I wish I could say yes. I do. Alas, it wouldn't be the truth if I did. I can't create, write or arrange music. Heck, I can't even perform music decently on any instrument. Sure, they say the voice is also an instrument, and most of those who'd heard me sing would say I sing rather well; I think, though, the judges at the only singing competition I'd ever been in would disagree.
I guess I could say, like I always do, that I'd never been formally trained in music. Technically though, that's not completely true. When I was a little girl, I had several years' piano lessons.
My first teacher was a family friend. I was her very first student. I don't know how she did it, being so young and inexperienced that she was then, but she was amazingly patient and taught me very well. I lost her, however, when my family moved away from that town. The second teacher I had taught piano for a living, and made it so, extremely obviously. My third piano teacher was better than the second, though not much. She taught without passion, and frowned upon questions. I didn't like that at all. It was 5 or 6 years since my first lesson, when I stopped going for them (... and started writing my first "book"). I was somewhere between Grade 4 and 5, I think. Right now, I'd place myself at Grade -1.
I don't know how I fared as a music student - though I guess I must not have excelled, for I don't recall having garnered any praises from my teachers, nor admiration of family members and friends. The only thing I remember, is how my teachers always reprimanded me for banging too hard on their piano keys. I remember I learned The Blue Danube (an arranged-for-children version, of course) while with my second teacher, and once, when visiting, played it for my first teacher. She hid a smile while I was at it, and when I was done, told me that the beautiful waltz was meant for ladies in elegant ball gowns to dance to, not for stomping elephants. I was a little indignant; had I known then, how my final teacher would put it (= "STOP pounding on my NEW piano!!!"), I'd have appreciated the humour and sugar-coating a lot more.
I'd previously written a very brief note on getting my guitar (= here). Well, the Guitar Society was offering lessons at the time, and I thought - well, why not? I ended up going for 2 lessons in the span of a year, and only managed to learn ONE complete song (the easiest of them all, of course) before the poor thing was confined to its god-forsaken corner for years.
If it wasn't for my joining YKLS last year (and also being somewhat obsessed with Jason Mraz), and thus rekindling my yearning to play the instrument, it would still be in its solitary confinement.
So, yes, I can play a miserable couple of songs miserably on my miserable guitar; I can read a little music (though hardly enough to manage sight-singing); I believe I can play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the piano...
But no, I am not a musician. I love music and would love to do more musically, but unfortunately, I am unworthy to be termed a musician. As yet.
And no, I couldn't tell you where you could get a decent guitar. I couldn't tell you where you could get affordable lessons. I couldn't tell if there are teachers who teach with patience and passion. Still, I wish you all the best in your quest.
Now, I should stop writing and go practice some...