21 February 2009

Music and Learning

I recently started taking guitar lessons with the patient and wise Luke Westbrook. I’ve probably taken about 8 years of private music lessons, on and off, since I was 12. It’s great to back into it!

My current projects are to (a) transcribe the entirety of Vernon Reid’s tune “Afrerika”, including the guitar solo (I’ve got the tune and the first couple bars of the solo); (b) to try to match some hip new chords to Ornette Coleman’s “Jayne”. (Fsus9, #4 under a G melody? Maybe!); and (c) to learn a chord-melody arragement of “Naima” by Coltrane.

Over the holiday break I took a bass lesson from my friend Al Vorse in Minneapolis, and that was helpful too: a good technique exercise and some tips for walking over changes.

My old friend John was asking why I would take lessons again, after I’ve already taken so many. It’s a reasonable question, because after all you can play lots of good music and have good fun with much less education than I have. Many people do.

But I’m into music for the long haul, and there is always something more to learn. In my case, tons more to learn. My jazz education is pretty incomplete, and there are lots of technique things I’d like to clean up, such as playing everything without a pick.

It’s also important for me to concentrate on something outside of work, because my work is pretty involved and I could easily spend every waking hour doing software security engineering stuff. (Like music, it’s bottomless.) Gotta keep the brain flexible!

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