Mentors Don’t Have to be Alive

Ben - Scottsdale, Arizona
Entered on November 24, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: creativity

For the past five years, I have spent countless hours a week letting out my stress and having fun playing the guitar. It is something that I have grown to love, and I know quite a bit about it. Seven guitars line my room and I love each of them. I look at each part of each guitar and find important things that I relate to my own life in each of them. I believe in the guitar.

The strings are the most basic part of the guitar. Without them, it would not make music. When I play them, they sound great, but when I look at them closer, they also provide a metaphor for my life. It is important to play hard and to pull on the strings, but it is important to make sure not to pull too hard, or they might snap. In life, it is also important to find a balance between having fun and not working until you snap.

The hole in an acoustic guitar might seem like a negative thing, but I have found a way to take a positive lesson from it. All guitarists know all too well the feeling of accidentally dropping their pick into the hole while they are playing. It is something that everyone tries to avoid, but, eventually, it will happen to everyone several times. It is very difficult to get the pick out of the hole, but as it happens more and more, it gets easier to remove. This helps me to understand that I can play and work hard in life, but if things do not go my way, I am able to fail and learn from my mistakes. Every time I fail, it gets easier to get right back up.

Lastly are the tuning pegs on the guitar. They are instrumental in playing music. If they are off, the entire song will sound wrong. Oddly, there is not a “correct” tuning. There is a standard tuning, but there are songs played in a multitude of other tunings. It is important in life to know yourself, but to also be able to “adjust your tuning” when necessary, as long as you can still go back to being yourself when it is time.

Guitar is my role model in high school. During high school, I became lazy with some of my school work, and learned many lessons from my wonderful teachers. To start with, I had trouble playing hard and simultaneously not slacking. This usually led to a big consequence, or something snapping. My grades didn’t slip, but they hadn’t improved to the extent that they could. This caused me to “drop my pick in the sound hole,” or to get into a routine of not doing homework and other important habits for school. I am working on doing this homework, and every day it gets easier. Lastly, with all of the work that I have and the relationships that I enjoy, I must change myself in small ways to accommodate completing everything. Without guitar, I would be in a helpless quagmire.

It is amazing to me to be able to take lessons from something that has played such a big role in my life that I love so much. I say that I play the guitar, but in a way, I am also its instrument. I believe in taking lessons from the everyday things in your life. I love the guitar; I learn from the guitar; I believe in the guitar.