Six strings attached

Sophomore is attached at the hip with his wooden companion and love for music


Sophomore Darren Mercer props his guitar and strums as he begins to practice a few melodies.

He meanders down the hallways of Texas High five days a week like everyone else. With a backpack on his back and guitar in his hands, he creates melodies while his fingers dance across the fretboard that some may never heard of. Since fifth grade, playing the guitar has been a pastime for sophomore Darren Mercer.

Mercer’s passion for playing guitar stems from his family. He first learned how to play when his brother introduced him to it.

“My dad had been playing for a while, but he didn’t really play too often because of work” Mercer said. “My brother came here from Washington, and he brought his guitar with him, and I just became interested in it about then.”

Since then, Mercer has been teaching himself. Although learning from a guitar coach could bring some benefits, it’s not the preferred method of learning to Mercer.

“Some people say you should [learn from a guitar teacher] because if you don’t, you develop a lot of bad habits,” Mercer said. “They say using a guitar teacher to push all of those bad habits out of the way is a good thing, but I don’t think I would.”

To this day Mercer doesn’t regret his decision. He believes that teaching himself gives him more freedom to explore what his own interests are.

“I don’t like people telling me what to play,” Mercer said. “I like to play my own stuff.”

Mercer’s favorite genre is classic rock, and his favorite artists range from popular household name bands to some not as notable.

“[I like to play] a lot of John Frusciante, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns N’ Roses and stuff like that,” Mercer said.

Mercer practices guitar whenever he gets a chance. Bringing his six-stringed instrument to school gives him more time to improve his technique.

“In a lot of classes whenever I finish my work, some teachers will let me take it out and play it.” Mercer said. “I play as much as I can to get better.”

Mercer’s passion for guitar expands outside the classroom. He wants to show artistry and develop his own tunes.

“I record a lot of music,” Mercer said. “[I] write my own stuff, write my own songs and produce it.”

One of the required abilities of becoming an artist is the ability to perform in front of others. To Mercer, it’s nothing new.

“I’ve played in front of people before,” Mercer said. “It’s just like how band does it in front of people. It’s no different, just a smaller [amount of] people performing, I suppose.”

Mercer hopes to move onto bigger venues in the future. One possible place is Tiger Center.

“A couple of friends and I want to play at pep rallies.” Mercer said.

Mercer has spent countless hours into improving his craft. He believes that it could benefit others if they start playing too.

“Guitar takes up most of my time, so I don’t know what else I would do without it. It’s such a big part of my life,” Mercer said. “I’d suggest anyone to learn guitar. It’s a way to expand knowledge.”