I’ve been playing guitar quite a bit lately and it’s been fun. It’s funny how living overseas strips you of some things, but gives you opportunities in other areas in return. I feel like guitar is one of those things for me.

I picked up guitar quite a few years ago by chance when a friend of mine showed me how to play a praise and worship song with just three chords. She showed me how to hold the guitar, form the chords, and do a basic strum. I was surprised and encouraged that I could learn to play the song so quickly- in just ten minutes. It was motivating to see a song come together that fast! I was also amazed by how easy it is to produce sound from a guitar. With just the slightest flick of your finger you can generate a note. This is quite different from trumpet where you have to pucker your lips and blow your brains out to get a note- and even then it might not be the right pitch. Guitar seemed so much more accessible. I was intrigued.

When we came overseas a few years ago I debated whether I wanted to bring a trumpet with me. See, I’ve been playing trumpet since the 6th grade. I played all the way through high school and college, in jazz bands, symphonic band, marching band, orchestra, combo and small groups, etc. I’m a trumpet player gosh darn it! However, I decided taking a trumpet to Indonesia might not be very practical. After all, trumpets are heavy. They take up space. Trumpets are loud and attract attention. . . and the last thing I need in this country is more attention! I also don’t have access to a band or group to play with which is where a trumpet really shines. So I decided to leave my trumpet in the closet.

However I still wanted to play music. I still wanted that creative outlet. Our first year overseas, seeing an opportunity to expand my guitar abilities, I picked one up at a Yamaha store in town. I’m so glad I did. It’s been a real blessing to play music again. And there’s even a need on our team to lead praise and worship music. So although it’s challenging, and my singing voice isn’t the best, I’ve really done my best to learn and play as much as I can. My sheet music binder now has 67 songs in it!

Art is in the head. It doesn’t really matter what tool you use.

I remember my photography professor once said, “Art is in the head. It doesn’t really matter what tool you use.” That statement has stayed with me all these years. I think it applies to music too, not just art. If music is in your head than it doesn’t really matter what instrument you play. It’s who you are. It’s in you. And it’ll express itself in one way or another. I’m thankful for this time I’ve had overseas to pick up a new instrument, to force me to learn some new things. I think it’s important no matter where you go to take your passions and interests with you. If you can’t do exactly what you want than you need a replacement. Guitar has been that for me and I’m grateful for it.

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