in which we play a little guitar

Springtime, when a young man’s thoughts lightly turn toward thoughts of music recitals.

Kiddos #2&3 had their violin recital a couple of weeks ago, and the last performer was a young lady who played violin with her younger brother strumming guitar to accompany. Kiddo#3 was in awe. He said, “I wish I had a little guitar like that!”

I said, “We have one at home,” but I didn’t think anything of it.

On Friday, I picked up Kiddo#3 from a playdate and he couldn’t leave until I’d seen his friend’s room. He showed me the magic: a child-sized guitar. Again I said, “Oh, yeah, we have one of those,” and we went home.

Kiddo#1 had gotten a guitar shortly after I’d gotten mine, and if your next thought was, “I didn’t know Jane played guitar,” it’s because I don’t. I got it right after I learned Emily was going to die and had lessons on the grounds that guitar took 100% of my cognitive ability just to strum the simple stuff in Glory & Praise (that would be ‘all of it’) and while therapy costs $140 an hour, guitar lessons cost $15 per half hour. I kept it up until Kiddo#3 was born, and then I gave it up due to lack of time. And lack of skill. Just trust me on that.

On Saturday, Kiddo#3, undeterred by little facts like the way he hates practicing the violin he already has, went into the basement and found the child-size guitar. He made me tune it. He wanted me to show him how to strum it. He asked me how to play chords. And he kept saying, “Get out your guitar!” ¬†So I did.

Here’s the first amazing thing: despite being untouched for seven years, it was practically in tune.

Second amazing thing: I actually remembered enough that I could still play songs from the Glory & Praise book (just in case anyone out there thought Catholic worship music wasn’t ridiculously simple.)

So I got out my lesson book and began paging through it, and I tried to teach him a few things. Meanwhile, Kiddo#4 found a red ukulele we’d gotten as a kid toy a few years back, and he wanted me to tune that as well. And in the final hilarity, at one point, Kiddo#3 picked up his guitar and started to tuck it under his chin like a violin. (At least it wasn’t a cello.)

It’s a bit noisy now at the Philangelus household. Fun, but noisy.


  1. K.M. Weiland

    Fun! I can hear the clamor all the way over here. I am singularly unmusical. I gave a shot at playing the guitar a few years ago, but it ended in unmitigated failure. My sense off rhythm: terrible. Once, at a church music session, I was holding a little girl in my lap while tapping my foot to the music. About halfway through, she turned around to give me this disgusted look and said, “Well, at least keep time to the music!” :p