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Best birthday present ever...whipped back at me..."I think I know what this is...." The thunk sounds in Babylon that night was my heart hitting the floor...he already had it...it...the tiny overlap between his life and mine...book junkie: get him the book...the book you saw out of the corner of your eye at Chapters, that you put on your Christmas list, that your Dad got for you, that you read on the train back to Ottawa, that would be the present for Dave's birthday...Zen Guitar...

But he already had it. And he bragged about it... "Can you believe it? Bradm got this for me!" The present wasn't the book, the present was the solidifying of the friendship, the ackolwedgment of the common ground we both had.



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People are rarely as thoughful when they get birthday gifts for others, that was one of the best.


A GOOD teacher makes all the difference in the world. A bad teacher can make the same difference.

Come to Ottawa and take lessons from Mr.Velvet. He is the best guitar teacher I've ever met.

I realize that's probably not in the cards so don't settle for just any teacher. ask around to people whos playing you really respect and get some recommendations.

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Aw shucks guys, thanks. I think it's mainly just that I love it and that I think I suck at it at times.

I gotta admit, it's nice when one of those "lucky kids" I see at work gets the fact that they have a pretty good oppourtunity in front of them in a passionate teacher. It's a small percentage of the ungrateful non-practising little ingraits that gets it (and something I didn't have), but we all have a pretty good time nonetheless.

Anyway, bottom line is always having a good teacher (they're usually the ones that have the busiest schedules). If you try and self-teach yourself an instrument you start with the distinct disadvantage of having a teacher that doesn't play the instrument, though admittedly all the resources available nowadays sure would help.

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Velvet, I bet hands-down you'd be among the best guitar teachers that anyone could luck across; you have a solidly clear sense of what you're doing with that thing, and it is intuitively obviously to anyone who sees it and works to follow it. I had the teeth-grinding experience of trying to teach a bit of rhythm to my brother-in-law this afternoon, and finding myself in the kind of position of trying to explain breathing to a fish. How do you say that all you have to do is relax and count 1-2, 1-2, and convince them that it's really what it's all about - and still keep it interesting?

You're right. The good teacher makes every difference in the world. The one formal teacher I had, for about a year, was an old-school Hungarian classical teacher who'd survived every atrocity visited on a people before making it to Canada, and he made it clear to me how music was a language that could be both whimsically lyrical and vitally desperate. I've felt guilty ever since trying to find that voice myself, and the means to convey it. But I'm glad to have understood that it's still just a language nonetheless. I just wish I could find the best means to get that across to people who ask, in terms that cut through the shit and get to the point.

I wish at times it were all something as useful, if facetious, as saying that you only have to listen to the rhythm of your heartbeat, but then there are micro-rhythms there that can throw any mechanical rhythm tangentially offbeat. Nothing beats a good person working it through with someone who wants to learn. Good on ya, V; your work is golden.

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