At the beginning of my sophomore year of high school I took guitar lessons for 4 weeks. My instructor had me do all this stuff (I can’t remember any of it), but after the four weeks basketball season started. My priorities were not to learn how to play guitar, they were to play defense and make 3 pointers. So I quit guitar lessons.
The summer before junior year I met Ben. Ben started doing a youth worship night on Saturdays at my church and it was good. It was probably 1,000 times better than anything the youth team did on Sundays. Ben was a baseball player at what was then Western Baptist College, now Corban. He made worship relevant for me. It was music I could listen to outside of church and enjoy. Plus he was a cool guy who just had a gift. My junior year he took over the youth worship team and asked me if I wanted to lead it. I said yes and started leading as just a vocalist. After two months of that I decided I wanted to lead like Ben. Playing guitar and singing. So I bought a Chris Tomlin cd (before anyone knew who he was) and found the chords to it. Then I found my dad’s old Ovation that he never played anymore. It sounded like a tin can and was really hard to play, but it worked. I still had all the chord charts from my lessons the year before but I forgot everything. So I taught myself to read chord charts again and slowly but surely learned “Enough”. GCDC. Easy enough.
It was a slow go but then one Sunday I led one song with guitar. Agnus Dei by Michael W Smith and now Third Day too. Its pretty easy, a lot of A and E. A few months after that I chose the music for every Sunday and would make sure I could play all the songs.
Lesson #2 You don’t have to have musical experience to learn how to play an instrument. I spent hours upon hours, even during basketball season downstairs in my room with the cd player on and me trying to emulate exactly what Chris was singing and playing. This allowed me to sing and play at the same time really easily. It just takes a lot of time and lots of discouragement. Build up the callouses, and then just strum and pick away until you get some easy songs. The only way to be able to play is to play.