Music Old and New

Thought I’d add a little to the “Music” section today.

I was brought up with music playing all the time. My parents made sure we were surrounded by it.

I grew up doing amateur dramatics, mostly Gilbert & Sullivan then trained professionally in Musical Theatre. As a result I am the Queen of cheese and frequently annoy my husband by belting out show tunes in the car! But I was also exposed to every other kind of music too – especially folk. I adore artists like Jackson Browne, Sandy Denny, Gretchen Peters – anything acoustic. And James Taylor? Well, as far as I’m concerned there is nobody better. He is the soundtrack to my every day – although he is occasionally usurped by The Go! Go! Go! Show (Nick Jr) or endless rounds of Wheels on the Bus when Munch has her way!

Since quitting dancing for a living and leaving my dance teaching job, I’ve been singing with duos and bands on the Isle of Wight – mostly playing acoustic and folk music – and it’s pretty much when I’m the best version of myself. Playing music I love with some of the most talented musicians you could meet, is somewhere near heaven for me. Of course in my dreams I’m up there singing with James Taylor, but you can’t have everything!

One of my biggest regrets is not having properly learned an instrument as a kid. I was so busy with dancing that there just wasn’t the time.

In recent years I tried my hand at piano with an exceptionally patient (believe me, she had to be!) teacher called Shirley Camfield, but I took a break when I fell pregnant as my concentration went so far out the window I couldn’t tell one note from another! I fully intend to go back to it, perhaps when Munch is old enough to learn with me.

In the meantime I’ve found a bit of a connection to the acoustic guitar. It suits the style of music I like to perform and I can just pick it up and curl up on the sofa with it. To top it off, with just a few basic chords you can play an array of songs – something which appeals to the impatient side of me. And believe me – basic is good! Because I’m not exactly Eric Clapton here!

As an early Christmas present I acquired myself a “beginners” guitar, although actually I think it’s rather better than that. I figured that if I bought a £30 guitar and it sounded rubbish, I wouldn’t be encouraged to stick with it.

So we spent just a little more and I now own my first guitar. It’s a Tanglewood Discovery and I am in love with it…even though I can’t play it in the way it deserves! I love that I can comfortably fit my stubby little fingers around the neck, I love the way the curves in the body comfortably hug my legs and I love the natural wood finish.

Keeping the blog up to date with my progress will be a slow process as progress in itself is slow. Thus far I can finger pick a little, I can strum a bit and I can “play” about 6 chords, but not with any real skill or style. I’m off to see my old duo partner, Phil, who is an exceptional guitarist, for a few lessons soon so will post any tips or breakthroughs if and when they happen!

Now, if I can just stop Munch posting my picks or small plastic toys through the sound hole or yelling “no” at me when I start to practice, I think I might stand a better chance of improving!