When I was 13 I got a guitar from my parents. I had already been playing my Grandpop’s old guitar that was in our attic, then a few months later I started taking weekly lessons. I already knew music theory from childhood piano lessons and playing the trumpet in the school band for several years. After a few years I stopped taking lessons, mostly because I lost interest in practicing. Practicing is hard, at least if you want to get better.

I just started taking lessons again (about 15 years later) because I want to get better. I’ll have to practice the same things over and over until I get them right. I’m trying to learn new techniques I’ve never been able to figure out on my own and it’s already frustrating. It’s also strange to feel incompetent because I have been a decent player for the last 15 years. But I have a goal and to get there, I need to push myself beyond my current abilities and even what I might think is possible.

One thing I’ve already realized is how important it is to have a great teacher. In my first lesson, I was able to express a few concerns about mental and physical limitations I thought I had, and my teacher easily explained things in a way that eliminated them instantly. He then showed me the first step to get where I want to go, and gave me the encouragement I needed to persevere through my initial frustrations. It’s incredibly valuable to have someone who has been where you are not only to show you the way, but to share the lessons they learned that will make it a little easier for you.

Things worth doing are usually difficult. Whether it’s other people doubting us or our own internal critic, the goal needs to outweigh it all. In this case, I’m really excited about what will come of this and I can’t wait to share it.