To some, playing the guitar might be nothing more than a fun way to entertain family or pass the time. To others, it can be so much more.
“I’ve been playing guitar since I was 15 years old,” says Frank McFadden. “Especially in time of high stress, having a guitar at your side can be an incredible comfort. I’ve seen how it can be your ‘buddy’ to help get you through some very rough times.”
McFadden, 71, in collaboration with the VSC, now offers the “Guitar Lesson for Vets” program, on ongoing series of gatherings to develop a community of novice, intermediate and skilled guitarists. More than just a series of rudimentary music lessons, McFadden and his volunteer team cover music theory, accessory selection (including strings, slides and picks), guitar construction and performance skills.
“Our goal is to team guitarists with varying playing abilities,” he says. “This includes total beginners, ‘noodlers’ (people who can play a little bit) and experienced musicians who have performed in bands. We ask that you give us a six-month commitment – by doing so, you will then have enough knowledge to build on for the rest of your life.”
McFadden says the six-month commitment is key. “At the beginning, learning to play a guitar can be difficult. But sticking with it that long will not only help your fingers develop but it will also help you develop a relationship with others.”
His interest in this program grew from watching returning veterans lose touch with their networks of friends. “I wanted to do something to continue the camaraderie service personnel have with their peers, and I recognized how playing in a band can have the same feeling. It’s all about the
McFadden credits his experience playing in bands with his brothers and other friends as key to his development as a person. “I have some great friends, and music and the service have been a key part in those relationships.”
He encourages performing musicians to participate in the program, which is held at the VSC offices at 1060 E. Waterloo Rd. in Akron every Thursday from 16:00 to 18:00. “Performing musicians are key to this program, offering instruction and peer-to-peer interaction. It can help you further your own playing goals,” he says.
McFadden encourages participants to bring their own acoustic guitars, though he says he is working
with Sam Ash Music to develop further resources. Donations of American-made acoustic guitars will be accepted.
“Just as with the classic Woodstock Music Festival poster created by Arnold Skolnic, we hope to instill in all participants a sense of peace, love and music,” he says.
For more information, contact Frank McFadden at 330-929-3570.