Greensleeves and the F.U. Sharp

“Alas, my love, you do me wrong,
To cast me off discourteously.”
— Greensleeves

guitar lesson

Back in high school, it was a struggle of love to show up for guitar lessons each week, paid for myself out of a scant minimum wage. I had no rhythm to speak of and was unable to find a correct note, but I loved music so much that I dreamed that I could one day play.

After picking my way haltingly through “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” my lack of ability was clear, but I stuck with it lesson after lesson, hardly ever able to turn the page to a new ditty. When I finally arrived at the hauntingly beautiful “Greensleeves,” though, I found a new enthusiasm.

I barricaded myself in my room and played only that one song over and over, slowly working out my first chords. I practiced until I could play it by heart and just about keep the time too — well, all except for a pesky F sharp on the fourth fret that my little pinky could never quite reach. I showed up for my next guitar lesson and performed the whole song from memory for my teacher.

I eventually decided classical guitar wasn’t for me and begged him to teach me how to “just play,” visions of leading sing-alongs of “Do Wah Diddy” around a campfire were plucked out in my head. That never happened. I cannot sing either and never got the hang of playing. My guitar collected dust for thirty years, but “Greensleeves” remained for me a pure moment of musical joy.

A month ago I pulled my guitar out, dusted it off, and tried to learn to play again. I suffered through the basics, back with Mary and her lamb. Mired in frustration, I flipped forward 40 pages to take a peek at the prize, “Greensleeves.”

I didn’t remember how to read most of the music, so after painstakingly looking up each note in each chord, I began to play it again. To my surprise, my fingers ignored my scribbled notes and magically went to the right spots on their own, muscle memory awakened after a 30-year slumber. Well, except for that F sharp that my husband heard me miss so many times that he asked if it was the F.U. sharp.

After running through it over and over, I had it down, not perfect by any means, but a song I could play by heart. Just don’t expect “Do Wah Diddy” around the campfire anytime soon.

(Video link) Here’s the video with a friendly disclaimer that I am a beginner and there is a very loud bird squawking in my backyard.

My friend Karla graciously allowed me to accompany her lovely vocal performance when I wanted the experience of performing with someone. We made this video about a week after I made the above video.

(Video link) Karla blogs at I Wannabe. Thank you, Karla!

101 things in 1001 days #44 (101 things in 1001 days): Relearn how to play “Greensleeves” on the guitar.

guitar lesson

About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days (and beyond), and writing my memoirs. My book: Timid No More.

This entry was posted in 101 Things, Music and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Greensleeves and the F.U. Sharp

  1. I love Greensleeves. There was a YA novel — before it was YA, I think — that featured a girl who was left behind over Christmas break at her Nun-run school. She slips back in time and her “What Child is This?” becomes “Greensleeves.” And for heaven’s sake I can’t remember the name of the book — but I LOVED it. Now you have me thinking of it all over again.

    Separately: How fantastic that you play guitar!
    That Unique* Weblog recently posted..Raising Voices: Mid-October Gun SenseMy Profile

  2. Karen says:

    Marcy, you are adorable. This is great. And the title of your post is hilarious.
    Karen recently posted..I Think My Subconscious is Trying to Kill MeMy Profile

  3. Woohoo! As a former music teacher, may I say I’m proud of you? None of my adult students ever stuck it out enough to play a full song like that. What an accomplishment! 🙂
    Natalie – The Cat Lady Sings recently posted..Speaking of Fashion Magazines…My Profile

  4. Daniel Nest says:

    Nice! I think the bird is just trying to sing along!

    It’s funny how much our body/mind remembers, even when we think we have forgotten, right?
    Daniel Nest recently posted..3 things I learned from wearing a wedding ringMy Profile

  5. F.U. sharp-teehee 🙂
    that cynking feeling recently posted..Sunday Slideshow: Budding PhotographerMy Profile

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