Do your kids still have good bones? Do your friends still wear the pink tshirt? These were the questions I asked, and it turned out there was just one answer: no . There’s a reason why no one wanted to learn to play guitar before 9th grade. The idea that learning a guitar could be difficult had been a cliche in the music industry for a generation. As a child I would have listened to all these popular musicians who were playing in big theaters and on FM radio. But I was a kid from the middle class—and I knew that nothing worked the way it was supposed to. If the music industry could hear me I would have listened to it all. Now, I’m in my 30s and am able to understand why learning to play guitar was daunting. Why could no one do it?
This is a conversation I had when I was in my twenties. I’m writing this in the last few days of my fifth month of a five-year fellowship that I’m receiving at USC. I’ve decided to go back to the subject of this podcast, because this is a discussion that I feel is going on around the world right now. How can we best support younger musicians to gain access to lessons and learn about how to really enjoy the music? The answer is simple—we need a better approach. We need to give kids a better reason to care enough to put in the work to learn how to play their instrument. We need to give them the tools to really help them see and enjoy music in all its forms. Let me explain. How I Got Ready to Learn Rock and Roll
I graduated from college in 1992 with a degree in music and I got ready for the music industry. I had all of the essentials for the job and I was ready for my life goals. That is, until I met my wife. We got married almost immediately after graduating college. When people ask me if it was the right time to get married I usually say, “Yes.” Her reaction is always the same— “When is that right time to marry?” This is a common and often overlooked fact in our society: our expectations about marriage have changed and it is time for us to change them. As a musician we have grown up viewing marriage as something we were born with. At the time our parents were living the same dream of “one man one woman” and they both felt that this is what we were meant to do. I was a young kid from a single father’s home and I came from a
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