Monday, March 13, 2006

mmm hmmm

I started working on a wolfgang muthspiel tune but his ideas are too out there for me. It's a very beautiful solo with so many ideas, but I want to work on something with a cohesive and direct melodic statement. That brings me back to Paul Desmond.
I find it very interesting that I have approach/avoidance conflict with these exercises. There is part of me that wants to do them and then there is another part that recognizes that it's hard and that I'm not very good at it. That part wants me to stay away from the pain associated with learning. There really shouldn't be any pain with learning, but let's face it, admiting that you don't understand everything or that you are not very good at something is difficult, even if it is to your own self-conscious. So somewhere I'm protecting myself from embarassing myself from myself. Nice.....
The part that I am doing well with is the reason portion. I've made a comminment to do these exercises and I've seen what these exercises can do for people and I want that. I talk about this with Tim Miller often: When I was a teenager I used to play every rock n' roll guitar solo there was. I would play every note that Slash, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Brian May or Eric Clapton ever played. I had an amazing intuitive sense to my instrument and in some sense I'm working very hard to get back to that.
As I was working on "the memorizing the tune" portion of my exercise I recognized that I have trouble memorizing tunes. It's not that I can't do it, but that I haven't done it. I'm having the same trouble with Gamelan music that I'm having with memorzing solos or really any piece of music. I don't have the memorizing background. Because of that I think I'm making the process too hard. I'm taking the long way because I don't know any shortcuts. So much of my playing background is improvising and reading leadsheets to understand the form. This has now become my biggest weakness, or at least the oppiste of what I want to do right now: memorize music and know the form. It's helpful to acknowledge all these challenges that I'm having because I can address them and work with them rather than getting caught up them or being brought down with them.
tonight I'm going to transpose the Paul Desmond tune up a quarter-tone or so and work on the first chorus. Take small bites at first....


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