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Maybe this should be my ‘-ing’ week? I might break out of my verbial prision but tonight I’ve been doing some practise, musing on learning music and thinking on some ideas that apply more widely.

Some key principles were:

  • Take a chance and try some things that are too hard for you
  • You can play all the right notes in the right order but the timing is what makes it music; think about the phrases rather than the notes
  • Don’t ignore the wobbly bits. Sometimes it is worth isolating a tricky section, perhaps even just the transition between a couple of chords and working over it until they don’t feel like the scariest part of the song anymore.

Finally and most importantly, take time to enjoy what you can do. I found a recording of Cold Duck Time (one of the songs from last night’s jam) by Poncho Sanchez. While I was pleased with how I’d nailed it at the previous session, I didn’t really get it to fly last night on the upright bass. This evening though it came together, even though the Sanchez version is in an entirely different key (almost as far away as you can get without coming home again). On the bass end of things, it is pretty repetitive but, to compensate, has a groove a mile deep, so I just revelled in the joy of playing along.

Next time that gets called, I think I should be ready and, if not, then I’m just back round the circle to trying things that are on the hard side; one day they will get assimilated into what feels easy.

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