Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes

Teaching a parallel language..

Posted on May 01, 2006 by jimparedes

I remember what it was like when I asked for a guitar even before I turned into a teen. I was an adolescent and the awkwardness of being ‘in between’, or being too young to be grown up but being too old to be a kid was beginning to kick in. It was like being in some twilight zone. On top of that, my hormones were beginning to stir. It was a confusing time as anyone who has ever gone through it can attest. If there ever was a boy who was so moody, self-conscious and had so many self-doubts, it was me then!

It was also about that time I had discovered the Beatles. That must have been the reason I asked for a guitar on my 12th birthday and that made a world of difference to me. I embraced the guitar with heart and soul. I felt I had discovered a parallel language that could express what words could not. My emotions reverberated with the vibrations of the strings and chords. I remember discovering what a Major 7 chord was and I felt I had stumbled on something of incredible beauty. It was a sound that evoked such a mysterious ‘blue’ feeling that was sad, wonderful, mysterious and felt good at the same time. I can honestly say that the guitar ‘saved’ me from all that self-absorption that we all go through in our teens and ‘opened’ me. It let out many of the things I had wanted to say. I could ‘play’ them and to my great surprise and delight, I discovered that people cared to listen.

I recommend that if you have a son or daughter, encourage them to learn an instrument—any instrument instead of just letting them become couch potatoes in front of the TV, or becoming addicted to video games. This alone is a potentially life-changing thing for the better.

I started giving guitar lessons around a week ago to some kids. Not only did all the memories and feelings come rushing back to me, it made me wonder how my life would have turned out if I had not asked for that guitar many years ago!

Through this blog, I would like to invite anyone who may be interested in becoming my student. My youngest student is only 7 but what she lacks in age, she more than makes up with spirit and enthusiasm! I am hoping you or your kids discover the wonder of the instrument and the unquantifiable joy that playing music can bring into life. My duty as a teacher is to teach chords, technique, inversions, strumming, plucking, progressions, and all that. But the most important thing I am eager to pass on is the LOVE for the guitar so that even after they learn a few tricks from me, they can come into their own in expressing themselves musically.

If you are interested, leave your details at jim_paredes@yahoo.com and I will get back to you.

In two days, Lydia’s brother Marty and his family will be visiting and we are all excited to have family around. Then, it will be a sister from the US. How nice! We’ve always had a full house even in Manila, and I am glad that it is turning out to be the same here!

If I don’t blog for awhile, it only means I am too busy and too happily distracted to do the solitary activity of writing.

36 to “Teaching a parallel language..”

  1. Julia says:

    How I wish my dear friend Jim that we are neighbors so that Matthew and Junie can be your students too. Matt enrolled for two years learning how to play the guitar. He started out with high hopes and enthusiasm. The teacher must have not inspired him because he just asked me not to do it again on the third year. With you, my sons will not only learn how to play the guitar but you can help them “discover” themselves or whatever “gift” they may have. More importantly to live life with meaning and worth. Have a great time with all the family visits. I am sure it will be truly “HOME” again! Thanks for sharing your stories of your own teenhood, it truly is timely and useful for me, as you also know 🙂 Julia

  2. karen says:

    ive been reading your blog for quite sometime now. everyday, i look forward to your new entry, it’s refreshing to read yours. i, too, am an immigrant but here in california. i left the philippines when i was 21 and ive been here for 6 years now (you do that math =)). when i got here, i felt alone even though i was with family, and somewhat, for the love of playing the piano made me whole. i dunno how to play guitar but i know what it feels to hit those keys and you are absorbed in your own world of music.

    thank you for a very enlightening entry.

  3. ~C4Chaos says:

    hi Jim, i can certainly relate with your feeling about the guitar. i started late though. but when i saw the tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan in a local channel, i said to myself, “i would like to play blues and express myself like that someday.”

    i have a long way to go, i but i think i’ve got the blues from my head down to my shoes.

    too bad i’m too old for your lessons though. i really like the chord progressions of “When I Met You” and “Panalangin” sobrang cool! daming 7th chord 😉

    btw, if you really want to reach more audience and want to teach guitar lessons “worldwide” then maybe you could film some of your guitar sessions and upload it to YouTube.com. just a thought.

    speaking of guitar lessons, check out this SRV video and be awed 😉

    then check out this Joe Satriani video and be awed some more.

    and then check out this Kaki King video and… you get my point 😉


  4. ~C4Chaos says:

    P.S. i know you’re a fan. so here you go 😉


  5. Anonymous says:

    how much per hr jim? is it going to be in your place? only on wkends? bring own guitar?my son is 5, but really wants to learn.will the lesson be for an hr?

  6. Jim says:

    Hi Julia–Do try to have them pick it up again when they are older. A guitar especially for the young is something that gives them an identity.

    karen-yes, music can be a really solace.

    c4chaos–yes, my son who is a real josat freak showed me those sights. awesome. Thanks for the coelho link.

    anonymous– Your son may be too young. I don’t think you can have a guitar fretboard size that he can handle yet. I am hesitant to teach someone that young since they have very little concentration pa. See if he’ll still like it a few years from now.

  7. Anonymous says:

    word of mouth is that quick! we will patronize our very own… got a friend who already have got in touch with you! hope her 8 yo will make it to the fullest and enjoy it should they decide to enrol.the other one will email you later and maybe the other tonight! you might end up fully booked by the end of the month!

  8. Anonymous says:

    hw i wish we live close so maski too young my son, i will insist, ha, ha, ha! but good you have accomodated my friend’s daughter on mnday!

  9. THEA says:

    ive been wanting to learn since forever 🙁 im 18 now and im afraid it might be too late already. what do you think? 😐 hmmmmmm…….

  10. Jim says:

    anonymous–thanks for spreading the word. I’ll take your kid when he turns 9. Ok ba? Am getting some email na.

    Thea–never too late! If you have the passion, you will enjoy and learn.

  11. Senorito<- Ako says:

    don’t call him ‘josat’ but ‘satch’ yung josat parang jeep destination sa guadalupe eh.. josat josat josat !!

    I bought a 2nd hand Fender princeton chorus on trademe (ebay ng NZ). I thought guitar prices in the pinas was expensive !! Even more pricier here in NZ.

  12. Senorito<- Ako says:

    can you recommend me a good jazz standard real or fake book ?

  13. kiiM says:

    ive always wanted to learn how to play the guitar. last year, for my 17th birthday, i asked my `rents to buy me one… until now, a year after, i still cant play any song … at all. =/

    therez nobody to teach me. thaz why. sana ang lapit lang ng australia sa new jersey anhu! haha.


  14. Jim says:

    senorito–I had one years ago which I left in manila. It had 500 jazz songs but sorry, I can’t even recall the title.

    kilm-If you apply for migration now, you can be my student in less than a year! ha ha

  15. Anonymous says:

    hello Mr Paredes! Idol po kayo ng parents ko. if only dyan din kami sa sydney nakatira, e di sana makapagtake din ako ng guitar lessons dyan. kaya lang malayo po kami eh. all the way from Queensland.

    sige po, wishing you all the best in your new life venture dito sa Oz. and i pray that everything will go well with you tito Jim. (ok lang po ba kung yun ang tawag ko sayo, i just can’t call you just “Jim” – parang rude yata).

    Have an awesome day!


  16. Anonymous says:

    may dala kami dito sa Sydney na yamaha 101 greatest hits for piano, guitar & vocal (jazz-popular-classic).

    jim, puede pa daw ba ang 22 years old?

  17. Jim says:

    anonymous1–As mae west says, ‘call me anything but call me often’. A simple Jim will do.

    Anonymous2–Yes of course. Any age will do. Actually, the older, mas mabilis matuto. Please email me so I can give you more details.

  18. Anonymous says:


    I’ve enjoyed reading about your impressions of Australia. Have you tried out the ZoomIn website at http://zoomin.com.au/?page/home#
    ? On-line street maps for Australia. May it help in your adventures in Oz.

  19. Wyn says:

    sayang, sana dito na lang kayo sa melbourne. i’d love it if my kid learns how to play the guitar. i got addicted with it when i was in college, but i really didn’t have the talent for it. but i still play once in a while coz i still have that guitar with me.

  20. Nerie from Georgia says:

    I have been a fan since the 70’s because of your songs and will always be a fan because I’m becoming to know you better as a person through your writings. You are such an inspiration especially to the young. Keep on writing and sharing your thoughts.

  21. ~C4Chaos says:

    P.P.S. speaking of guitars, here’s one for you and Mio. make sure to check out the videos 😉

  22. Mary Rose says:

    hi sir jim!
    wow! it’s soo cool you’re giving guitar lessons there. i’m sure you’re having fun especially since you’re also teaching something you love. i’m very sure that your students will learn a lot from you. (not just how to play the guitar, but soooo much more) 😛

  23. KaDyo says:

    Hello Mr Jim,
    Mula pa noong bata ako gustong-gusto ko talaga na matuto na mag gitara, kaya lang dahil na rin sa hirap ng buhay ng pamilya namin noon hindi kayang maibili ng magulang ko ang guitara. Nawalan tuloy ako ng interest ng ako ay magbinata na.
    Anyways, nakikitaan ko naman ngayon ng interest ang anak kong babae (11 yrs old)na matutong mag-guitara. Natutuwa ako kasi mahilig din siyang makinig ng mga OPM lalo na yung mga kanta ng APO.

  24. Jim says:

    mary rose–when I took guitar, I learned so much about how to handle my own emlotional life. Yes, there is so much I can pass on to my students.

    darkblue–Yes. I can relate to hwta your saying. So much of my life revolved around guitars and music. Now my kids arte doing it too.

    kadyo– Mabuti at nabibigay mo sa anak mo yung di mabigay ng mga magulang mo sa yo. OPM is a rich source of great music. Buti nalang gusto ng anak mo ang OPM. At dahil gusto niya ang music ng APO, mabuhay kayong dalawa! heh heh

  25. Ray says:


    If there’s anything akin with Pinoys, it’s ‘basketball” and “guitars” (that’s aside from
    “Inuman” and Playboy mag at iba pa). And I agree, playing the guitar is good for your soul. It’s portable and it is natural. And most of the chords, you can find in the internet nowadays, through Google, of course–no more “pahiram naman ng Jingle magazine!”
    What kind of “axe” guitars do you have, and how do you control yourself from buying all these beautiful guitars?

    Damn Ebay, I have accumulated 13 guitars already (and counting). Logic tells me “if we’re going to die anyway, might as well enjoy now…” The old Yamahas are great (FG-140, FG-300) as they sound almost as good as the elusive Martins. I also have a Gibson J-45
    (great for blues) and two electrics I have not touched for a while. For all beginners the Seagulls, Yamahas are good for the money.

    I would still rate myself an amature, but I recently
    mad “kapa” I’ll Be Leaving Soon” by Mark-Almond. I think RJ Jacinto
    used to play that in DZRJ (and we’re forced to listen, right?) I was ecstatic really since I was desperate to get those chords. I was also lucky enough to find the chords of Pumapatak and Ulan in Google. That took a long process as the song was saturated by Edgar’s version. It would be great if we could exchange some good old songs chords. Through dilligent search I found “What’s her name?” by Paul Stookey of Peter Paul and Mary in the internet–a beautiful jazzy song.

    That’s just my two cents. I wag my tail when I hear guitar (grin).


  26. Anonymous says:

    Jim, just wondering why you (and your children) open yourselves up to the in public this way. You are so open to the public that they feel they have earned the right to make comments on your characters and your life. Just wondering, that’s all.

  27. BabyPink says:

    wow! what lucky kids those students of yours are. i hope they realize that.;)

    i never learned to paly any instrument (one of my greatest frustrations in life is never having learned to play the piano!), but i’m glad that my parents did not let us become couch potatoes or pc games addicts!:)

  28. Jim says:

    ray–you gotta be a special type of guy to like PPM’s ‘what’s her name?’ That’s one of my favorite songs. gotta look for the chords.

    I’ve had many guitars in my life. I’ve stopped buying already. My favorites were a Maton steel guitar (aussie brand), my telecaster, a nice acoustic yamaha (nylon), a yamaha steel with pick-ups, and an aria–a funny looking one which you play with headphones if you don’t want to bother anyone. Bought it in Japan.

  29. Philip Booth says:

    I like your idea of music as “a parallel language.”

    I agree. There are places you can go, in music, and ways of expressing yourself, that can only be understood by someone who has experienced the joys of playing music.

    Keep on keeping on.

  30. Doranne says:

    Ahw Sir Jim! Nakakainggit naman! I want to be your student for guitar too!

    I remember my first guitar. I still have it. My mom forever refused to buy me one since she thought they would ruin my hands and make them look like a guy’s hands AND that I’d abandon my piano. Haha. (well her 2nd reason was right).

    I had to convince my classmate in gradeschool to take my money and give me a guitar for my birthday. thay way. my mom wouldnt have a choice! The first book I bought was the “Beatles Piano and Guitar Fakebook” which had ALLL their songs made easy. Then I bought the Jingle 1001 Songhits which I loved to bring to school and make freecuts useful.

    Ang saya. Ang saya talaga mag-gitara! 🙂

  31. Jim says:

    hey Doranne,

    Didn’t know you could play! Yes, even now as I teach it, mas ginaganahan ako mag-guitar ulit. So many things to learn about it,

  32. Anonymous says:

    Jim, speaking of guitars and basketball, if you want to play basketball, there are groups of pinoys who play social games Saturdays around the area (Bernie Mullane and Stanhope Gardens). All ages from 15 to above 40 – just pay $5. If you are interested in volleyball, meron din. If you are interested, i’ll give u details.

  33. gang says:

    Jim- Rock Ed today hosted a breakthrough forum at the MTV head office. We had Prof Randy David address a group of artists. Mga banda. Maraming bata (mga bagong banda, KALA, RocksTeddy, Cambio, Sheila and the Insects, Pupil etc) at pati na rin mga beterano. (Noel Cabangon, Dong Abay etc) Randy spoke of the national situation and the challenge of artists. The open forum was especially interesting because most of the musicians were talkers, too. Communicators talaga. Naisip ko na sa susunod na pagkakataon na nandito kayo (matagal pa siguro yon?) eh ikaw naman ang kukumbidahan naming mag salita. Gusto ko lang ikwento sa iyo na ganito ang mga pinagkaka-abalahan ng Rock Ed ngayon. Nakakatuwa ang palitan kanina. Sana nandun ka. Tataba ang puso mo sa alab ng mga nagpunta sa forum. Ang title pala eh “Rock Ed, Randy & MTV” Cheers.

  34. Jim says:

    gang–would love to do that next time. I will be there August. If there’s a chance, let me know. I really like doing this sort of thing.

  35. I do not traditionally remark on blogs similar to this however in this circumstance also in keeping by means of the responses above I might take this probability to point out simply how much I appreciated your article. Definitely helpful as well as well written – many thanks for sharing this with us!

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