By: James Franczek
I have been teaching the Oakville, Ontario, for a little over 3 years now and I would like to share my first experience at the centre with you.
Let me start by mentioning that the students are not very old at all(between 60 and 70 years) and are quite active in many other areas of their lives. A few of the students have a little experienc on the guitar, violin, or piano.
At the very first class I met group of people with an incredible amount of enthusiasm. They were nervous but exited. These were people that had always wanted to learn to play but for one reason or another didn't make it happen. During the first 10 week course we worked on basic note recognition, chords, a few simple rhythms, and couple of fun folk tunes.
I was quite surprised at how much time and energy they put into practing at home. By the 5th week they were playing "Jingle Bells" and changing chords fast enough to play (and sing) " ". WOW! They were playing the guitar and singing at the same time! I decided right then and there to include them in my own studio's Christmas recital program. This was to be the first time any of them will have played for an audience. I was not even sure if they had played for their families yet.
10 fun filled weeks came and went. They could now play the first position notes on 3 strings as well as 5 chords (A,D,E,G, and Em) quite well. It was time for the concert. As I was introducing them to a few hundred students and parents I could see, and feel their fear. I made sure that I mentioned that they had only been playing for 10 weeks and that they had worked very hard to get there today. After a quick tuning check and a deep, deep breath they were off. The first few notes were a little shakey but it didn't take long for them to get over the fear and into the zone. A small orchestra of guitars playing Jingle Bells in perfect time. When the last note rank out the audience roared to life paying the performers back for all of their hard work.
Now, two years later they are the main guitar section for the Oakville Celtic Fiddle Club and have organized a drop in guitar club for seniors to get together and play music just for the love of playing music.
I taught them how to play the guitar, they taught me about courage, determination, and the importance of giving your all in everything you do. Thanks guys, I appreciate it more than you will ever know.