I have always thought it would be really fun to be a musician. Unfortunately, age 10 Erin didn’t want to practice piano anymore and age 11 Erin didn’t like the clarinet. So one of the items on my 26 list that I was most excited about was “learn a song on the guitar.” When I moved to the NYC area, I took the guitar my dad bought from our neighbor 10 years ago and said, “I’m taking this.” I had these visions in my head of me playing in the park with my friends, carrying my guitar through the subway, maybe even me sitting in a recording studio. Unfortunately, my guitar went unused for about a year, after already having been unused for those 9 years it sat in my dad’s office. Then, one morning, I opened up my daily Groupon, and my life changed. For those of you who are unaware, Groupons are “group coupons” offered online in major cities / metro areas. If enough people sign up, it’s a deal (spoiler alert, in a town of 8 million, enough people *always* sign up). 60% off a spa treatment, $5 off a dozen cupcakes, and the one that filled my life with rainbows and butterflies, 51% off guitar lessons at NYC Guitar School.
NYC Guitar School was founded by Dan Emery and is on 30th Street between 7th and 8th. I was lucky to have the fabulous instructor, Eliane, for my first course, “Guitar for Absolute Beginners.” The class was set up so well. One course is ten weeks long, with hour-long classes, and no more than six students per class. It was great because we benefited both from what our classmates did and asked, but also got the individual attention we needed (and I needed it). The book that came with the class was incredibly comprehensive and gave theory, chords, strums, and progressions of chords that we could apply to a number of different songs, like Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl.”
When I constructed my 26 list, I purposely said “learn *A* song on the guitar” because I thought it was going to be 10 weeks of theory and chords and strumming and then maybe I would be able to put it together into something that resembled a song. I never imagined that at the end of my lessons I would have learned the basics to play thousands of songs. And not only have I been able to learn the songs that the school gave us to learn, classics like, “Stand by Me”, “Wild Thing”, and “My Girl,” but I have also been able to look up and learn some newer crowdpleasers, like Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours,” and Oasis’ “Wonderwall.”
I obviously still have a lot of work and practice to do, but I have already signed up for the “Guitar for Near Beginners” course and will start up my lessons next week. One of the things that is really hard for me is that I always want to strum to the lyrics of the song instead of in a steady rhythm. I’m trying to focus on the strumming patterns before I bring my singing into it, but it’s just so much more fun to sing along! I’ll update this when I finish my next course and show you my stuff. In the meantime, keep an eye out for me on the subway platform and in Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park.