Learning to Play the Guitar

Twice a week I took guitar lessons at the School of Rock in Mason, OH. I had a 45-minute private lesson each time where I learned the basics of playing the guitar.

This project helped me to better understand myself because I realized just how important music is for me and how much I enjoy playing my favorite songs. I practiced diligently every day, which helped me get better at playing guitar at a rapid pace. Furthermore, I noticed how easily I can grasp each new concept. Without this project, I wouldn’t have noticed that I have more musical talents than I thought. The guitar is the first instrument I have ever learned to play; therefore, my hidden talents came as a surprise to me.

Practicing was key to my new discovery to learning something new. I found it challenging at first, but I didn’t want to give up. Eventually, my musical talents shined through, which was also reinforced by my guitar teacher, who told me that I am learning faster than most beginners do. I grasped concepts quicker than most people did, which is why I was able to learn more difficult concepts and improve faster.

I was also able to feel more relaxed throughout the day every time after I practiced because improving on my newly discovered talent made me feel proud. It was an uplifting feeling every time I was able to play something new. After a while of practicing, I was finally able to play some of my favorite songs and play along with videos. This was one of the most defining parts of this project.

At first, I was concerned about how much time learning a new instrument would take up. Next to my schoolwork and going to work, I didn’t think that I would improve much. I feared that it would feel like a chore that I had to complete each day. It turned out to be much more. Instead of watching videos in my free time, I practiced playing the guitar.

This project brought an important change in my life as I became more open to trying new things. Before this project, I would have never thought that I’d learn how to play an instrument, but now I might be open to learning another one. In addition, it made me more outgoing because I could practice with some of my friends who also play guitar. I also stepped out of my comfort zone because playing guitar was a significant change in my life. By doing so, more opportunities opened in front of me.

Solid Body :: G5425 Jet Club, Rosewood Fingerboard, Black

Joshua Tree TimeLapse Photography Class

My STEP project involved traveling to Joshua Tree National Park to participate in an introduction to timelapse workshop. We ventured into Joshua Tree during sunset on the first night to capture a timelapse of the sun setting over a rock. The second night we went back into the park just after nightfall to capture the Milky Way`s movement behind a joshua tree. Day three was spend editing the photos we took into a professional timelapse video.
While I learned how to shoot and edit timelapse videos during this workshop, I also learned the importance of valuing your work and using your talents to evoke change/awareness. Before this experience, I was feeling as though I would never find a career that truly created fulfillment in my life. Afterwards, I was left with nothing but hope for my future careers and endeavors. My instructor taught me that lasting fulfillment must come from within; it comes from you valuing the work you are doing. This idea has extended into all areas of my life and has helped to make me feel valuable for the skills I possess.
During the workshop, I was able to connect with my instructor when there was free time. We got to talk about our lives over shared meals at the Joshua Tree Saloon, during the editing process, and while we waited for our cameras to capture enough images to create a video. Interestingly, he used to be a boat and car photographer before he switched gears and became a filmmaker and workshop host. We talked deeply about a project he was working on which would share the story of the city of Joshua Tree. He told me that everyone knows Joshua Tree for the trees themselves because they only grow in the surrounding areas, but there’s a lot more to learn.
What people don’t know is that joshua trees take 60 years to begin reproduction, they rely on yucca moths for pollination, and are being cut down at a rapid rate to make room for commercial construction. The town right next to Joshua Tree, Yucca Valley, has a much higher population of joshua trees because it sits at the perfect elevation for them to grow. Despite this, the town officials insist on chopping down acres of hundred year old joshua trees to build stores like Dollar General and Walmart. He has tried to interview Yucca Valley’s city officials for his documentary, but even they don’t see the problem with cutting down the trees.
The passion and importance he held for the work he was doing was truly inspirational. Connecting with my instructor on a deeper level made me understand that true fulfillment from life comes from putting importance into the work you are doing, whatever that may be. If he is able to change gears from boat photography to professional filmmaking, then anything is possible. There is nothing stopping me from reaching my dream career/profession. As long as I stay passionate and driven about the work I am doing, everything will be okay.
     Realizing that life can be much more simple than others may make it sound was an incredibly valuable realization to have. Previously, I was stressing out about how I would complete my degree in the health field while transitioning to the culinary industry. After this trip, those worries have subsided because I have learned to appreciate the journey instead of stressing about the destination. Even my own photography instructor didn’t know that life would have him hosting timelapse workshops in Joshua Tree.