Meet Jane Adair: She Learned Guitar From Complete Scratch

[Transcript]

Dave Wirth: Hey, welcome to the School of Feedback Guitar YouTube channel. This is one of many interviews I'll be doing in the future. My guest today is Jane Adair. Jane, thank you so much for coming in and hanging out and letting me pester you with questions.

Jane Adair: No problem.

I wanted to get started with just like some questions about like your musical past and what sorts of things that you did in the past before you started like learning guitar? And did you study any instruments or just study…

When I was a little kid, I did the piano lessons.  And that was elementary school, probably like second grade, third grade, fourth grade. I don't think I continued in fifth grade. I had two different teachers, so I just did like the one hour lesson with their like gung-gung grind it out, learned some scales teacher and then I did a 30 minute lesson after like so, stop going to her, and went to the new lady 30 minute lesson, it was much more interesting. She was much more interested in getting you engaged with the music. I still didn’t have any ideas of my own so, it was all whatever she came up with to me.

Did you keep up with piano?

Did not keep up with piano. I kind of wish I had, but oh, well. I just wasn't a kid that it was kind of like sit and do something until I found it interesting. I needed a little more activity I think than fingers on the piano keys.

I think a lot of people have that same experience.

I'm sure, yeah.

So like, fast forward like a number of years, you kind of like it in your mind to play guitar and to learn guitar and to jump into guitar lessons which is pretty big, kind of like new step.

Well, so Walt, I've been with Walt for 16 years. And he played guitar. He tried to be in the rock and roll band and he's very good. He's quite talented. And so he's always we've had guitars in the house for a long time. And I've tried to learn how to play before and then a friend said her daughter was taking lessons from you and you only required five minutes of practice a day and I was like, "I can do that." I need something I want to try and ready. I can totally fit five minutes in, which doesn't turn out to be true in real life but some days I can fit in 30. So, yeah. It's been really great and so, after starting lessons with you, I have moved towards upon the wall and changed the dining room into a music room and which Walt was really excited about. And it got some stuff out of a closet that didn't need to be in the closet anymore. And Walt plays guitar a lot more, right now. It's easy to take one down off the wall, that's hard to get one out of a closet and out of a a box, so.

So, it sounds like it's made of and kind of a bit of a change for everybody.

It really has, and especially more lately as I've gotten better, he's been more interested in playing and as they've been in the wall longer. He remembers them more often to pick one up and play it and that sort of thing so. And then, the kids have gotten more used to it too. At first though they were like, "oh, I'm going to bang on it at the same time and now it's." And that's can be interesting, depending on the day so, yeah.

I hear you. I hear you. You guys played music together, like I said, a good amount, right?

Yes. On the weekends, we try and sit down with each other. It doesn't happen often and this month. So, it's May and school is running down in that side, it's becoming a really different pattern of our life, I think. And my mother-in-law who keeps our kids a lot has been out of town in the last week so, we haven't played much this month. But, yeah. We do try and on the weekends to try and play together. And he'll try and teach me something that he can play along to. He really likes to solo so, he'll be like, "Do these chords and just do them over and over and over again."

How did it go? How did it go? Did you, were you able to pick up on it?

Hey, well, yeah. Yeah. And I felt, my brother tried that with me too. When I was in college. I remember my brother just like, "just do that and now you're playing guitar, it's awesome, and I'll do this. And we're playing guitar together, it's great!” So, Yeah. He really likes the blues so, he's trying to teach me like a 12-bar blue progression and he was like, now just do that over and over again. It was little bit new and he did it with me for awhile and then he took off and did something. But that's always fun.

And then, when I'm playing the songs that I've learned in class with you, he will solo over those or play them a little bit as I play as I'm playing them. He didn't learn music like in school. So, he's not familiar with the way the songs. He knows tab, but he doesn't like he can never figure out where the what is it, the middle C is. He doesn't know that that's middle C.  And also looking at the music that you write down, I have to explain that to him usually. But he likes it better when I just start playing and then he'll like hear it and learn it, and that's mostly what he does when he's going to learn a song. He'll just listen to the music or song on the radio or the song on a CD and then start playing so.

Do you think... I'm sorry to interrupt you. You're about to say something?

Well, it's so me playing the songs I've learned and him just following along is some. He prefers that. So I just start playing, then he just starts playing along.

Do you feel like having Walt around and having like his encouragement and everything… I mean, I think the answer is yes, but I want to just make it clear for the record now and then.

For sure, yeah.

And having somebody like around who plays guitar, and it's just like kind of encouraging you to do it I mean, I imagine it's a lot easier to play.

Yeah. Yeah. And it's nice to, yeah. I mean, I don’t… without him I don't think I'm playing guitar at all. Like there are I would never. Well, it's I've tried in college, before I met Walt. So, I might have tried again at some point. But definitely it's nice to have somebody to play with. And it's interesting to have somebody who's doing it on such a different level. You know, I don't have to there's no struggle like to show him my music. Like, he just he can just fill in like he can just play with me. I don't have to show him anything or do anything like that.

And he can kind of show me some things and it's nice to say, "Hey, I don't remember how to read tab anymore." or the what I said the, "Yeah, the where the string, like which string is this?"
So, right.

Yeah, yeah.

Is this the high one or is this the high one?

Yeah.

And will you just play this for me? So, I can like watch and figure out what I'm doing? So that's nice. Or yeah. I had a lot of trouble at first, trying to figure out. I remember, oh, in recently, it's the Rolling Stones one…

You Can't Always Get What You Want, is that the one?

No. The...

Dead Flowers?

Dead Flowers.

Oh, good old Dead Flowers

Well, I enjoyed it, Sure. I'm still enjoying Dead Flowers. And I'm trying to play along so that was one I was like, trying to find my place in music and trying to keep and play along with and struggling with that one. So, there were several times I had him sit down or just listen to me and tell me like, what like what did he think I was doing wrong or was like was I not fast enough or was I too fast or was I in the right place and I just didn't know or…

But what about like, okay. So, like that of course like accounts for when Walt was around and when he was like helping you and everything, but that wasn't all the time and you did have time for you know to actually do some like good, straight, hard practice. Okay. So like, yeah. There were times and you said it earlier, where it was just like five minutes of practice turns into 30.

Yeah.

Right? Okay. So, like there were other times though where you didn't have like 30 minutes? You only had literally like five minutes…

Yeah. Yeah. I would just sit down for like the briefest moment.

And what would you do? Like when you… when you only had when you knew you only had five minutes? What would you do?

Yeah. So, I do the little drills. What were some of them… Well, like the overlapping. So, just doing just sitting there, not strumming or anything. I just do I just count out the overlaps. There was one where like different fingers coming to the string. So, if like you've got three fingers on a chord you do your index finger for four times, your middle finger for four times, your ring finger for four times. I do that and then just go and make breakfast or whatever.

And that was satisfying enough? Like to just be like, "Okay, whatever I'm going to do this really, silly technical exercises and then walk away from it?"

Yeah. Well, and then I realize it was really helpful. So, like the next day, like I was going to be able to play again that day. And so then the next day, I come back and it was like, "wow that was really helpful." And I think there are a lot of things too. If you can do something every day, you're keeping your place, like you're keeping your place in the book.  Like, even if you could only read a paragraph of the book and you might have to go back and read that paragraph again. Like you're reminding yourself of the story, where you are in the story. So, if it takes you a week to get back to the book you're like, "Aw man, where? Who's John, I don't even know like was that a character I should have met before?"

I don't know too. Okay.

That's...

That's what happens when you read about four or five books at one time, too.

That...

It's one of my problems.

I've done that. Yes. Yes. So, if you could read like just a paragraph and you just pick up the three, read a paragraph of the three and then you're on your fourth one that you really want to read. So, doing just a little bit, like picking up the guitar again and doing just something on the guitar again… would like, I really found it moved everything forward. It kept me in one place. So, and not sliding back and doing badly again.

So, the drilling, the overlapping, I mean at first, it was just the strumming patterns so, I was just trying. That was a little bit more challenging, because that was more… I took more time and I took more mental investment like, I am here now practicing. Whereas the drilling like anything can be happening. And you can get your fingers on and off the frets. So, the overlapping and the drilling, and there was other thing that overlapping. So, if we're doing the chord up and down the fret, the drills using a different finger each time and I think also I did the chord progression for a particular song I was working on. And then, once I got to the F barre chord, like just practicing I mean, that really is like a when we're starting, that really is like you can do five minutes and then you're kind of done with that. So, it's great.

Walk away.

Well, it's great to have like some parameters on your time too, right? Because that's the kind of thing like you would do until it hurt and then where are you? Like, if you're doing it until it hurt every time.

Yeah. And you're a mother.

Yes.

And you have two kids.

Yes.

So, it's like you were able to learn guitar to the point where you're able to play a number of songs like just completely memorized… Like they were just like kind of like part of you. And there, of course, there were like days where you could put in more practice. But by and by,you know  when you push came to shove, you're still able to get that five minutes in.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

So, yeah. And then and now it's more I wait for a moment alone, but in the beginning really, like I'm trying to get something in everyday. I'm being new to working it in to a day in a week and that kind of thing. Yeah, I just sit down and the kids were still there so like I can do the drills or the overlap while somebody else is banging on the guitar. And it's not a problem, like I'm still doing the thing I'm supposed to do be doing. And they're entertained and not bothering me too much and yeah.

Yeah. It's really good to hear that. It’s really good to hear that that's actually one of the things that's really helped you out a lot, it's just like being able to put in the times, sneaking this little moments.

Yeah. Well, they’re kind of more used to it now. So, if they are occupied sometimes I can turn on or put in earphones and play one song and if I have everything ready to go you know which I could set things up. I mean, to get the laptop in there and plug that in and then make sure that laptop batteries charged enough to play something and working you know, putting at your ears through the speaker or that your phones and then playing along with that. So, I had done…
So nap time to have gone through a year. So, my daughter's been two, she was like one in a bit when I started and then turned two, now she's about to turn three. So, there was a lot of nap time in the last year. This time last year there was still a lot of nap time. So, playing for five minutes during nap time was really-- it's not, I'm committing my whole nap time to doing some activities like sleeping. But, I can grab the guitar, go outside, play something, put in the earbuds or just play along to a track and then put it back on the wall inside. And that's spend something and it's really-- I didn't start with the guitars on the wall when I started lessons.

Wait a minute. Did you start with them like in the case...

There were in a case...

That you kind of like get them out? And..

Yes.

Oh, okay. All right.

So...

Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah. And yeah. And so, and there was still junk in the dining, I knew it was still kind of a dining room. So, yeah. Putting the guitars on the wall, made a huge difference.

Oh, okay.

Because there's not another place. Like there's not, I mean, you'd have to take them to another room and then you may as well put them in the case. Because they're not going to… unless they're in the case or high up on the wall, you're not really going to protect them from kids, they have the run of the house.

Sure, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

So, yeah. There's no like propping them up against a chair or something. So, having being able to pick it off the walls, put it on the wall, that's made it really easy to, yeah, do this five minutes of practice.

That's great. We have time for like just one more question and you know it's a simple question like there's probably going to be people out there who are going to check this out and be like, "Well, I'm a mom too I've got like a couple of kids whatever. How can I like fit this into my life?" If you were to address those women who want to make guitar a better part of their lives and everything or bigger friend of their lives, in their lives you know...

Yeah.

Do you have like any pieces of advice for those women?

I think dads too.

Or dads, yeah.

I know some guys who've tried to start learning guitar. I think that if you just really think about… like you can get something. You can accomplish something in five minutes. You can move your progress along in five minutes a day, if you're willing to do. Oh, and the metronoming stuff like that… like you can just do a little bit of metronome work in five minutes or ten minutes. So, and having a place to set a place dedicated.

Like your dining room.

Like the dining room. So, yeah. Like just hang your guitar on the wall somewhere, where you enjoy looking at it. Know that you can get something done in five minutes and just think about it. Just keep it part of your routine and for me, like I've really enjoyed it. And I have somebody to play with. So, it has just become something I've gravitated to.

There are moments like this month that have kind of fallen off. And I think December too was kind of like that. The school schedule is a bit different, there are more party kind of things that I'm involved with. So, my time is taken over with some other things. And that, just giving myself a break like I don't have to be awesome in a guitar every month, every year. I can do… if I'm doing my five minutes a day to take hours like...

A little bit of forgiveness goes a long way, right?

Yeah. So I mean, it's not like I have this is as far as I'm getting, I'm not going to do any better like, yeah. And my practice is on hold right now. Also, just in the whole time I felt like I'm just going to be kind of the slow learner like and it's okay. Like, I'm getting better and I notice I'm getting better and it's been great this month to go back over old songs and remember like, "I didn't really wasn't really look flavor before I started and now I can play guitar."

So, it's nice to remember that I've made progress and keep in mind that you know, I may never be as good as Walt and it doesn't matter because, I can be a decent backup player to him and we can really enjoy playing guitar together. So…

Rock on.

Yeah.

All right.

Just start to do it, see if you enjoy enough to practice five minutes a day.

That's great. That's really, really great. Jane, thank you so much for coming in here and sharing your thoughts. With the YouTube-O-Sphere!!! Ha ha ha ha ha! Okay, sorry. Okay, all right. And thank you guys for tuning in as well to the YouTube channel of the School of Feedback Guitar. Don't forget, I'll be doing a bunch of interviews with a lot of people and it would be really, really cool if you subscribed to the channel. Yada, yada, yada.

Thanks again and bye for now.