After thursday morning's great session with Buddy Guy we were pretty pumped. We spent most of the afternoon polishing up the solos for "I'm Toredown," getting through some run throughs with "Diamond Drey," our bass player, and trying to locate our drummer. Luckily Jordan was able to play the song perfectly from the first run through. Then we hung out, got nervous, and tried to enjoy those on the bill before our song.
I'll admit that we probably played a bit better in the on-stage rehearsal than at the actual concert, but we were as prepared as we could be and it came out just fine. That's not to say that everything was perfect --it wasn't. There were a few clunker notes and off-beats, but the audience clapped along, everyone had a few moments of brilliance and it felt great.
Everything we learned came together in that performance and the experience, at least for us on stage, transcended the quality of our playing. None of us are going to turn pro. But we all played better at the end of the week than we did at the beginning. And it was the first time most of us played with a band or on stage before. In short, it was awesome.
I can understand why so many people come back to the National Guitar Workshop. It's an addictive and intoxicating experience. When the music comes together it's pretty incredible. There's a feeling of being a part of something larger than life. To hear the sound coming through your fingers and amplified in front of an audience rocking to the beat is inspiring.
A lot of the credit goes to the quality of the instructors. We were very fortunate in the Blues Core course to have a superbly gifted musician, John Horne from Athens, Ohio, who is also a heckuva good teacher. He kept us focused, gave us the right amount of theory and enabled us to tackle a pretty tricky song in just a few days. That's no simple feat. Here's a short video where John talks about the Blues Core course.
For anyone who is on the fence about attending National Guitar Workshop all I can say is you gotta just do it. No matter what your skill level, no matter what your age, you will come away as a better player and better equipped to learn on your own. And it may just be the one of the most memorable and fun experiences you'll have.
The National Guitar Workshop has additional sessions through the summer in Austin, Texas and at the main campus in Purchase, New York.