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The 40-Year-Old Music Virgin

Day 10: Joy! (An Ode to...)

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I've definitely played more difficult songs than "Ode to Joy." I can't recall playing an entire song on just 2 strings. I can't recall playing an entire song with only 5 recycled, natural notes.

So why am I grinning from ear to ear? Because I can read EEFGGFEDCCDEEDD | EEFGGFEDCCDEDCC | DDECDFECDFEDCFG | EEFGGFEDCCDEDCC across a treble staff as fast as you can read it here.

Sure, it's just "Ode to Joy." But playing it from sheet music at a decent tempo without error is something I couldn't do last week. I've developed skill. I've made progress. In fact, I refuse to memorize this song. I don't have to. I'll just open my songbook and play it again tomorrow.

Of course, if my wife or any co-workers ask me for a progress report, I'll probably say: "It's going great. I can read sheet music well enough to play Beethoven now."

Bonus revelations:
  • Despite sounding like a complete dork, it helps to read the notes aloud as you play.
  • Being a decent typist sure helps with fretting.
  • When you're relaxed, the notes come easier and cleaner.
  • My DVD guitar course has a free iPhone app with a metronome.
  • You don't need a pinky finger to play "Ode to Joy" 10 times in a row. (Heck, you don't need dignity either!)
  • I'm ready to make "Jingle Bells" my b!tch.