Thinking of Songs as Sandwiches
Learning to play recreational guitar has a lot in common with common life skills, like sandwich making.
Few would suggest that you must go to school and actually graduate from an accredited sandwich-making
school before you are qualified to make sandwiches. We don't need special equipment or training. And it's hard to
imagine someone saying "I hate all sandwiches." Sandwiches can be good or bad, and they can be simple or
complicated. No sandwich will satisfy everyone, but we all have our favorites. And our tastes in sandwiches change,
just like our musical tastes. We can copy other people's recipes, or we can create our own. If you experience a lot
of sandwiches, and learn something of what other people put in their sandwiches, you will probably be more likely
to expand your own sandwich-making skills, and get more pleasure from the sandwiches in your life. And what, after
all, is the goal of sandwich making? To appease a hunger. A similar hunger draws us to music, along with an understanding
that it is not only possible but desirable to teach yourself. The fact that we can expect both the experience of
learning and the end result to be pleasurable should be part of what draws people to the guitar. After all, it is
truly the people's instrument. Shouldn't the goal of playing the guitar and the expectations of pleasure in music-making
be similar to those of sandwich making? Your first day of sandwich-making can satisfy your hunger, and so can your
first day of guitar.
Think of The Song Train as a refrigerator full of ingredients for your sandwiches. It's up to you to
decide what kind of bread, whether you want mayo, mustard, tomatoes, pickles, cheese, lettuce...
Homework assignment: Read an article (preferably a stuffy, academic one, but a pompous pop music
one will do) about music and put the word "sandwich" in everywhere they use the word "music."
Think of these recordings as a big pile of sandwiches. No two are the same. The chords & rhythm are the bread
that hold the sandwich together, the melody and lyrics are the "meat". If you listen closer you'll hear guitar
licks, vocal harmonies and other instruments. Choose what you like to spice up your sandwich.
© Harvey Reid (2007)