Through this fall or winter, I’d been playing Rocksmith for a couple of hours every Saturday and Sunday, but I’d been falling off in the last few months: partly because Saturday Tai Chi ate into my time, partly because I felt like playing guitar was putting stress on my back, and partly because my playing was in a rut.
I’m taking a break from Saturday Tai Chi, though, to give my back a break. And, apparently I can’t give my back too much of a break, because I’m practicing guitar again. And I think / hope I’m doing a better job of practicing now than I was at the end of last year?
My Tai Chi break wasn’t the only thing that nudged me to practice again: a month or so ago, Miranda asked if we could play Rock Band. Which we did, and it was fun, but I am not enjoying playing plastic guitar nearly as much as I was a few years back. And I figure Miranda knows how to sing a fair number of the songs in Rocksmith, so I suggested that, the next time she felt like singing, we might as well try Rocksmith instead of Rock Band.
Which we did a week or so later, it was fun! But it was also a little embarrassing: it’s one thing to listen to myself fumble my way through tricky bits of songs, but it’s another thing to do that while somebody else is actually paying attention! I wanted to keep on doing it, so I asked her to nominate a few songs for me to work on.
But that also got her curious about Rocksmith itself; so, a few days later, I came home and found her playing bass. And she wasn’t just messing around, either: she would start playing a song, drop into riff repeater, repeatedly level up the first section, move on to the next section, and repeat. By the end of that, she’d sound quite respectable, you would not have thought that she’d started playing the instrument that very day. She’s practiced a bunch of times since then, and we’ve also played together on guitar/bass a couple of times.
I won’t say that my recent practice has been up to Miranda’s standards yet. I do still like dipping into a range of songs, and I had a pretty big backlog of songs to work through that I’d bought while I wasn’t practicing. And, even when I do focus on improving specific songs, I frequently run into the uncomfortable fact that I’m not actually good enough to play all the sections of all the songs that I would like to focus on. (One downside of Rocksmith‘s leveling system is that it can turn into a musical version of the Peter Principle.)
But I am trying to do a better job of focusing, and I hope that I’ll do even better now that I’ve gone through all the new songs at least once. (And, honestly, I’ll have to do a better job of focusing while I’m practicing: I want to pay attention to the signs my back is sending me, which means that my practice sessions will get shorter.)
At any rate: good to be playing again, and very good to be able to play with Miranda.
This post has not been revised since publication.