30 years of guitar

Thirty years of guitar.

Brooklyn, New York.

In April 1984 at the age of 12, I picked up my father’s beat up acoustic guitar and set out how to learn how to play it. Up until I started guitar, I had dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Personally, I didn’t care for winning and losing, so I stopped playing organized baseball. Music seemed the way for me. I was passionate about learning and wanted to learn how to play guitar. At the very beginning, I took some informal “lessons” with a family friend, learned a few power chords and took off from there.

6 months into that, my uncle bought me my first electric guitar – an imitation Les Paul. I was so excited.

Marco Oppedisano - 13 years old

Then about a year later, I took 6 more months of lessons with another family friend (who was actually quite good) and then basically became self –taught. My youth was spent listening to hard rock, heavy metal and 80s shred. I practiced at least 4 hours a day. In my later teens I discovered jazz and fusion. This was a time before kids had a plethora of after-school activities to choose from. Would that have made a difference for me? All I know is that I lived to play guitar. I would often fall asleep playing it. It’s all I wanted to do.

I became one of those rock guitarists in my late teens who felt that I needed validation by learning classical guitar. There were many out there – longhaired metal heads plucking the nylon. (I didn’t have long hair though). So, right out of high school, I enrolled into the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music as a classical guitar major. After 2 years of studying classical guitar, I eventually switched focus and finished with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Composition.

I managed to get in the conservatory as a primarily self-taught rock musician. I didn’t have the type of music background many conservatory students had. My parents were hard working Italian immigrants. They would ask me to sing while playing and I could never do it seriously. So, I made fun of Italian style folk songs. I played only two chords (D and A7) and improvised lyrics in Italian and broken English.

(Now as a band/guitar teacher, I can “sing” and play at the same time fairly well. I would have never imagined that happening. Life is funny.)

I wanted to play fast. I wanted to make noise. I loved feedback. I wanted to learn as much as possible about it. And as much as I loved the guitar, I learned that I hated it too. I fantasized smashing it into pieces. It was the perfect vehicle for my angst and sometimes it still is. I’m just not a kid anymore.

guitar 5.4.12 (1) alt

Long story short; I went on to get a Master’s Degree in Music Composition. After traveling some winding creative roads and getting lost too, I became a composer and use lots of guitar in my music (I have 4 albums available).

30 years of guitar and I see myself as a composer first and foremost.

Read some of my other blog posts to learn more about me and to hear my music.

http://www.marcooppedisano.net

Queens, New York.

Advertisements

My music in a short film

Recently, some of my music was used in a short film by Don Cato called, Dead Man Rides Subway . The film is a depiction of a poem of the same name written by Cornelius Eady recently published in Token Entry: New York City Subway Poems – Editor, Gerry LeFemina (Smalls Books, April, 2012).

The film was one of six films as part of the Subway Film Series. All the films were premiered at the Queens World Film Festival in March 2012.

The poem:

He lolls, he sways, this lone male sleeper
Minding his business on the B’way local.
Some let him snooze and think they’re
doing him a favor,
Others wait to see his head startle awake,
His drowsy panic,
Uptown when he meant to be Downtown,
Downtown when he intended to be Up,
And feel a bit cheated when his nap proves
to take longer than their stop.
Need I tell you life in New York City
is different? Difficult?
There he floats, slightly out of style
From the rest of us.

Cornelius Eady (b.1954)

The film:

“A man holds dearly onto his soul as he eternally rides the subway.”

The director Don Cato selected my music, so nothing was composed specifically for the film. I think it all worked out beautifully and am very happy with the result.  Hope you like it too.