Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Welcome Diversions

Last month, I got a piano. It's an old player piano that someone locally was giving away. The only catch was that I had to figure out how to move the thing... but with enough help, it wasn't so bad. That said, I'm hoping that whoever lives in my rented house after me also wants a free piano. I don't intend to move anytime soon, but whenever that does happen, I like to think that maybe the piano can stay behind. I'm mostly saying that because the wheels all broke off in the process of moving this thing. It's a beast.

I neglected to ask if it was haunted or not, but if it starts playing Moonlight Sonata unprompted at three in the morning, then I'll know. I'm curious if I can make a player roll for this thing in the college's maker-space. If so, I'll probably want to make one that plays the theme song from Beverly Hills Cop. How cool would that be?


Over the past few weeks, I've also been sitting in with a local jazz band. It has been a humbling experience. I have played guitar for almost thirty years now, and I am amazed at how many chords I don't yet know. My knowledge of music theory is also fairly limited, so it's been a steep learning curve trying to get caught up with the rest of the band in terms of playing these songs. Don't get me wrong. It's been a good experience, if a bit stressful at times. Then again, I tend to think that one of the best ways to grow as a person and an artist is to get out of one's comfort zone from time to time. In order to learn anything, we must step beyond the limits of our existing knowledge.

The jazz band performs at the beginning of next month. Then at the end of May, I'm playing a forty-minute solo set as part of a local annual music festival. Basically, when I'm not learning jazz chords or messing around on the piano, I'm practicing my own music. Every once in a while, I tinker with some of the songs that are still in development. 

I also teach full-time and like to spend time outside when the weather is pleasant. Sometimes that means bringing an acoustic guitar to the back yard. I also perform at the college every once in a while, each time so far for an audience of three or fewer people, and that's counting my friends and colleagues who play bass and hand drums.

Once these upcoming performances are both behind me, as well as the current semester, I plan to get back into wholeheartedly working on the album that I got about half-written over the winter and spring breaks. By the time it's done, don't be surprised if it ends up having some piano in it. I also suspect that some of these jazz chords will make appearances in my work, whether intentional or on autopilot. I might even know what key I'm playing in without having to think about it for too long.

As always, thank you for supporting independent art... and local music. 

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