Music Lessons, Part 1: One-half hour a week

Chuck Smolko of Westgate Music Center

Is a one half-hour per week commitment too much to make, if that’s what it takes to open the window of your creative potential? And by passing through the entryway you discover a beautiful aspect of your life you didn’t know was waiting on the other side? Having maintained that commitment in order to explore my own musical capabilities I can tell you it is well worth the dedication.

I had a nagging curiosity most of my adult life: Could I do more with my musical interests and ability? Was it possible to move beyond the periodic strumming of my guitar and singing old songs I learned when I was twelve that no longer inspired me? Would taking lessons make a difference now? What if I discover that I am forever confined to musical audiences when I longed to be the performer? Though I’ve always had an intense love for singing I had no way to accompany myself on guitar so that it sounded good to me. I was frustrated that I couldn’t resolve my musical conundrum.

That was all before I found my way to Westgate Music and began guitar lessons with Chuck Smolko, a highly skilled teacher and accomplished jazz musician. Chuck dispelled my myths about learning guitar and began to show me what was possible for me musically, which turned out to be much more than I imagined. I will never forget the gratitude I felt meeting him, knowing instantly that he would be the right teacher for me.

From that moment on I knew with confidence that if I maintained this half-hour a week commitment, I would have the answers I came for. Three years later, I not only have my answers, but a whole new aspect of life that is filled with music and new friends who share my interest. The best part is that I am no longer on the sidelines as I was before! I’m the active participant in creating music that I could never have become without this very talented teacher.

When I think about the children and young people that pass through the doors of Westgate Music each day, it brings me immeasurable joy to know there’s a place they can go to create and make music, and gain the self-esteem that for some comes most easily through artistic experiences. In fact I am gratified knowing my own 12-year-old nephew, who is also Chuck’s student, is receiving critical instruction in a creative process that will last a lifetime. He has made magnificent progress under Chuck’s tutelage! Indeed, inside this charming little white brick building on Center Ridge Rd. you will find a dedicated group of people working in concert to make musical dreams—of all sizes and varieties, come true.  

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Volume 3, Issue 22, Posted 8:26 PM, 11.02.2011