I received my first guitar for Chanukah in December of 1996. I was 10 years old and I can vividly remember unwrapping the large box in our living room and seeing the hardshell case. At first I thought it was a trombone (not sure why) but then as I pulled the case out of the box I realized it was an acoustic guitar. I had been asking for a guitar for what seemed like eons, so the moment was surreal. My mom thought the guitar would be just like the gameboy, sega genesis, computer, baseball cards, movies, and million other material things that I needed to have and discarded along the way. Fortunately for both of us the guitar stuck.
It was a modest Mitchell acoustic guitar and it came with a book and videotape. My excitement was met with some initial frustration and confusion when I opened the book and watched the video. Like any kid, I wanted instant gratification and wanted everything to sound amazing right away. This was not my first time picking up guitar; but up until then my exposure was limited to watching adults strumming chords and friends showing me simple one string riffs on their guitars. Hearing and seeing all of this new information for the first time was overwhelming and I didn’t know where to start. Also, it did not sound amazing.
For the moment it was back to my one string riffs and turning the pegs on the end of the guitar so they all lined up (kids don’t try this at home). My curiosity and determination won over and eventually I was able to play some recognizable melodies. This was the beginning of a lifelong journey that continues to this day. I’m still looking forward to learning that next song.
If your child expresses a specific interest in an instrument, get them one! Sign them up for lessons. You’ll never know if it will stick unless you try.