The Book: William Leavitt, A Modern Method for Guitar, Volume I. Berklee Press, 1966 (reprint; printing information unknown). Softcover, missing front cover, poor condition otherwise; heavily marked with notes and lesson information. Cover page, exposed, bears owner's signature ("Clair Lamb"), as well as her sister's ("Kathy Lamb") in pencil, and her brother's ("James" with a star) in pen.
First read: 1980
Owned since: 1980
I do not currently own a guitar. I hang on to this book, and several others like it, because I will pick it back up one day.
The Leavitt method is designed to teach a beginning guitar player how to read music, how to use both hands with equal dexterity, and how to play with other musicians. It is still the basic text for the guitar program at Berklee College of Music.
This book is Volume I; I never made it to Volume II. My hands are small and not very nimble -- although when I played regularly, my left hand stretched so that it was visibly bigger than my right.
I was never much good at the guitar, but that wasn't the point. All humans make music, and should. I sing at inappropriate times, never quite on-key, and I think everyone should. And everyone should understand the fundamentals of music theory and notation. Learning the mechanics of music taught me how to listen to it.
Five Random Songs
"Honky Tonk Women," The Pogues. I've never been a big Rolling Stones fan; I love this cover, which sounds like it was recorded in a bar.
"Neighborhood Bully," Bob Dylan. An impassioned defense of Israel, off Infidels.
"Smog Moon," Matthew Sweet. Matthew Sweet had a run of really great albums in the early to mid-1990s, and this (100% Fun) was one of them.
"I Want to Hold Your Hand," The Beatles. Still perfect, 40-some years later.
"Citizen of the Planet," Simon & Garfunkel. From the Old Friends live CD. "Who are we to demand/That the leaders of the land/Hear the voices of reason and peace?"