When I was in my second year of university I started a paint company with my good buddy from high school Perry Catena. It was called VP Painting. It was a great summer working outside and doing the mindless work of pushing a paint brush across a front door, eaves troughs and wood siding. We had tons of time to chat that summer as we worked. Our days were quite long as we tried to make as much money as we could.
Inevitably days would come where there was rain. On these days we would have to try to find things to fill our time. My amigo Perry had and still has a great voice. I loved to play guitar and sing, and so, on these days we would sit around and play guitar and sing.
One day Perry asked me how hard it was to learn to play guitar? I wasn’t quite sure how to answer because I was self-taught with a little help from my younger brother Joey.
Perry asked if I would teach him how to play. So on the rainy days I would teach Perry to play guitar. We started off by learning some very simple chords; C-G-D. What I observed as Perry was changing chords was that he would stop strumming. This caused him to lose his rhythm in the song he was learning to play. Inevitably, he would become frustrated and end up back at the beginning of the song. I could see that this was very frustrating for him. (not to mention for me)
I began to tell him repeatedly, “don’t stop strumming, no matter how long it takes you to find the next chord, don’t stop strumming.” His learning curve improved drastically. The process of the constant strumming while trying to find the next chord helped him move through the song in order to get to the end.
I lost touch with Perry for a number of years because he moved out west. Thankfully, he is now back in Ontario and we have resumed our friendship. I was in his home not to long ago and I saw a guitar in the corner. (He has become a good guitar player) He looked at me and said, “ I have never forgot those first few lessons with you screaming at me,(I never remember it as screaming) “don’t stop strumming.”
Life is a lot like this, “You can’t stop moving forward even when you don’t have all of the chords. (answers) Keep the rhythm of moving forward. You can do this with out all of the answers. Actually, often the answers will follow if you keep moving forward.