Saturday, March 13, 2010

The beauty of 12-bar blues improvisation

Saturday morning and the living room turned music room is once again strewn with guitars, amps, cables, guitar cases, and music stands. There's an old dog lying next to his favorite person in the whole world. No, it ain't me: He's turned into such a mama's boy in his old age. She moved in and we started changing the sheets on the bed (sometimes twice a week!) and he started drinking out of a bowl next to his kibble and not out of the toilet. She--the prettiest, funniest, little thing in the world--has certainly turned Bob's and my world on its head.

Went to a play last night and by all intents I should have been riveted. It was about adultery and cancer and marriage--all my favorite topics and combos. There were some good actors up there, too, knocking themselves out. But it's not a good sign when you find your mind drifting to memorizing 1-4-5 chord patterns and you can't wait to get home and play them.

I started an American ensemble course with my old teacher, Lloyd Thayer at Club Passim. (He's not old; I've just studied with him before--that's what I meant.) Americana, to him and co-teacher, Eric, means playing the sound track to the Little Rascals, as Sue says. And to start improvising, we played a 12-bar blues improvisation--I,I,I,I,IV,IV,I,I,V,IV,I,V. Ok, people who know what that means will think it's pretty basic, but to me it opened up a whole 'nuther world. And it's something that I've needed for a long time, at least through these long dark winter months. Work continues to be a disappointment, though I learned a long time ago not to expect self-fulfillment with business majors who bow before the Great God Excel. For someone like me you can contribute to an environment like that only so much; they just won't allow it. Any semblance of the truth is off-brand. It's through the arts--theater, music, writing--where you'll just breeze along.

So that's where we stand on this dreary, cold, overcast, rainy Saturday. Glad you asked?

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