just practice

Posted on Feb 17, 2012

I studied piano for nearly 10 years as a kid, and still love to play.

I sang for many years in choirs, and once upon a time, was even selected for the Virginia All-State Chorus.

I’ve got many years of memories performing in musical theater.

Music has, and always will be, an important part of my life.

But I’ve never learned guitar. Never written songs for guitar. Never sung and played guitar. Until now.

On late Monday night February 13, after wrapping up a class I was teaching at UVA, I was thrilled to mark my first guitar lesson.

I stopped by a little woodframed cottage in Belmont, tucked back down an alley behind Bruffey’s Radiator Shop, to meet up with my teacher, Jamie Dyer.

Jamie is one of Charlottesville’s most talented and venerable singer-songwriters— the driving force behind the Hogwaller Ramblers —not to mention a dear old friend who has never failed to make me think or laugh. His talent and love of music have always been an inspiration to me.

Jamie lent me a beat-up old guitar to learn on, and got me started with a few chords.

Just practice, he said. See you next Monday night.

So this week I’ve discovered a new habit: strumming chords hour after hour into the middle of the night. G, C, D, mix it up, throw in some more, and on and on.

I cannot describe the joy that overtakes me now when I pick up that beat-up old guitar.

My fingertips are killing me, yes— ouch— but I know that’s temporary. Just practice.

And I’m really bad, sure— but I know that’s temporary too. Just practice.

I’m willing to be bad at first, to be patient with myself— because I know I’m going to be good. Really good. It’s just practice.

See you next Monday, Jamie— and thank you!

Check out Jamie Dyer singing and playing with the Hogwallers:

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