STEP Reflection – Maxwell Rincon

Project Description: The project that I chose to do was to take guitar lessons from a retired professional musician. I have been teaching myself to play guitar for the past two years, but I wanted to take my playing ability to the next level. I was fortunate enough to find a great instructor and spent the past ten months learning new skills and techniques. The focus of the project was learning basic music theory behind famous songs, and then practicing new scales and soloing techniques with this newfound knowledge.

Project Motivation: I chose to do this STEP project because I have always wanted to be a good guitar player, and I cannot afford lessons on my own. It is with deep desire that I want to be a musician, and I have been proud of the progress I have made before, and during taking lessons with Scott Mize. As a business major, I struggle to balance the creative side of my brain with my daily work routine, so this project was meaningful and good for my mental health.

Project Transformation: This project allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone as a guitarist and as a performer. Jamming with Scott really improved my improvisation on the guitar and challenged me to be disciplined with my practice routine. In addition to jamming with Scott, I have been putting myself out there and have been playing with other local musicians as well.

I have transitioned from solely acoustic guitar to playing more complex songs and soloing on the electric guitar. My songs learning with Scott immediately transitioned from acoustic folk songs, to blues and rock. This enabled me to learn many new techniques, and fundamentals of music. We started by learning simple songs by Jimi Hendrix to build a foundation for many skills, and we branched out from there.

In addition to playing with local musicians, I have also begun to write my own music and perform live – something I would not have done without the confidence I have gained from this project. I will continue to use the knowledge that I have gained and continue to build this strong foundation as a songwriter and as a musician.

This project was significant for me because it allowed me to have an opportunity that I could not have imagined previous to enrolling in STEP. I was able to learn so much in a short period of time, and use this as a springboard for future learning and success in the future. Not only will guitar bring balance to my work life, but these lessons have allowed me to learn enough to become a songwriter, and make my dream of becoming a musician closer to a reality.

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