Posted: February 7th, 2010 by Vince Genella
Hey World! Vince Genella here. Since I’m going to be frequently writing here at NorthJerseyMusic.com I wanted to take this time introduce myself. In this column I will be sharing all kinds of stories from my now 32yrs of playing guitar. I’ll cover everything from gigs, lessons, gear, studio work, retail, traveling with an instrument and more! I’ll even try to answer email questions in a topic.
So a bit about myself? I started playing guitar in 1978… 32yrs ago! Yiiks!!!! Thats a long time ago! I remember at first I had mixed feelings about playing an instrument… It looked like fun, sounded great, made some really cool sounds & noises but it wasn’t easy… you had to practice! My dad also insisted I learn properly and take lessons from a pro so off I went to guitar lessons. Practice at first was horrible! It hurt my fingers!!!! And 10 minutes felt like 10 hours!!!! But looking back now I wish I had practiced more! Even when I got to the point of practicing 8-10hrs a day that didn’t feel like enough! Thats when I knew I was in for the long haul. I truly loved it!
So now this installment has turned into “The Importance Of Practice”
Now as a teacher I hear a lot of the same things I went through as a beginning student. The frustration involved with practice along with my parents frustration to get me to practice! I hear from students that practice is boring or it hurts their fingers (usually due to a poorly set up instrument purchased at a non-music store such as Target = story for another time). All this can change with regular practice and it doesn’t have to be for hours on end! Just a few minutes a day!
After a while I began to enjoy practice because I stuck with it long enough to get passed the boring, tedious, and slightly painful elements. Painful for both my fingers and those who had to listen! The hard part is to get past the fundamentals necessary to actually make music!
Once I started to play songs and riffs that I enjoyed and most importantly people recognized, all the hard work was worth every minute! It got to a point when I didn’t even count the hours… they just flew by! I took my guitar everywhere! Vacation, friends houses, visits to relatives… not because I wanted to play for them but because I wanted to take advantage of every minute I had to play. Oddly enough I was very shy and didn’t like to play in front of others. But that too got easier with time.
I got into a band and we played at the drummers house and invited friends. Then private parties and school dances. That wasn’t so hard since most of the people there were people we knew from school. So when your friends tell you your good thats great, but they’re your friends and sometimes you can’t really gauge where you’re at since they know you. I also got to play at some of my cousins weddings and that was a bit scary since there was a whole new family & set of friends that I never met before that day! The real test is when you play in front of complete strangers!
I remember my first time playing in a bar situation and it was very different! I knew two people! A friend invited me to go play an open mic night at bar in Hackensack called The Foxes Lair. Since I wasn’t old enough to get in my dad came with me and assured the bar owner I wouldn’t drink and he would stay to chaperone. I think I was 15, 16 or 17 at best. So I sat in and we did some blues tune I never heard and I was unsure of what to do so I just played what I practiced at home and when I finished the place went nuts! That was the best feeling ever!!! Knowing that complete strangers thought I was good and that confirmed that every minute of practice was well worth it. They asked me to stay up and do some more tunes and I figured I winged that one so I’ll stay up until they kick me off!
So whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player regular practice is the only way to accomplish any of your goals. Get a great teacher, investigate different styles of music on your own (even if you have a teacher) and always set reasonable goals. Complete them and set new ones. Even if its for your own enjoyment. And thats really the key! ENJOYMENT! To get to a point where its enjoyable, fun and rewarding! Even if you’re jammin’ to your favorite CD in your room!
Be well and keep the music flowing!
~ V ~
Vince Genella is a musician based in Northern NJ with a 24+ year career playing guitar, teaching, recording & producing. For more info about Vince please visit www.VinceGenella.net.
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