Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Worship Guitar Lessons on DVD

I was suffering from Guilty Parent Syndrome. It was a quiet sort of suffering, yet it was always there, right under the surface. Ever since my youngest, who was nine at the time, saved up her own money and purchased a fairly decent first guitar, I have felt guilty for not giving her any instructional help.

At first, I actually did purchase a DVD that taught basic guitar. It was really lame and hard to follow. I realized that I could watch the DVD and learn it myself, then pass on my newfound knowledge to her. I actually tried one lesson. One part of one lesson. Then the guilt set in. Not only did I not realistically have TIME to learn and teach guitar (nor, honestly, the ability) but I was going to have to cut my nails!!! I just couldn’t quite bring myself to do that. So, I settled for feeling guilty instead. 

My intention was to find something different to enable her to learn. I did ask a friend to show her a few things. He tuned the guitar and then played it like crazy, not exactly sharing it in his enthusiasm for the great sound from such an inexpensive guitar. Soooo, it just sort of sat in her room, propped in a corner, strummed on occasionally and shooting guilt-laden daggers my way when I tucked my daughter in at night. I have let my heart grow callused to lessen the effects of the syndrome. 

Enter Jean Welles Worship Guitar, Volume One. When this arrived in the mail, a free DVD for me to review, I had one happy little girl! She wasn’t as little as she once was, for two years she has waited patiently (most likely giving up hope), for a chance to learn the guitar. Now thanks to reviewing for the TOS Crew, she had another opportunity to try.

I feared a repeat of the first DVD I purchased two years before: Low budget, grainy, hard to see and follow. However, I was pleasantly surprised that there was a clear picture, no distractions, and a nice, easy going style that Jean Welles brought to the video. The only draw back was an echo-y sound whenever she spoke, though it didn’t hinder how well she could be understood. Maybe it was necessary for picking up the sound of her guitar, I don’t know.

My daughter enthusiastically began the first lesson, guitar poised. She was absolutely thrilled with the instruction on how to tune a guitar to itself. That may sound like an oxymoron, especially in a grossly out of tune guitar, but it really did work! By the end of the first lesson, she actually could play a simple worship song with two chords! I got a really big “thank you!” from her, even though I really had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

Day by day my daughter has been working through the lessons and building on each new concept. Sometimes the pace is a bit fast and she certainly uses the pause button but I think that is to be expected. She also said she wishes that Ms. Welles would call out the chord changes in a song and slow down a bit. However, since Ms. Welles has been teaching for over 30 years, I am sure there is a reason on both counts.

In fact, Jean Welles has some really impressive credentials. She has a Master’s in Guitar performance from USC. Her instructional DVD’s are in nearly 60 countries and 1500 stores. Over 100,000 students have learned guitar with these lessons. And now I can count my daughter among the successful masses. We haven’t quite made it through all 7 lessons but I am already impressed with the songs she has learned and she is really pleased with the results. I also appreciate the focus being on Christ and using our gifts to worship him.

In all, there are four different volumes of Worship Guitar Class. Each DVD can be played in either English or Spanish and is suitable for children or adults. Also, if you visit Ms. Welles website by clicking here, you can also view the first lesson from some of the programs for free and you can even download the music. The DVD (along with a book containing the lessons and music) is $29.95. There are also DVD’s for piano, percussion, electric guitar, violin and voice. 

So, we now have the best of both worlds: my daughter is learning guitar and I still have my nails. All is right with the world and hyperbole lives on.

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At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.