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Student Spotlight: Lindsay S.

Some play guitar for the money, some for the fame, and some for the love of music. For Lindsay S., it’s all about the love of music. Read on to find out what motivates this down-to-earth guitarist to push through the challenges inherit in learning an instrument—her practical approach to perseverance may just inspire you to take up that guitar sitting in your garage collecting dust.


MM: Tell us a little bit about your musical history. How did you first get involved with music? How has your involvement evolved since then?

Honestly, I really don’t have much musical history. I bought my guitar when I was in high school because I had a crush on a boy who played guitar. I’m now 30 and have picked it up several times over the years and played the few chords that I knew, but that’s about it. I have always loved music and the guitar in particular. I decided if I wanted to play, I may as well really try this time and take lessons.

MM: So you play the guitar (awesome!). What is your favorite song to play? What is your favorite guitar-centered song to listen to?

Molly G. is my instructor and she has been so great about giving me several good songs… I think we have similar taste! So far, my favorite song to play has been ‘Skinny Love’ by Bon Iver. It still needs more work, but I love it. My favorite music to listen to is Ben Howard, and he is one of the most amazing guitar players I have heard. All of his songs are good!

MM: We hear you’ve got some perseverance when it comes to learning guitar. What keeps you motivated and inspired to practice and practice and practice?

Well, I wouldn’t say I’m the best at practicing… some weeks I get a little time in every day, and other weeks I just get lazy. I feel so much better when I practice though and I can definitely tell I improve even when I only spend 10 minutes. What motivates me most is not wanting to quit. I have quit guitar and other things in the past because they were hard for me, rather than pushing through that uncomfortable spot and sticking with them long enough to see results. I know this can happen and it makes me want to keep at it. I also hope to have kids one of these days soon, and be able to play for and with them.

MM: Any future ambitions involving music? Do you want to be on stage? In the studio? Writing your own albums?

Honestly, no… just to play at home… for family and maybe friends. That’s good enough for me.

MM: What is your ideal guitar (maybe you already have it!)? Pretend money isn’t an issue and you can design the perfect instrument.

My Ibanez was part of a $200 kit that included a soft case, picks, extra strings, and a DVD… so it’s not exactly the highest quality! I think most anything would be an improvement. I don’t have something specific in mind, but I’ve told myself if I play consistently for at least a year, I can upgrade! I think it would be cool to have a guitar that belonged to one of my favorite musicians… probably Ben Howard.

MM: You hop in your time machine and meet yourself right as you are learning guitar. What advice do you give?

I would probably advise myself just to keep at it, even when I’m frustrated. A friend of mine actually gave me some really good advice recently, that I think of often. He said “Now-a-days everything’s so automatic: cell phones, cars, computers… but learning an instrument will always take time and hone your patience. Learn to move impossibly slow, watch what your hands are doing, and practice the songs/movements until you annoy yourself with how easy they are to perform.” I love this!

MM: I like to end with this fun one: If you could play with any performer or band, regardless if they are still living, who would it be and why? What song (or songs) would you want to perform with them?

Definitely Mumford & Sons. I love their music and the fun they seem to have when they perform. I would love just to hang out with them and be up close when they are performing. It would be hard to pick which song, as I love them all… maybe ‘Lover of the Light’.

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