Friday, 29 May 2015

And now the truth ...

(That's me trying to play the guitar)
I’ve always wanted to be able to play a musical instrument.
I started with something simple – the harmonica. All you have to do is suck and blow and suck and blow as you move the instrument left and right in your mouth. It was fun and easy. Sadly, it made the cat climb up the curtains and the dog howl whilst the rest of the family screamed at me all at once.
So I tried taking lessons at playing the guitar. We started with tuning exercises. I had to hold the strings tightly against the neck of the guitar with the left hand and pick at the strings with the right hand!
The problem was that my left hand did its job all right. But the right hand kept moving up and down frantically a few millimeters away from the strings. When the instructor suggested I move my hand a little closer somehow my fingers got all tangled up in the strings with a horrendous sound.
I just could not co-ordinate both hands to do what they were supposed to. Sometimes my left hand moved up and down on the guitar neck, whilst the other hand pushed the fingers into that hole you have in the main body of the instrument.
My patient instructor suggested I use a plectrum. That’s a small triangular piece of plastic which you hold between your fingers to pick at the guitar strings.
As I tried to hit the strings with the plastic bit it flew out of my hand and hit the instructor straight in the eye. Would you believe it? It could have gone anywhere … but NOOOOO !!! In my case it went straight in his eye.
(I drew the cartoon. Honest truth!) 
He was taken to hospital and the rest of the class blamed me for a ruined guitar lesson. I mean … why not blame the stupid plastic triangle?
I gave up the guitar and decided to self-teach myself the violin instead. No plectrums or picks … just a long stick which you move up and down over the strings and sound comes out.
I bought myself an expensive violin and decided to learn at home using a book and a CD I got from the library.
It made some good sounds I tell you. The cat still climbed at the top of the curtain and the dog hid in his kennel. The rest of the family chose to go out shopping instead!
It was then that I noticed that whilst playing the violin I had a tendency to walk up and down the room instead of standing still. At first I did not know why I was doing this; then I realized that the music I was playing had been written for the bagpipes.
So I sold my old Stradivarius at a garage sale and used the proceeds to buy a set of bagpipes and drums.
I practiced for hours in our garden sometimes marching up and down with the bagpipes, and at other times using the big drum whilst playing back a recording of my bagpipes practice sessions.
I became really good at the pipes and drums and could soon play Chopin’s piano concertos as well as a number of other famous tunes written by all the well known composers. Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Michelangelo … I could play them all.
However I noticed that our neighbours had become a little un-friendly and somewhat uncharitable. One suggested that I play far away but I could not find the sheet music to that tune.
I tried practicing indoors but there was not enough room to march up and down. So I walked on the treadmill whilst playing the bagpipes and watching TV at the same time.
I sometimes practiced in the garden at night so as not to wake up the rest of the family.
A jovial neighbour always opened his window and shouted “Stop banging that **** drum at three in the morning!” What a laugh that was!
I could even play “Silent Night” on the big drum, you know. For some strange reason our priest refused to let me play it on the drum at the Christmas Carol Concert.
I eventually gave up on the bagpipes due to several letters received from various solicitors. They were all written in the same threatening tone of voice … including the one sent on behalf of my wife.
The thing is … I love music. Putting a piece of paper over a comb and humming quietly doesn’t sound quite the same. Does it?


  1. You seem to have a real talent for drawing, Victor. So perhaps you could listen to music while drawing?

    FUNNY, Victor! My Saturday laugh!

    1. Hi Lulu,

      I often listen to music whilst writing/reading on the computer, or around the house. I like country music, classics, religious music and Gregorian chants, pop music from the 60's to the mid-90's - but defonetly NOT any music from 13 November 1994. This was the day my radio broke!

      I draw a little, and paint too! Just finished painting the front room and the garden shed.

      God bless you Lulu.

  2. Very cute. I tried the guitar, but I am probably tone deaf. I cannot tune a guitar if the world's existence depended on it. So every time my guitar fell out of tune I spent HOURS trying to re-tune it. I eventually gave up. Now I play the radio exquisitely.

    1. That's exactly my problem, Rich. All guitars sound the same, whether tuned or not.

      God bless.

  3. Here's a true story. When I was about ten or so my mother decided to bring me to a music teacher to try to instill some culture in me. I selected a saxophone and after one lesson the music teacher told my mother to save her money. The kid had no talent. LOL. Now how bad must I have been if the teacher dumped a paying customer after a single lesson?

    1. It's a shame Manny that, like me, you were unable to master an instrument. Although I guess the saxophone must have been very difficult to play.

      God bless.

  4. Hi Victor! You had me fooled! I think it's a tragedy that you have such a love for music, but such a hard time learning an instrument (except the bagpipes and drum of course). It reminds me of my Dad. He took piano lessons twice as an adult. He really wanted to learn, but he just didn't have an ear for it at all. So I know your pain.

    I say go for the comb and paper. Why not?

    1. Sadly Ceil, I did give the guitar a go with lessons at a nearby college with no progress. I tried the piano too, including those electric ones which sound like different instruments; but like your Dad, I could not master it. I can make some noise on the harmonica and the paper and comb though.

      God bless.

  5. No musical talent here either. I tried (emphasis on "tried") to learn the guitar and also gave up. I'm sure my parents where more than pleased that I did. So now I stick with quiet typing instead. My husband applauds this decision.

    1. Sorry to hear you were as successful as me with the guitar, Sparky.

      God bless.



God bless you.

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