Hi, I’m Nic.
I am 63 years old. When I was young, I played piano to a pretty high standard, I could even manage to play most of the notes in some very challenging pieces in approximately the right order.
Like so many of my generation I picked up a guitar for the first time in the late 1970’s to form a punk band with some friends. It was a no name SG copy bought in Woolworths, action was as high as Ben Nevis, and it had shocking neck dive. I got as far as being able to thrash a few chords badly (learned from a book). We spent far more time in acrimonious disputes over what we would call ourselves than learning to play together and inevitably after two chaotic public performances the band disintegrated. Lots of fun, and very Punk!
Shortly after this, I broke three fingers of my left hand in a Rugger injury. This brought any music making to an abrupt end for a fairly protracted period as even after the bones had knit it took several months before I was pain free enough to consider playing anything, and during that time I had lost a lot of strength and flexibility. To be honest, not playing the guitar was almost a relief. The first time I sat back at a piano I realised what a massive mountain I had to climb to get back to where I had been 4 months earlier and, in one of the few decisions in my life that I truly regret, I gave that up as well.
Music has always been really important in my life, I have very broad tastes ranging rom Palestrina to the Sex Pistols. About 5 years ago, freed from family responsibilities as my stepson was old enough to leave alone without much fear of him burning the house down, my wife and I discovered a shared passion for Trance music through which we have made many lovely memories together, and a wonderful circle of friends from all over the world. It seemed perfectly reasonable at the age of almost 60 to buy some decks and learn to DJ.
To my surprise, half-remembered music theory from 4 decades ago, (most importantly an understanding of the structure of a song and the circle of fifths), the ability to count to 4, and the amazing technology built into modern DJ kit, meant that this was nowhere near as challenging as I was expecting, and I fairly quickly got to a point where I was able to play in public without disgracing myself. I have no illusions of ever headlining at Ministry but it certainly feels good to have a roomful of people leaping around to tunes you have chosen and being able to blend seamlessly from one song to the next.
To cut an already too long introduction short, I needed a new challenge. The fact that I am posting this here should tell you what that challenge is!
I stumbled on Justin via a YouTube video about beginner kit, had a look at some of the lessons on the website even before I had an instrument and liked the combination of his relaxed teaching style and the clear and logical structure of the course.
I now am using the app as well as the website, and have slowly made my way to module 4 of grade 1. At times I am struggling to even find 30 minutes to be able to practice daily due to other life commitments, the fingers that I broke so long ago are complaining about the unaccustomed work, but I am slowly getting the chords into muscle memory to the extent that I have been able to play a few simple songs. My chord changes are still a bit slow and tentative, but I am finding strumming far easier that Justin led me to expect. Combining the two to actually play a song goes Ok for the first few bars and then breaks down into chaos as brain, right hand, and left fingers get overloaded and stop talking to each other. I am loving the challenge, and am celebrating each tiny bit of progress.