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Making progress on the bass end of things, in spite of time constraints.
I haven’t got a lot to add recently, because I haven’t been able to squeeze in very much practice time. Because of that, I’ve been working pretty exclusively with the bass (it may be time to admit that I just plain find bass more fun than guitar. lol), just sneaking in some song practice and a bit of work on the lessons section. Most sessions have been sadly under 30 minutes. (Real life, why must you get in the way of my fun time?) Even so, I’ve tried every available song at least once, I’ve reached 100% accuracy on 3 songs, I’m in the 90+% range on several others. Half or more are over 60%.  Now, I haven’t memorized any of them. I haven’t worked any of them with master mode. But, 100% accuracy means I can keep up, I can play these songs, and it’s just a matter of playing them enough to memorize them.  That’s good news, and good for the ego.  Yay.

Lessons are a bit more cumbersome, but this is mostly a matter of developing speed, memorizing the progressions. The tremolo lesson, for example – the switches toward the end are fairly quick.  Since I’m still counting frets, especially higher on the neck, that slows me up a lot.  It’s just time and lots and lots of practice that’s going to make identifying what fret I’m on and which one I need to get to at a glance quicker.

I’ve been reading the bass for dummies book in bits and pieces, too, but I’m basically sneaking five minutes at a time. When my free time is limited, I’d rather play than read, but I’m working on it. Not much to discuss there yet, as I’m still only scratching the surface of the book, so not much to discuss on that front just yet.

I’ve also dried out the rose petal I caught at Friday Nights Vamps/Like a Storm concert in NYC, and crushed it up to make myself a memento.

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Crushed Rose Petal? Or Magic Potion?
It looks a bit like a magic potion, but one might argue that the line between music and magic is thin, blurry, and maybe doesn’t really exist at all.  It was a great concert, and worthy of a very special, one of a kind memento – even if I had to use the herpes of craft supplies (glitter. it’s EVERYWHERE.) to make it.

I’ve been doing some casual reading of lists.  It seems people into music really like listing and categorizing people. And then relisting them, and recategorizing them.  And, I’ve read a few interviews.  It’s all pretty random, but the same questions keep coming up, things like “who inspired you?” and “when did you know…?” etc.  It creates a sort of mental block for me. I imagine how long the interviewees might have thought about it until they had an answer that sounded good.  Music has never been one thing for me, it’s been a series of perfect moments that just sort of accumulate on top of one another into something that has to be the definition of joy. There’s no one thing that I can really point at and say ‘THIS is the reason I wanted to learn an instrument.’  There’s no magic formula.  And, all these interviews make it seem like there’s a roadmap you can follow to see what makes this musician this way, and that musician that way, and it all just seems far too simple. Maybe it is, sometimes. I don’t know, but it’s something I find really curious, which brings me to Amanda Palmer’s ‘Judy Blume’ (this line of thought has that song stuck in my head, particularly the opening line:

“People keep asking me why I do things that I do,
In all of this measuring influence I forgot you,”

The things we forget about shape us just as much as the things we remember. It makes me wonder what goes through the heads of these rockers AFTER the interview. That moment when they walk back out into the world and go ‘ah, I should have said…’  Missed opportunity, that. 🙂

So, I think it’s a good time to open a dialogue. To the musicians, or artists, or other creative types who might be reading this, when did you decide ‘THAT’S’ what i want to learn. Do you find yourself struck by an influencing act, a singular show, or was it all these little things that you didn’t notice right away that just accumulated over time until the compulsion was too strong to avoid.

For myself, I’m in the latter camp.  I went through a lot in my 20s that left me haggard. When I found myself coming out the other end of it, I think I was desperate for something to grab onto that might give me some happiness in life, something to learn without a destination, but just for the joy of learning. And, that led me back to the only thing that had never let me down: music.  I’m still at the beginning of this journey.  I barely know anything, but I have an unquenchable curiosity for knowledge, and I think it would be fascinating to hear a bit about your ‘a-ha!’ moments, if you feel inclined to share.

Until Next time – less typing, more playing! I have an appointment to keep with my bass. Rock on!

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