Learn to play the guitar

Many of the Farang in Korat have a lot of time on their hands, so why not use that time wisely and take up a new hobby, if you choose the right one it should keep you entertained, broaden the mind and make life a little more fulfilling.

So what are the choices? Golf is probably top of the list and a large number of Farang get a lot of satisfaction out of the game. Others start painting or writing a book, but how about taking up a musical instrument?

And the guitar has to be top of the list for most people. It's such a wide ranging instrument, at one end of the scale it was used by guitarists such as John Williams to play the beautiful classical piece Cavatina which became the haunting theme to the movie The Deer Hunter. On the other it was used by Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and Metallica's James Hetfield to change how a generation of kids felt about their lives.

If you then consider the sensationally passionate Flamenco guitarists of Andalusia in Spain and the amazing, emotional Jazz guitarists who have blessed our ears and hearts, it's amazing that such diverse music could have all been made by basically the same instrument.

Obviously your personal taste in music will effect what you want to learn and the type of instrument you learn on, in very simplified terms the choices are classical guitar for classical and flamenco, acoustic guitar for folk and acoustic and electric guitar for nearly everything else.

Guitars are widely available throughout the city at a number of specialist music shops and start at a few thousand Baht for beginners models up to hundreds of thousands of Baht for those who are taking it more seriously. But the best advice is to find a teacher first who will normally have spare guitars for you to use during your first lesson and also guide you on your eventual purchase.

Lessons are available from Thai teachers in a number of music schools in the city and cost around 400 Baht per hour. The most popular of these is called Music House and is situated on Manat Road. It also offers lessons in violin, piano, keyboard, and drums. They can be contacted on 044 259 255 or 081 877 5369, or emailed at musichousegroup@hotmail.com.

There is also one Farang guitar teacher who has been teaching since his teens and offers lessons in his home studio in all styles and at all levels. If your interested he can be contacted on 083 368 0177. He is also offering the first lesson for free so if you've ever wanted to take up the guitar there has never been a better time to give it a go.

It normally takes 2-3 weeks to get the hang of the first few chords you learn, the strumming patterns and the basic songs that use them, but after that most pupils will learn a full song per one hour lesson but obviously take a few more weeks of practice to master it.

I personally believe that the secret to learning any instrument is firstly finding the right teacher and secondly learning what you actually want to play. If all you want to do is play Oasis songs on an acoustic guitar there is no point spending three months learning to read music. So find a teacher that will start you off and continue to teach you what YOU want to learn. If your enjoying what your playing then you will practice more and get better naturally, if you hate the songs your learning or the method that your being taught you won't practice and are wasting your time trying to learn.

So, why not get a little closer to fulfilling that childhood dream of being a rockstar. It's unlikely that you'll end up headlining at Wembley Stadium but you'll probably end up having lots of fun, impressing your friends, and who knows, you might even end up as a guest on stage at the Check Inn with the Hangover band.

TS


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