I’m in a box

New Rule. (Yeah, I’m stealing this.) I’m going to start out with what I’m listening to as I write.

Began today with Lyle Lovett. Road to Ensenada. Hard to believe that’s 20 years old. Great background music for working on my website. www.batmanriff.com. Finally made this thing live.

And now I have Gershwin going. St. Louis orchestra with Jeffrey Siegel. Piano Concerto in F.

After last night’s anxiety post, here’s the lesson update. I completely get what David Sedaris was saying when he wrote about the French teacher who forced the class to describe Easter using only 4 verbs and 8 nouns.

In other words, I almost cried.

I started my lesson with a prepared speech on “this is how I learn” and explained that I was a little overwhelmed by all the chords my teacher was throwing at me. “Can I just learn to work with a few and then add more?” I tried to show her what I meant by playing a song I’d written using three chords (C7, F7, G7). My goal was to demonstrate that if I focused, I could learn how to do different things with a few tools at a time, like building blocks. And then I asked for another set of I-IV-V chords to try out. None of this went over very well. Apparently, I’m in a box and need to be spanked like a baby to knock me out of all the bad habits my years studying classical music have instilled in me.

I’m seeing a book in my future: Me Play Pretty One Day.

Bottom line: I didn’t get any new blocks to work with. And my assignment for this week is to play random chords and make up a short melody. No structure. No key. No anything. “Don’t even look,” she said.

I wonder if that also means, “Don’t write anything down.” I mean, would I be putting myself back in the box if I stumble onto something I like and write it down, so that I could do it again?

I don’t know. Maybe this is exactly what I need. Or. Maybe not. I’ll keep you posted.

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