Guitar

I looked forward to making friends easily when I entered high school, so I went to learn the guitar. But later on, I found this logic wrong. Learning guitar could not bring me friends, but only enable me to possess the guitar skills. At that time, I was quiet and shy. I projected my wish of making friends onto my guitar. I was so inspired by an anime featuring a high school band, where the main character found her friends, formed the band and obtained happiness. But the truth in real life is, your destiny would give you a little sweetness, and a little bitterness, and then give you precious memories, and then give you more regrets.

As mentioned above, because of that wrong logic, I insisted on practicing the guitar every day. I was studying in a boarding school. Few people brought musical instruments to the school. But I persisted in carrying my guitar to school and practiced it in the dorm every day after class. It was unforgettable that the school had a power outage one night. We were dismissed by teachers from the classroom. All the students talked loudly and had a lot of fun under the dark night sky. I took my guitar and went to the dorm rooftop with my friend. When I looked at the stars in the dark night and the thing behind me is the noisy dorm building, there are two feelings generated from my inner mind. One is the silence of nature, and the other is the noise of humans. I played the guitar. As a beginner, I did not play well. Music notes were produced by me off and on. I was anxious out of others’ voices, but at the same time, I felt that my anxiety was absorbed by nature. How I wish I could play a complete piece of music, to quiet my heart. I realized immediately that the guitar would become an object that could calm my anxiety in the future.

My guitar teacher is a young and serious male. When I first met him, he seemed just graduated from college. He was carrying a trendy backpack and nothing on him would remind me of him as a teacher. But after getting along with him for a long time, I was pretty sure that he was a visionary and ambitious guitar training teacher. He asked me to practice the guitar every day. If I made an excuse that my high school study was really busy, he would help me to limit the practice time as less as possible but to achieve maximum efficiency. For example, he would propose a practice schedule for a total of 1 hour per day, with finger extending exercise in the first 5 minutes, arpeggio exercise in 10 minutes, scale exercise in 10 minutes, and Etude and Bagatelle in the rest of time. My everyday one hour was arranged by him. When my classmates were doing homework in the classroom, when they are having fun on the playground, when they were having a party in the dining hall, I was practicing alone in the dorm. The foot rest, the desk, the metronome. The water sound, the knife and fork sound, the footsteps. Two worlds.

Several months after entering high school, I made a friend who could sing very well. Every day, we got together and looked forward to the future. I would be her accompanist, a guitarist. And she would be a singer, the next Taylor Swift. We signed up for the school art show. Although Taylor’s songs are mostly accompanied by the guitar, most of the songs are too difficult to perform for me. Finally, we decided to perform the episode of The Hunger Games, Safe and Sound. Unfortunately, on the day of the initial selection, she caught a cold and my guitar was not tuned to the correct pitch. The music teacher noticed something wrong so she hoped that we could meet her again a week later. Within that week, my finger was injured by a broken ceramics piece, and her health condition turned bad sharply. On the day after the week, my left-hand finger was wrapped by gauze, and she was absent from the class. A month later, the art show attracted many students’ attention. I heard that there was a two-people group consisting of a singer and a guitar performer, who won high popularity on the stage. I suddenly understood why the teacher gave us a week to participate in the initial selection. If my finger and her throat were not injured, we could have a chance to stand on the stage and compete with that group. So, at that time, I lost my first chance to earn applause and cheers.  

Three years later, I was still quiet, shy, and had stage fright. My guitar teacher left the music training school and started a guitar private school on his own. I followed him and witnessed the establishment of his dreamed empire. He organized his first guitar salon and put my performance at the end of the salon, hoping that I could be introduced as his most proud student. However, on the day of the official salon, I was too nervous about the vehicles occupying the full place of the outside, and the audience occupying the full auditorium. On the stage, I watched people’s sincere eyes but was feeling like many ants crawling into my heart. My hands kept shaking and couldn’t even play a complete music phrase. I looked at my teacher for help, but he stood up and left. I failed the performance, and once again lost the chance to have applause and cheers.

I envied others for their confidence on the stage, and I envied others for their excellent communication skills in their friend circle. However, it seemed that the more desire I showed for pursuing those capabilities, the more nervous I would be. My body would be shaking, and I could not calm down. Many of the guitar beginners studying with me gave up, I gradually walked on the road to be an advanced guitar learner. I began to feel that my young guitar teacher lacked the experience of teaching in an advanced stage. I practiced the same piece for several months and felt endless.

After graduating from high school, a university admission for a computer science program in another city made me give up my only dream of being a guitar teacher at that time. However, I realized that the guitar had been integrated into my life. I put my guitar in my room and played it regularly. When I felt anxious about my academic studies, listening to classical guitar music was a good way to relax. Guitar has become my precious friend. It never betrays me and never leaves me. It reflects my inner mind.

Nowadays, I have been to a new city for my master’s degree. I decide to pick up my guitar skills and learn it again. I have found a new guitar teacher who is experienced and trains many successful students. He tries to find the reason for my anxiety. And he said:

“I will teach you a way to make you feel less nervous. Look into my eyes.”

He looked at me warmly and firmly.

“Now imagine that you are calming down. You are concentrating and not being disturbed by external things. You are silencing your heart, not thinking of anything else, only yourself. Now everything is on silence.”

Silence and anxiety are probably antonyms for me. I finally realized that I always had a strong desire to the outside world so I was too nervous about it, resulting in stage fright. I used to have the wrong logic, which was that learning guitar could make me more friends. It’s not right either wrong. If I didn’t treat the guitar as my friend, I couldn’t calm down in a noisy environment. I ever envied others for having the gift of gab, sticking to the inner thoughts, and showing confidence to others. But I just ignored the personalities and efforts I already possessed. The guitar had helped me to find my inner peace. It echoes in every lonely night, reduces the noise from the outside, and reveals my mood to be known to the world.