My earliest music-related memory is me sitting at a computer in first grade singing “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles.
We all live in a yellow submarine. Yellow submarine. Yellow submarine.
At the time, I had no idea who the Beatles even were. In second grade, I joined choir, but halfway through our first concert I had such stage fright that I left the stage halfway through the concert.
For a long time after that, my experience with music was limited to learning the recorder in music class, attempting to play Basque folk songs like Pintxo Pintxo on an accordion for my grandparents (which was short lived, sorry Aitxitxa!), and attempting to play guitar in the 5th grade.
My sister saw a guitar at Costco right around her birthday and wanted to buy it for herself. I wanted it so badly that after much begging and pleading, she bought it with her birthday money and charged me $50 in interest on a $100 Behringer electric guitar package made in china. Once I had the guitar in my hands, I didn’t care.
Like many kids, I gave up on guitar lessons a few months later. I learned the notes on the first two strings before calling it quits to devote myself to swim team. But then, sometime halfway through the 6th or 7th grade, two things happened: My best friend, Melanie, picked up bass and introduced me to Led Zeppelin (Melanie: WHAT! You’ve never heard of Stairway to Heaven! Me: Nope! Melanie: Well, you’re life is about to change forever…she wasn’t wrong!)
In middle school, every kid cares about what their friends are doing. If Melanie hadn’t introduced me to classic rock and hadn’t picked up bass herself, who knows if I would have decided to take guitar lessons again. Peer pressure is a very real thing. After much negotiation with my parents, I began taking guitar lessons again in the 8th grade.
In my first lesson with Wayne, I remember two things. One: I remember telling him that I had tried taking guitar lessons before, but wasn’t ready to learn then. Now that I was three years older, I was more mature and ready to learn. Two: He asked me if I had heard of the Beatles.
Wayne: WHAT! How do you not know who the Beatles are? What’s wrong with your parents!
After that first lesson, I went home and practiced for two hours straight. For the next four years, I had a guitar lesson pretty much every Monday at 4 pm without fail. For Christmas, Wayne gave me a CD with what he felt were Beatles essentials for me to listen to. Another time, he burned the whole White Album for me. At my last lesson, he gave me a picture of Jimmy Page (which is now next to my cubicle at work). He taught me notes, chords, basic finger style guitar, and a semester’s worth of Music Theory 101 before I even got to college. But most importantly, he instilled a lifelong love of music in me more than anyone else. No other teacher I’ve had has been able to communicate their passion for music as effectively as Wayne.
As a 14 year old, guitar lessons with Wayne were a game changer.
Tune in next month for Part two where I shed light on how I started writing songs, singing, and how my experiences at the College of Idaho changed me forever.