Guitar Zero: Music Theory Can Be Fun... Supposedly

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An important element of the teacher-student relationship is the instilling of confidence. That little nudge of encouragement that allows the learner to go forth in self-assurance with his newly acquired knowledge and use it for good (or, as is the case with finance majors, to destroy society as we know it). However, this aspect of instruction must be handled carefully, or the opposite may happen, and the student may emerge from his lessons crippled by self-doubt and hampered by misgivings (or, as is the case with liberal arts majors, become freelance blog writers). I found myself roughly halfway between these two philosophies this week. We finally shelved the

Goddamned Beatles Song

(which, in my defense, I have practiced to the point where I don't need any more hand holding) and turned to the task of learning some basic music theory. Now, I'm not a complete stranger to the concept. I was in band in high school, after all.

Admittedly, while some of my fellow students were there to prepare for advanced music education or even take a stab at a professional career, I was in band pretty much because I was too lazy to try my hand at something I might enjoy more. And because every four years they got to go out of state on a big spring trip. Some 20-plus years ago, I could actually read music. This came in handy this week in my remembering the order of lines on the music staff: EGBDF, or Every Good Boy Dresses Fine, which - considering my tendency to wear Hawaiian board shorts and Bill the Cat T-shirts, fucked with my self esteem for the majority of my teen years. There were also similar handy acronyms for remembering the order of sharps and flats, but those were long ago lost in a morass of


trivia and bong resin. To his credit, Robert tried his best, and by the end of the lesson I had a pretty good understanding of the major scale and that raising/dropping notes a half step = going up/down one fret. Against my best intentions, I may actually be learning something. We also banged through some new chords, including a few minor key selections. I'm now that much closer to nailing the solo in Metallica's "Seek and Destroy." It was after we went through these and I was packing up the old Takamine that Robert assured me I should now have no problem with most song charts I should come across. I half to imagine he was chuckling to himself (more than usual) as I eagerly set out to download some Drive-By Truckers tablatures.

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