18 and Life

I graduated high school, not with honors, but with long hair and dreams. Traveling 2,000 miles (or mules as my smartphone auto-speller suggested) from a small town to Hollywood, CA to attend the Guitar Institute of Technology was a life changing experience.

This was in the days before email. Young and far from home, I believed all things possible. I had been playing guitar for about 2 1/2 years, and though I hand a few lessons, I was mostly self taught.

My most aggressive practice schedule was twelve hours a day, every minute tracked on a kitchen timer. Fifteen minutes to eat breakfast, fifteen minutes to shower, and then I turned on the metronome for two or three hours of scales and arpeggios. Ear training, sight reading, songs, and theory followed. I also had an intense schedule of classes.

At eighteen, I understood how to pursue a dream–all the way, all the time, and with no excuses. I firmly believed that success was up to me and that hard work would pay off.

I still play in a band, though I returned to my first passion, writing. But whatever the dream, work is what makes it happen. There are no short cuts. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

I firmly believe anyone can learn to play guitar. All it takes is practice. Notice I didn’t say instruction was necessary. Sure, a good teacher makes the process a lot faster, but I know a lot of self taught musicians.

What is your dream? Are you doing everything you can to make it happen?


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