Posts tagged guitar
The Snowman: A Guitar Reimagining

While I dislike the commercial compulsion to push the beginning of the Christmas season so far back it essentially starts on Halloween, I'm hoping this piece of music I'm sharing with you is obscure enough that it won't be conjuring any visions of sugarplum fairies in mid-November.

I think I first saw The Snowman when I was in pre-school. I remember being captivated by the mesmerizing colored-pencil animation, the dreamlike atmosphere, the gorgeous music and, of course, the unusually heartbreaking ending. It's a faithful adaptation of the wordless children's book by Raymond Briggs that has always stuck with me, so I bought it on DVD several years ago. It's only as an adult that I can fully appreciate it for being the masterful work of art it is.

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Why I Play Guitar

Guitar was not my first choice of instruments. It wasn't even my second. But it became clear that it was the right choice for me.

It's pretty interesting how certain instruments speak to certain people. It can say a lot about you and your creative needs. I started playing music pretty young by learning some recorder in 1st grade and playing in the church bell choir. I got my first taste of formal music training by playing saxophone in 5th and 6th grade, which I enjoyed, but I quit once I realized I didn't really like my musical output being entirely at the whim of a school bandleader. That, and I had already memorized the Pink Panther theme. Next!

By that time I had known what I really wanted to play for at least a year: drums. They were the epitome of cool. You could bash things with sticks and make musical sounds. Drum fills excited me (still do). And there was something about a killer groove that made me feel some way I couldn't describe (but it felt great). But there was one issue: my parents weren't too keen on being subjected to the constant din of drum practice. Fair enough.

So drums were out. Fine. I figured I'd just play bass. Seemed like a pretty cool thing to play. It was rhythmic and helped keep the groove. It was basically the drums of the stringed instrument family (actually, piano is more of a combination of percussion and strings, but whatever). There was another problem, though: I was tiny for my age and didn't have freakishly, disproportionately-large hands, so bass was going to be a struggle. "Why don't you take guitar lessons for six months," my mom told me. "Then if you still want to play bass, you can switch."

Fine. I'll play guitar. Even though my sister took lessons and my brother plays and everyone in the world plays guitar and it's the obvious choice and I want to do something different but whatever it will be my path to something more interesting like bass or maybe even drums someday. Fine. Buy me a cheap, pawn shop acoustic that's barely playable and will turn my virgin fingertips purple. Fine!

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