Like many American boys, I took up the guitar when I was 13 years old and just fell in love with it. I learned on an Ibanez acoustic and then switched to a Squire Stratocaster and later my current Fender Stratocaster. I play electric pretty much exclusively now, I just prefer the freedom and variety you can achieve with it.

I once had dreams of being a rock star and melting the faces of thousands of screaming fans with my epic guitar solos, but these days I just do it to wind down after a day of work. I think that music represents a different way to exercise your brain, especially writing your own songs and melodies. For this reason, I encourage people to pick up a musical instrument, whichever you like. People may have opinions on which ones are "harder" or "more elegant" (I'm looking at you, classical musicians), but learning any instrument will exercise your brain in a different way than it might be used to and certainly help you grow as an individual.

So go grab that old guitar that you bought that one time because you wanted to learn to play Stairway to Heaven, don't give up this time! It takes alot of practice and frustration, but with time you can definitely get to a level of proficiency that people will admire.

I will say this, though: don't learn an instrument solely because someone else wants you to do so. I've seen many a pushy parent force their kids to learn violin or piano (those seem to be the most "parent-friendly" instruments, correct me if I'm wrong), and the the kids may end up being pretty good at these instruments, but they never enjoy them. Now, if YOU want to learn to play violin or piano and so do your parents, then go for it, but do it because you want to and not for them. If you are a parent and want your kids to learn an instrument, then your heart is in the right place (I will assume you want them to learn it so that they are well rounded, and not so you can go "hey, look what my kid can do!"), but try to take their wants into consideration. If your kid doesn't want to learn the cello, don't force it, as if there is an instrument that they DO want to learn and will promise to actually make an effort at it, then try to let them (yes, even it they want to learn the drums. Electric drum sets are pretty quiet and will allow them to get a lot of energy out into something productive). I'm not a parent but I have heard that many parents like to do rental instruments for their kids when they start off, just to make sure they are serious about it. Don't get a $1000 instrument for your child if they are the type that gives up easily.

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