When our daughter was 7-years-old, she really, really wanted piano lessons. What parent wouldn't be thrilled, right? We got her signed up for lessons, bought a keyboard and then spent the next 6 months nagging her to practice. I finally got fed up, let her quit, and took the piano into the preschool where the kids have a good time banging on it.
Thus, when she began to insist a year or so ago that she wanted guitar lessons I answered, although perhaps in gentler words, "No way kid, I've been burned on that one before." We had an old classical guitar in the basement which I pulled out, saying, "All the best guitarists are self-taught."
She kept that guitar in her room for almost a year, virtually untouched, until about two months ago when I heard strumming. And it didn't sound bad. She'd discovered that there are free instructional videos on the internet and was teaching herself the chords she needed to play her favorite songs from the radio. Since Thanksgiving, the first thing she does each evening is pick up the guitar. She has now written a half dozen songs of her own. Josephine has always had a beautiful singing voice (both of her maternal grandparents were opera singers) and it feels these days like we're living with Joni Mitchell. She already has herself "booked" for her middle school's next "open mic" performance.
Last night, her grandmother gave her a steel-stringed acoustic guitar. It's Christmas morning and Josephine is up in her room playing and singing a Taylor Swift song. I'm not particularly musical myself, nor have I ever managed to learn an instrument. What she is doing up there is magic to me.
Every parent wishes for his child to surpass him. I knew this day would come, but never guessed it would come so soon.
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