Even the greatest of artists started with only knowing how to paint simple things. Do you think Pablo Picasso, the Spanish painter, started off painting “The Old Guitarist” when he just got into painting? I think you know the answer. If you do not know the answer, it is a resounding ‘no’. Well, we all have to start somewhere, start by drawing a flower or something. At least you started doing it, then you can decide if you love it or not. Otherwise, how will you know if you are good at something when you have not even tried it? As for myself, I am proud to say that I taught myself how to play guitar. It was actually very difficult at the beginning as I had no prior training on the guitar.
I had previously been in many piano classes, before eventually quitting halfway. I could never be in a class for more than two months. I have no idea why, to be honest, maybe I just get bored of everything quickly, or maybe piano was not my forte. And mind you, it was not only for piano classes. I had been to taekwondo classes, badminton, football, field hockey, and volleyball. And those are just the ones that I remember. I had always managed to quit all of these activities after a few months. With the exception of volleyball and taekwondo, because I returned back to those classes after a few months of disappearance. Sounds very weird right. Am I just lazy? Or am I genuinely disinterested in doing things? It had bugged me for a long time. So long, just me wondering, “what is wrong with me?”.
I think now, I have found my answer. Have you ever heard the saying, “you cannot teach someone who does not want to be taught”? It actually makes a lot of sense. Okay, look at it this way. In school, there are all kinds of teachers. The strict teachers that scold you if you do not do their work, the nice teacher who everyone bullies, the teacher that hates every student, and the teacher that is super nice, but is inspiring. Which teacher would you rather choose to learn with? The inspiring one, am I right? This is because, people do not want to be taught, they want to be inspired. I myself hated going for piano classes. I guess it was the fact that I felt pressure every time I went to class. The thoughts I was thinking were along the lines of “What would the teacher say if I played a wrong note”, or “Am I learning this fast enough or not”. Stuff like that really gets to people, and it causes disinterest very quickly. I only discovered I could play piano after I learned the song ‘Apologize’ by One Republic through YouTube. Yes, I have been wasting RM150 a month on piano classes, playing the music I did not like when I could have just watched a YouTube video for free and learned the songs I actually listened to and enjoyed.
Picture this, you are in class, a teacher walks in and gives you a paper and asks you to fill in questions. Is that going to want to make you want to learn more? No. That’s how students lose interest in a subject, when even the teacher, whose livelihood is teaching, does not bother to teach the students. That is why people have to be inspired. Inspiration is a more powerful tool than money. When a person is inspired, the motivation that they get out-weights everything that they think about. Why do you think people love buying books that rich people publish? It is because they are inspired by their success and they want to be like them, so they buy their books to learn how to be more like them. Inspiration is a very powerful tool; it can help you do the things you never thought you would ever do. According to a study by (Gao, 2014), Children naturally love to learn, but might not like to be taught in certain ways. Teachers’ improper ways of teaching might make a child shut down his or her willingness to learn, which is called not-learning.
I really believe that people can do anything if they love what they are doing because if you really love it, you will find every way to learn it and be the best at it. After my piano playing days, I realized that I wanted to play the guitar too. I mean, when you look at guitarists, wouldn’t you want your fingers to move like them, shredding the guitar and getting all the girls. So, I decided I wanted to learn the guitar (mainly to impress girls). I started off watching YouTube videos and learning the songs that I liked such as I’m Yours by Jason Mraz and Creep by Radiohead. You know, the simple four-chord songs. In a few weeks, I had thought myself these few songs. It was not that hard honestly, the songs literally have only four chords. But like the greats (I am humble I know), I had to start off from nothing, the only thing that kept me going, was the inspiration. Man, seeing Slash and Jimmy Page run through the scales like it was nothing really inspired me to learn it. More inspired than any teacher could make me. It was crazy, I would be watching guitar videos everywhere, on the train during my two-hour journey to UCSI, right before I sleep, and especially during the times when I was supposed to study, RIP my CGPA. The inspiration drove me crazy, right until I started making my own music with my brother. Yes, from being inspired to actually making my own music with the guitar. You can check out my band on Spotify, Kings and Jesters (We were also on national radio here in Malaysia by the way). I wouldn’t say I am a guitar aficionado, but I’m good enough to make people think I am very good and I can serenade myself anytime I feel like it, which is a big plus point of learning the guitar.
Basically, what I am trying to say is that if you are thinking of trying something you’ve never tried before, you should just do it. Do it by yourself, without anyone telling you or teaching you about it. You should find the inspiration that motivates you. It could literally be anything. Maybe you like coding. There are plenty of tutorials online, it does not matter if you aren’t a computer science student, there are millions of videos on YouTube that teach better than most lecturers, wink. You could do it for free, without any strings attached, and most importantly, at your own time. If you are interested in piano tutorials and do not know how to read any notes, Joe Raciti’s videos are amazing. For guitar tutorials, Martyz Songs is an amazing channel as well. Oh and I remember the other activity that I used to go for but stopped halfway as well. It was swimming. I actually wished I continued with that class because I am very inspired about not drowning when I am in the swimming pool. Fear might be a good inspiration as well.