My New Year’s Resolution is to make a New Year’s Resolution.
That was easy.
It’s always around this time of year that I get a big chuckle, as I drive past the gym at 7:00 in the morning, and see that every piece of workout equipment is occupied. Then, over the next couple of weeks, I see that diminish, and diminish, until it’s back to being just the hardcore people who go jogging in the winter and run in place when they’re at a red light. (Do they also keep dancing after the music stops? hmmmmm)
I wonder if the people who go to the gym all year long think that the NYRs (New Year’s Resolutionaries) are like the people who go to church only at Christmas? But then again, I don’t remember the last time I pulled my groin at church.
(Please feel free to insert your own joke here.)
But what is the point of all of this incessant rambling? (asked the editor)
The point is simple. Be real.
If you’ve never worked out before, then committing to working out 10 times a week and dropping 200 lbs in 45 days may not be that reasonable. It certainly wouldn’t be enjoyable….and you’d be setting yourself up for failure.
That’s not to say that you can’t lose the weight, or work out more, but this time of year it’s best to have reasonable expectations and realistic goals.
What’s the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
The same goes for our playing.
As I have mentioned in the past, on my made-up scale of musical ability, with Eddie Van Halen being the best, and the sound of a rusty buzz saw chopping through my foot being the worst, I’m somewhere around…John Tesh. Musical, yes, but perhaps not as enjoyable for the listener as for the person performing.
So, it would not be in my best interest to set my 2012 guitar goal as learning how to play Joe Satriani’s entire “Surfing with the Alien” album by Valentine’s Day. To do that would likely result in frustration, a temper tantrum, and my being maritally relegated to the couch. (Or, as my French Canadian relatives call it “Maison de Woof”).
One of the beautiful things about learning and playing the guitar is that there is no predetermined order of the things you have to learn. You can focus on soloing first, or playing chords, or playing with a slide, or just working on your guitar solo face and gyrations, which are extremely important for any up-and-coming artist. But as with anything, don’t try to do it all at once. It only takes one little miscue and your face will stay all messed up and contorted like my brother Carl who tried to reproduce Rik Emmett’s face from a live performance of Rock N Roll Machine. Poor Carl still looks like he has his face pressed against a pane of glass. The most tragic part of that is that he was still better with the ladies than I was. Jerk.
But I digress.
This year, resolve to practice more often. Resolve to learn a song that you love. Resolve to learn one new chord a week. Resolve to play a new riff. Resolve to play something that’s just above your current skill level. Stretch, but don’t over reach your current skill level. Then you can adjust. If you reach your goals too quickly, set loftier ones. If you’re feeling as frustrated as the NYRs in the gym when I drive by slowly laughing and eating a doughnut, then pull back on the goals. Reset them, and work to achieving them down the road.
Above all else, make it fun. Enjoy the ride, and before you know it, we’ll all be rocking into 2013!!!
Happy New Year everyone.
(No elephants were eaten during the writing of this column.)
To find out more about Steve, click HERE