Follow your dream

I’m in my 13th year of playing guitar, started back then with Justin Guitar and haven’t looked back. When I started playing, my goal was to learn songs that others would sing along to around a campfire. Just came back from a wonderful muso’s gathering where I got to see my dream realized (again) and it’s just the best feeling.

The gathering was an old timey group with 50 to 60 musicians there (best guess) camping along the great dividing range in the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales in Australia. I’m still a beginner when it comes to old timey music, as long as I have a chord sheet around I can make it through all the songs but struggled with some of the old timey jams around the fire with a whole plethora of really good musicians. Double bass, fiddle, banjo, mandolin and plenty of guitars.

Saturday evening, at the camp kitchen I kicked off a more folky / covers session leading the first song and then swapping songs with another very talented acoustic singer on her guitar. We swapped tunes probably for about an hour and had others singing along and cheering after every song. I really had to pinch myself a couple of times realizing how real my dream come true was.

I’m not a brilliant musician so please don’t think it’s out of reach for any of you just starting out. When I started I struggled withe that blasted barre F chord the same as you do. :smiley:

Being able to play my usual repertoire from memory is great in such sessions as there’s no shuffling through your music sheets to find the next song, as soon as she finished a song, I’d be in with another and vice versa. The flow just kept flowing.

Find your dream and chase it! It feels great when you catch it.


Nice one Tony :+1: Sounds great, my goal for now is pretty much the same. I spend a fair bit of time in places where the vocalist/guitarist are always keen to get someone to sing with them or play guitar. It will be a big day the day that I feel confident and competent enough to sit and do that :smiley:



One thing that helped me a lot was finding a nearby music club that hold regular jam sessions and open mics. Particularly the jam sessions. The basic format is we sit in a circle, and in turn each person gets to lead a song, or pass and just play along with the next person that leads a song. Everyone joins in. It can be quite the cacophony which itself taught me an important lesson: "When one is leading a song, they are the one responsible for the beat / groove. Pick your beat and stick to it regardless of what other are doing and believe me they’ll be doing their best to distract you (not on purpose one would hope).

I remember the first time I chose to lead a song. It was “Let it be”. I got about 3 bars into my 4 bar intro and stuffed up and started all over. Second time I made it to the 4th bar before I stuffed up and started over. Third time lucky. Thankfully all I got was encouragement and enthusiasm from the others. No doubt many of them had been where I was before.

Plenty of those jams taught me heaps and gave me an increasing level of confidence.


Well done Tony, that must have been a great evening. One of my ambitions is to memorise some songs that I can play straight off. At the moment I need the tabs to start me off and a good backing track :wink:


Memorizing songs does make a difference, the flow just keep going. Justin often talks about having songs in your back pocket you can pull out at a moments notice. I practice those from time to time just to keep them “current”. My playing wasn’t always tidy nor did it need to be. :slight_smile:


Well done Tony and nice words of encouragement for everyone here with the same goal


A view shared with me by a “session pro” in my first year playing [2020] is that reliance on lyric or score is an indication that the learning stage is work in progress (… and absolutely nothing wrong with this).

Consequently, one can only realistically focus on the performance when lyrics and score/ tab are no longer required; ie. interpretation, nuance, embellishment, (basically your ‘take’ on a song).

From my limited experience, I buy into this. On a good day, with some prep, I could have 5 songs in my “back pocket”

However, I don’t let this prevent me from playing songs to others … I just think of these as rehearsals building up to the eventual performance. :wink:

Keep having fun is all that matters … :sunglasses:


Thanks for the encouraging words, Tony! Great to see you’ve made your way through all the struggles! Posts like this keep me going! :blush:


Hi Tony, I agree that these are good songs to have in your back pocket. I think that what is holding me back is singing the song. I have started to release my voice, but had to stop as I have had a cold for the last 3 weeks and my hearing has gone. Once I can sing the tune, even badly, remembering the song should be a lot easier.

When playing, I don’t tend to follow the tabs on songs I know, I just change chords when the song ‘tells’ me to.


That’s a great idea Tony, not much of that around here as I live a bit country, would have been fun and in a friendly environment. I’m keeping my ears and eyes open for these type of things or any opportunity to “go public” :rofl: :+1: