Where Do You Begin?
A student once said to me:
“This is easy for you, you can just do it. For the rest of us it’s really, really hard.”
I’ve thought about this off and on over the past few years and remember thinking:
“Oh, if you only knew…”
Truthfully, none of this is easy for me. Learning a new piece, technique, concept, passage, takes me just as long, if not longer, than most people. In fact, my mom used to shake her head at how slowly I would read…it’s true. My wife and I still laugh at how long it takes me to read a book or an article to this day. Upshot of being a slow reader—I find all the typos.
In addition, to reading at a glacial pace, I’m tall. This does two things:
- Makes all forms of public transit a complete drag.
- Allows nearly every technical aspect of playing the guitar to become a sort of ergonomic engineering project.
Nothing. Is. Easy.
Perhaps that’s why books have and continue to be written about work/working as an artist. Here are a couple examples that I feel are particularly appropriate at the moment:
So, this is my chance to show you my journey with learning something new and the entire process of me getting it ready for a concert. Here are the constraints, because in life there are constraints, I only get 30 minutes a day to work on the piece (of which I’ll capture and share with you). I’ve chosen to learn John William’s arrangement of Córdoba by Isaac Albeniz.
I’ll be posting my progress learning this piece each day. There will be good days and there will be days that may feel less successful. This is your chance to peak in and see for yourself. It’s not a straight line, it’s not a steady upward trajectory. This is just a person working to get familiar with something new and find something meaningful to say with it.
For me, I get overwhelmed by information (remember, slow reader). One of the most helpful things for me to do is breakdown any work into manageable chunks of information. In music, this requires me taking the score and understanding it’s musical form (the layout or blueprint , if you will, of the piece). This lets me organize how I’m going to approach studying the score over the next couple of weeks.
To give you (and me) a bit more clarity on this idea of form, I drew a picture what the form of this piece looks like from my perspective.
This is will become my map.
If you’re asking: Do I draw every piece?
Now that I’ve created the map, I can begin the journey. Maybe you want to join me, too. Pick a piece and work along with with me. I’ll be sharing via this blog and on social media using this hashtag:
See you tomorrow.