get a fuller sound with 12 strings. At the time (1998 when I was reading) I thought guitars had 4 or 6 strings.

And what a wonderful bond you seem to have had with your own guitar teacher.

Have a great time at the four-year-old party! I'm sure many of the children will too. A guitar is a very approachable instrument, and it seems to work especially well with piano, as I learnt when watching Inglorious Basterds. The initial soundtrack played one of Chopin's polonaises with guitar accompaniment. The piano was staccato; the dynamic was tense.

At December 20, 2009 at 7:45 PM , Blogger Roia said...

I too am in love with my guitars. Yes, I have four of them. My main instrument in college was the classical guitar, and I seem to have gathered a little tribe of guitars around me. I still have my very first one which I got when I still lived in Iran. My most recent acquisition is a beautiful Luna guitar with a henna tattoo.

May you play your lovely guitar in happiness!


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