Adult Student Profile: Keith Weinberg

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Keith (left) and his teacher Joe Meland

“There is enough time, you just have to say ‘no’ to something else that probably doesn’t deserve your time and attention anyway.”

Fourteen years ago, Keith Weinberg attempted to learn guitar from a book. Without the support and expertise of a teacher, he gave up after a week. Fast forward to 2019, and he’s thriving in guitar lessons with our teacher Joe Meland. It’s been 11 months and he’s far from giving up.

Read our Q&A with Keith below. Whether or not you’re taking lessons (or just thinking about it), you’re bound to be inspired!

What inspired you to take guitar lessons?

I wanted something to clear my head from all my other responsibilities. I need something else active to think about besides work or social media to help relax and re-energize.

Passive entertainments and distractions stress me out more— I actually need to do something concrete where I can make small bits of progress to feel energized.

What’s your favorite thing about lessons?

Joe’s a great teacher and I get to listen to and play other genres of music with a really patient guide.

What’s your favorite thing to play so far?

I really like playing an arrangement of “We’ll Meet Again” by Johnny Cash from American IV: The Man Comes Around.

What’s a challenge about taking lessons as an adult?

Making the time. There is enough time, you just have to say “no” to something else that probably doesn’t deserve your time and attention anyway. Any form of social media that is replaced with this is a double-win.

Do you think there are any special advantages to taking lessons at this stage in your life?

I don’t have the pressure to think I’m going to become a rock star, or that I need to be professional about it. I’m okay with being a beginner. Practicing automatically makes me better, slowly but surely.

Doing away with the expectations makes practice and playing way more enjoyable.

Have your expectations for yourself or about lessons changed at all?

I’m expecting to be able to play more things now, but I’m not impatient about it. I feel like it’ll come with practice as long as I don’t place unpleasant expectations in the way.

Any advice for other adults thinking about taking lessons?

Think of it as a really low-stakes way to try something new and take time for yourself. Practice and play songs you like. You’ll fumble through things at the very beginning, but it doesn’t matter— you get to take a break every day. The expertise will come eventually too. That means you get something today and something tomorrow.

Learning to play in front of other people is also an exercise in getting comfortable showing how you feel, and that you aren’t perfect at something. It can be nervous-making but it can be liberating, especially when you make a mistake and realize it doesn’t really matter— people are there for the good stuff and to support people trying. They brush off mistakes because mistakes aren’t the point.

Check out another great adult student profile with Julie Bromley.