Monday, March 13, 2006

New wine in an old bottle

It feels like that is what I am trying to be these days. I always believed that age was no bar when it comes to learning new things. We have all seen or heard of someone who ran his first marathon at age 80+ (got into running at 70+), became a violin virtuoso at a ripe old age, mastered Doom3 at age 90, etc. These are inspiring tales, but achieving that distinction is not easy.

I recently started taking guitar lessons. I went into it confidently since I have a decent ear for music, and always loved the guitar. One of my goals is to be able to play the solo in Hotel California and Comfortably Numb (and a few others). Things started off smoothly until I hit barre chords. Man, they are a pain in the neck. The beauty of the barre chords is that by learning a few chord shapes (just four, for all the major and minor chords), you can play any chord. That is powerful stuff. The chord voicing may not be the same as in your favorite song, but you can play the chord. The difficulty in playing this chord pattern is that you need to create a barre with your index finger of the left hand. This barre should cover all the six strings, while the other fingers are shaping the chord! This is when I thought I will end up with tendonitis.

It is easy to make up ones mind to master something new, at a later age. It is much more difficult for the body to react with the same zeal. Take gymnastics for instance, it is much easier for a 4 year old to learn new tricks since her body is flexible and nimble, than for a 30 year old. Likewise, there are many activities that need physical ability along with mental ability to accomplish them.

I am not complaining that I will never be a rock star. I am just saying that it is going to take me longer than I initially thought ;-)