Today I had my first guitar lesson with John Carlini. I got there early, traffic being much lighter than I had expected. It felt a little intrusive, showing up early for an appointment at a guy’s home. If it were an office I’d aim to be early, but at a person’s house … I dunno. He seemed perfectly fine with it, so I guess that’s that.
Perhaps it was just another manifestation of the general nervousness I had about the whole situation, as I mentioned in a previous entry in this blog. And that wasn’t the last of it.
John led me into his home studio. While we tuned our guitars and got set up, we talked in more detail about the things we had discussed in our phone conversation. I was kind of settling in to the situation when he said, “Well, play me something.”
Of course I knew before I ever got there that I’d need to play something. But now that it was actually happening I found myself looking around the room at all sorts of records, posters, and photos of all these great players. Not the least of which, of course, is Tony Rice. Pictures of Tony Rice with John. By the time I finished flubbing my way through a few bars of St. Anne’s Reel, I could literally feel the sweat trickling down my back.
Either John didn’t notice or he’s accustomed to it, because he just went right on about the lesson at hand. Jumping off from another tune I played a little of, Jack Lawrence‘s “Ten Miles to Deep Gap,” we went into a discussion of the C scale, the chords based out of the scale, and a great exercise based out of it that can be used to work on tone, precision, quickness, and to acquaint myself with moving up the neck. He told me more in that first 15 minutes than I could digest in a month.
But that wasn’t all. He gave me a lead sheet for “All Of Me,” and wrote out a bunch of jazz chords for it. One of my goals in these lessons is to move away from the first position and learn the whole fingerboard. These chords are all over the place, and not an open string in the bunch. This is step one on my journey up the neck.
Even having arrived early, I was 15 minutes late leaving. It was great fun for me, regardless of the fact that I feel somewhat overwhelmed. This is going to be a blast.