Archive for the ‘Musicianship’ Category

music 2

Friday, November 26th, 2021

So, a question that the previous post posits is, why do I care what other people think? Well, I guess some of it is sort of a reality-checking – I think I’ve gotten much better, but if other people don’t then maybe I’m just getting better at meetig my own particular needs and desires. There is also of course the hope, as I’ve mentioned, that I could “quit my day job” – I have another probably valid method to pull that off, which is the kittens. (I’ll probably start blogging more about them in the near future as I start doing experiments with 3.0 – the kittens are a genetic algorithm driven robotrader being set up to work stocks and cryptocurrencies)

Anyway, I don’t actually know if I’m getting better or if it is just my perceptions of my work are getting better.


Thursday, November 25th, 2021

So, in the midst of a conversation with a friend, I was re-pondering something I have given considerable thought to. If someone showed up and offered me a magic-wand-gain-enormous-musical-skill-without-working-for-it, I would refuse it. My fear would be that the only way I see to end up with musical skills that match and are resonant with my nervous system is to earn them one step at a time, one hour at a time. I already very occasionally have moments when it feels like the music I’m playing isn’t “me”, and then I have to take a step back, slow down, and figure out what isn’t quite right about it. I want to be a technical virtuoso, but since I’m not interested in doing it by reading music – I want to be playing, improvisationally, even when I’m playing the music of others – I want to be interpreting it through my own particular groove. I only see one reasonable path through to this – one hour at a time.

While I’d really like to get paid to write and perform music, my intention is to continue all the way through to my 10,000 hours even if I do not, and to continue exploring the music space even if I do not.

One thing that does sometimes bother me is that I don’t get a lot of recognition from people in my life that I’m getting better, even though I have put at least a thousand hours on since COVID began. There’s a few people who have acknowledged my increasing skill.. Andy, Loren, Bunne.. but none of the people I play with regularly have. I do know that I still have a long way to go.. it’s getting harder and harder to tell whether I’ve come further than I still have to go or not.

500 hours

Monday, October 18th, 2021


Sunday, March 21st, 2021

So, I do think we’ve gotten to the point where the kit I’ve got available is better than I am – I’m of course working my paws off trying to catch up. Anyway, if anyone was curious, here’s some of the setup:

More later.

400 hours

Sunday, March 21st, 2021

And slowly we accumulate the 10,000 πŸ˜‰

300 hours

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

So, this marks 300 hours since I installed a hour meter on my mixer (June 27th, I believe)

200 hours

Friday, October 16th, 2020

So, today makes 200 hours since Jul 27, when I installed a hour meter on the power bus for the mixer. I’m trying to get my 10,000 hours – my estimate is this makes 8700. πŸ˜‰ I’ve also been doing a lot of exercises intended to increase my proficiency.



At the moment I’m doing on guitar:

*) major and minor scales, up and down in triads (1-2-3,2-3-4,3-4-5, and so on, then back down)

*) major and minor triads (1-3-5) up and down

*) various melodies – lately I’ve been doing carol of the bells, but I try to do a different one every week

*) all five root position chords, and C and E position bar chords


On piano:

*) major scales in every key, at least 8x

*) improvising on the major 12 bar blues in every key


Then, of course, I try to do a hour of various covers every day.

“Why should we listen to entertainers?”

Sunday, September 27th, 2020

From time to time people speak bitterly of the political messages embedded in music from bands like U2 and the Beatles, and ask why they have to foray into politics instead of just sticking to the music. This is often coupled with asking why we should be listening to the political views of entertainers.


I have a number of thoughts on this, which I will attempt to enumerate a few of.

  1. I’m not sure that we should be. But certainly as someone who writes music I feel I should be free to write music about my opinions about political matters
  2. If we should be, the reasons are as follows:

I am someone who has done a lot of things, and I consider myself to be – based on feedback from my friends and apparent comparison with my peers – at the top 2% of intelligence for humanity and the top 10% of drive to do things. My income is in the top 2% for my country (but not the top 1%, which would require two orders of magnitude more income – see elsewhere for discussions about this). I am a fairly capable dude.

Therefore perhaps you will believe me when I tell you that learning to play a instrument at virtuoso level – not something I have yet achieved, but something I expect to achieve in the next couple of years – is the hardest thing I have ever attempted. That’s one reason – they have proven, by dint of their capacity to perform, that they have discipline and dedication.

Another reason is that of course they are a member of the human family and either everybody counts or nobody does.

But to go beyond that, let’s ask the logical questions – why should we listen to the political views of newscasters, who are hired to have great hair and sound sincere even when they’re lying? Why should we listen to the political views of *politicians*, who for the most part only got to be politicians by winning a popularity contest and for the most part are politicians because it’s easier than working for a living. (I make exceptions for people like Brian Leeper, who became a politician to fix a specific problem and did indeed fix it – you find people like this all the time in local politics but a lot less in national politics – a future essay of mine may be about the evil that isΒ  Big Politics, which is possibly worse than Big Pharma, Big Health, and Big Oil put together – it certainly enables them to do things like killing millions of innocents in order to secure access to oil, or routinely charging tens of thousands of times the cost of production for life-saving technologies that should not even be patentable)

I guess I will listen at least somewhat to the political messages of everyone from The Who to Pink Floyd to U2 because I feel like those people had to work pretty hard to get the skills to do what they do and in the process of acquiring discipline they may also have become somewhat less of nitwits than the average man on the street. I also think they tend to be very well travelled as a side effect of their career choice, and I think travel also opens the mind.


Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

So, today marked the confluence of several milestones – first of all, the hour meter that I installed on July 27th hit 100 hours – there’s rumors that to truly master something takes 10,000 hours and my best guess is that I’m at about 8500 for playing keys – of course, this is counting both practice on keys and guitar..

Another milestone is that I measure 10-hour increments of guitar practice by needing to recharge the wireless sender, this is my third ten-hour increment since I started using wireless guitar kit in may.

I think there was a third one, too, but I’m not currently thinking of it. I continue to work regularly at things, though.

Working out

Sunday, August 30th, 2020

So one of the things I’m still trying to figure out is how often to take breaks while practicing. I thought I should take a break today because yesterday I was having a lot of muscle soreness, and I was even having a bit this morning but everything seems fine now. I am still inclined to take the day off – my theory here is that muscle-wise, I will grow faster if I take a day off every week or so. Of course it’s hard to really know, but it does seem like the breaks (strategic time out periods ;)) are helping. I will be glad when I get strong enough to not need them, since I look forward to the practice sessions every day and of course the more hours I get in the faster I get to where I’m going..