- Beginner Course - Grade 1 (June 30, 2023)
- Practical Music Theory - Grade 1 (July 15, 2023)
- Practical Music Theory - Grade 2 (August 9, 2023)
- Strumming SOS - Strumming Foundations - Grade 1 (July 21, 2023)
My Back Story
Hi folks! Firas here from Kuwait. I’ll start out with a more detailed version of my intro post on how I ended up here as part of the Justin Guitar community:
As I approached the infamous midlife crisis phase of life several years ago, I decided to revisit a lot of the hobbies, passions or dreams I gave up on as a younger fellow and have redubbed it my midlife exploration. In quick summary it went like this:
At 38 years old, I suffered from severe crippling back pain, so I worked on my physical rehabilition with a physical therapist as well as learning yoga, swimming and eventually weight lifting. This was a crucial transformation in my life, as I hadn’t realized how living with that pain for over 14 years had deprived me and my family of experiencing so much of life. Overcoming that challenge opened up a world of possibilities for me.
At 40 years old, I went back to Scuba Diving which I had only done briefly in my high school years, and spent two years taking various courses and diving both locally and abroad which rekindled my love for the ocean and photography. I reached the PADI Instructor level but decided that teaching wasn’t for me. I did however introduce my 3 daughters to swimming, snorkeling and even scuba diving (my 2 eldest) which were all new experiences for them.
At 43 years old, I started learning Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. I had always loved martial arts as a kid, and practiced some Karate and the Chinese art of Xing Yi Quan in college, but stopped there. Two years later, I’m now a blue belt, and competed last year in my first international competition (AJP Tour - World Masters). Two of my daughters have been training with me for over a year, and it’s become a family activity (3 days a week for them, 4 days a week for me).
For my 45th birthday earlier in June this year, I bought myself a Squier Affinity Stratocaster (HSS) electric guitar starter pack (beautiful Brown Sunburst finish). I only briefly played a little during my high school years but didn’t really get far with it (just taught myself a few riffs & song intros, I couldn’t keep a rhythm going or learn any chords as memorization was never my thing). To my frustration, the free 3 month Fender Play trial card that came with my guitar starter kit didn’t work here in Kuwait but the silver lining of that was that it led me to search for other online learning courses and several sites highly recommended Justin Guitar, which was how I ended up joining this amazing community.
Honestly, I didn’t expect to get very far or make much progress as it was extremely frustrating when I was younger and I thought it would only be that much harder now. To my surprise, the web site course is the most professional and intuitive online learning program I’ve ever come across (love the practice assistant and the songbook collection). I could never memorize things easily, but having completed all the modules in Grade 1, I’ve memorized all 8 chords so far just by following along with the lessons and practicing every day between 1-2 hours. I’m also playing the 3 awesome riffs comfortably, playing along comfortably with 8 songs, and most of my chord changes are over 60 times/min. (more difficult ones towards the end with G & C around 40 - 50). It’s amazing how much practical music skills are introduced in the first few modules in such an easy and digestable way and more importantly I’m playing actual songs!
I thought I’d be embarrassed to show anyone my mediocre guitar skills, but I’m so happy with my progress, I played 2 Bob Marley songs for my teenage daughters! To my surprise, they didn’t run out of the room screaming with their hands over their ears and they started to ask me all about guitar playing.
So all in all, it’s been an unbelievable experience so far, and I hope to keep playing for months and years ahead. I’d love to be able to play some rock and blues and seeing that they’re being introduced in the upcoming modules/grades has me excited to learn them!
Looking forward to continue learning and growing my guitar playing skills alongside you all!