When I was a little kid I had a guitar, well it belonged to my father, but he played it very rarely, although he could play. I can remember at the age of about 5 sitting around with it, just strumming and making noise, playing no real chords or anything, but for me it was all kinds of fun. When my parents got divorced when I was 6 the guitar stayed. I’m not really sure why, but it was always with me. Now, I was always into music, and I had so many records, ((( yes records not CDs ))). My mother even took me to see the band KISS when I was 9 years old, that was in 1977. A few years later when I turned 12, I started getting into Punk Rock music, and along with a friend decided to start a band, so I asked my mother if I could take guitar lessons. I took lessons for about 1 year, and well, ya know, I wasn’t the best student, but I learned some chords and a few songs, but that was enough for me. I took it from there and became more or less self taught. I played in a few bands in my teens, but it became too much like having a full time job, so I no longer enjoyed it and stopped doing the whole “band thing”. Alas all of this is not the point of this little soapbox article, but what is the point? The point is that after I learned to play a little, and even when I didn’t know how to play, the guitar was always with me. It became for many years more or less my best friend, and this is the truth of it. When I had nothing and no one, I had my guitar, and it may sound cliché’ or lame, but it’s honestly the truth. I remember there was a point when I was 18 that I would play my guitar for 6 hours a day. There was just something about being able to sit down and play. I found after a few years of playing that there were times that I was absolutely shocked at the type of music that came out of me. Shocked because it was usually music that I wouldn’t be caught dead buying or listening too. For example, I liked fast heavy music, and that’s what I like to play on my guitar, but for a good portion of the time I would play just how I felt, or what ever moved me, and sometimes the music that would come out was the most gentle and beautiful sounding music. But I found it so amazing, it almost like I had no choice in what I wanted to play. It just came out.
I have asked many people over the years if they play an instrument, and they casually say, no. I often wonder if they even hear the question, because they answer so quickly. It strikes me as sad a little, because, and this is just my opinion, if you may never truly know what’s inside of you if you never learn to play anything. To me, if I didn’t play the guitar I would have cheated myself. You don’t have to play like a pro or even well , you just have to play something a little. Then you will start to find out what’s really inside of you. It’s really amazing. I recommend everyone learn to play something at least once in their life. You owe it to yourself.
And all that being true, the same case can be made for learning a language such as English or Japanese. It doesn’t make a difference what experience you have, until you try you just don’t know what you’re capable of.