North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

Opinion

April 7, 2014

Danielle Cater: Old dogs can learn new tricks

Danielle Cater: Old dogs can learn new tricks

NORTH JEFFERSON — You’re never too old to learn something new. I’m of the opinion that you can, indeed, teach an old dog new tricks.

So as an old dog, I’ve been trying to pick up a new trick.

Many people know that my husband is the lead worshipper at our church and that takes a lot of our time and efforts. It’s definitely his ministry and I love to worship, so we go hand in hand with that. But I would love to do more in that area.

I use to sing in a praise team for my former church, but my voice is even worse now than it was back then, so singing is completely off the table. Although I couldn’t sing, I still wanted to do something that would be connected to the musical side of our lives.

Since he loves guitars, we spend a great deal of time in music shops. As we were walking through Guitars and More, a shop in Gardendale, I pointed at a bass guitar and told my hubby, “I’m pretty sure I could play that. It’s only got four strings; how hard could it be?”

Well, that was the wrong thing to say to a man who loves music the way he does. The next day he called me at work and said, “I found a cheap guitar and I’m going to pick it up for you... do you want to ride with me?”

WHAT? I’ve never played an instrument in my life. I’m too cheap to by a guitar. What is he thinking?

I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I actually had a guitar when I was 14. My parents saved and got me one for Christmas. Our friend lived with us at the time and he offered to give me lessons for free. What a setup! But I was still in that bad stage of my life and when he said I would need to cut my nails in order to start learning, I got mad, sold the guitar to a guy at school and never touched another one.

Part of the reason I never touched another guitar was because I still felt badly about the way I treated the last guitar I had owned.

We got a cheap little $50 bass guitar and headed home. He replaced the strings and spent a good deal of time and effort to get it up to par for my first lesson. With him putting this much into it, and knowing what it meant to him, I was determined to play it at least two nights in a row.

When I practiced the first time, I was as bad as you would expect me to be. The problem is that I have no rhythm at all. This is a bad deal now that I know that bass is all about the rhythm. Who knew?

But the difference this time is that I stuck with it. My husband has had the patience of Job while teaching me to play. Sometimes I would threaten to throw the bass, amp and him out the window if I didn’t get the song right, but he would laugh at me and then give me a big hug when I would actually find the right note.

I had been playing a little over a month when I got the opportunity to play bass at church for the first time. I told him I was a little excited and that I wasn’t very nervous. Well, apparently I should have been a little more nervous. I completely messed up one of the songs and the real reason is because I started singing the song and enjoying the worship part and forgot I was on stage playing an instrument. He acted like it was no big deal, but I’m sure he regretted that he let me play and never wanted me on stage with him again. But I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if he didn’t let me play again a couple of weeks ago. This time I stuck to the script and only raised my hands in praise when I wasn’t supposed to be playing the bridge of the song. I think he approved of that much more.

So here I am a couple of months into this thing and I’m actually loving it. It’s my new hobby and with a new bass and new strap, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning when I play a song all the way through without completely destroying it.

It also helps that bass is an instrument usually played by men, so when a chick plays it, the bar is usually lowered.

So there you have it, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Now that dog may growl and hiss and bark at you (I believe I have done all of those things to my husband while in lessons with him), but it can be done.

I’m not quite sure why I waited until 33 years old to start playing an instrument, but I sure am glad I finally did it.

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  • Danielle Cater: Old dogs can learn new tricks

    You’re never too old to learn something new. I’m of the opinion that you can, indeed, teach an old dog new tricks.
    So as an old dog, I’ve been trying to pick up a new trick.

    April 7, 2014