Kids these days.
Seems like every generation says the same thing about the younger ones. “When I was your age, yadda yadda yadda” is something we always hated to hear growing up, but now seem to find ourselves saying it more and more.
I’m not here to lecture anyone on sociology, the trouble with kids these days, every kid gets a trophy, blah blah. What I am here to talk about, however, is the responsibility I think we – as guitarists who have “been there and done that” – have to the younger players out there today.
Okay, so what am I really talking about here. Well, the way I see it, one of the things kids today – especially kids who want to be musicians – are lacking these days, are good mentors. No, I’m not saying good role models like you have to take them to church and encourage them to do their homework. I’m talking about showing the younger kids how to really master their instrument; getting back to the “good old days” where you learned by watching, listening, and emulating.
The Internet is great, backing tracks are cool, and there are certainly tons and tons of excellent books and DVDs on the market. But there is no better way to learn than by getting one-on-one attention from someone who has truly been there and done that.
Okay… So What Can We Do?
I’m putting a call out to all of you; all of us, really… the seasoned players that have had a guitar in their hands for a long time, to get involved. Get involved by showing the young guns what they need to know. Start a guitar community.
A Guitar Community?
Yes. Just think back to when you were coming up. How cool would it have been to show up to a session once every other week or once a month and jam with cats older than you, ask them questions, steal licks from them, and be so inspired that you went home and shed until your fingers bled? I know I would have.
In a time when our youth are being medicated for false diagnoses, we should be giving them an opportunity to benefit from our experience. Is it ADHD or just a lack of going outside and doing stuff instead of playing XBox and Facebook all damn day long?!?!
Okay, okay, I know… I promised I wouldn’t lecture, but the sad truth is that kids today really need our help.
How We Can Help
First, find some friends and talk to them about starting a guitar community. Just one day a month, get together and jam. Have someone come up with a topic and let them do a mini lecture. Get some jam tracks and play along. Talk to your community centers, Boy Scouts, and local music stores. Tell them what you want to do and encourage them to help you reach out to the young players.
Once things start to take off, and trust me, they will if you stick with it, you’ll reap rewards that you never though were possible. There is nothing greater than seeing the passion on a kid’s face when they are playing and really enjoying the guitar. You’ve been there yourselves; you know what I’m talking about.
So what are you waiting for? Start a guitar community!