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Oscar Maldonado just joined our new Zero to Hero program, where beginner students spend an entire year making their way through all 5 levels of the beginners curriculum, then play a show at a NYC nightclub on March 15th, 2014!? We interviewed him at the start of his journey to find out what inspires him!
When and why did you first decide you wanted to play the guitar?
I’ve always loved music. I listen to music even when I sleep. When I was seventeen, I told my mother that I wanted to be a musician. She found a guitar teacher for me but I lost interest very quickly. I’m left handed and the teacher was trying to teach me right handed. It just didn’t feel right, it felt awkward and unnatural to me so I didn’t continue. Then, last year while seeing Daughtry in concert with my wife, I noticed he would wipe his face with a towel because he would sweat. During the end of the concert, while I was talking to my wife, Daughtry threw the towel into the crowd. That sweaty towel hit me right in the face. Man! I couldn’t believe it! I love Chris Daughtry but not enough to have his sweat on my face. I looked at my wife and jokingly said, “I gonna learn how to play guitar and when I have my own band, I’m gonna hit him in the face with my sweaty towel!” That became a huge joke between my wife and I. Then shortly after, she suggested that I take guitar lessons. So here I am, looking to hit Chris Daughtry in the face with a sweaty towel of mine one day!
What has been your biggest challenge so far? Your greatest victory?
My biggest challenge and my biggest victory with playing guitar so far has been patience. In my opinion, there are people who make music and then there are people who make magic. When I see or hear people who play extremely well, that captivates me. To me, it’s magic. Since I haven’t been playing for that long, I don’t hear the same thing and it can be a little discouraging at times. I guess you can’t run before you walk and you can’t walk before you crawl. Learning guitar requires a lot of patience. The more you play the better you will become. Practice, practice, and more practice.
How often do you practice?
In the beginning it was hard to find time. I don’t have a regular schedule like most people. But then I realized that was a poor excuse. I have both an acoustic and electric guitar. Instead of keeping them in their cases, I leave them out. Every time I walk by them, it’s like they’re calling out to me. Now practice time is never an issue. I practice with my acoustic before I go to work. Then when I come home and its late, I’ll grab my electric and practice. I don’t plug it in because it’s about 12am and I don’t want to wake anyone up. You can’t get better if you don’t practice.
If you won a contest where you could play live onstage with any artist or band (any time period), who would you choose and why?
It would be Daughtry. The fact that I got hit with his sweaty towel really bothers me. I’m going to get him back! But, aside from that, I love his music. It would be a dream come true to play with the band that inspired me to learn guitar!
Where do you find inspiration to reach your goals?
I find inspiration in the music that I listen to. I’ll hear a song and think, “Wow! I need to learn how to do that.” Plus, being a student in NYC Guitar School is great. All the staff members that I have met are not only great guitarists, they are great, down-to-earth people. Everyone has been very supportive. It’s not just a school, its like a community. I joined the Zero to Hero program because I wanted to challenge and push myself. It’s a year-long commitment, which might sound like a long time and and very intense, but I don’t look at it that way. I want to play guitar and NYC Guitar School can get me there. I’m having so much fun, I look forward to it every week!