Long time no….

Hmmm… I just created a post in the “improved posting experience” and thought I posted it but it’s nowhere to be found. Trying the old, non-improved posting experience…


Hindemith – Elementary Training and the Bass Sonata

In addition to taking bass lessons, I also signed up to join the SBL Academy. This is an excellent (and large) community of bass players who work together to improve their musicianship. In addition, the SBL folks have an amazing amount of courses, lessons, interviews with professional bass players, etc. It has been worth it for me to join this community.

One of the threads in the SBL campus (the name they give to their forums) is around a recommendation to go through Paul Hindemith’s Elementary Training for Musicians. I am joining in that thread and doing the exercises in that book. I mentioned this to my bass teacher and he expressed his disdain for Hindemith based on having to play his Sonata for Double Bass. He said that there is a part in the piece that is unplayable and can actually cause physical harm to bass players.

I did some searching on the web and found this article. Apparently there is an unplayable part in the piece as published but it turns out this was a misprint. I’ll have to ask my bass teacher about this…


Goodbye Facebook and Twitter

I’m starting to notice that I’m spending more time than I would like checking Facebook and Twitter for new posts/messages/tweets. That was kind of OK when I didn’t have much to do but now I’m going to be trying to make progress on some stuff I’m working on and I want to eliminate distractions like that. I’m not disciplined enough to just ignore social media so, a week from today, I will be deactivating my Twitter and Facebook accounts. I will be posting periodically to this blog so feel free to contact me here. Thanks.


Music Lessons

I don’t know it’s because of my attendance at the most recent Chicago King Crimson Shows or if it’s because I have more time on my hands or both but I recently picked up my old bass guitar. It’s been about 20 years…

Long ago, before I took a job that moved me across the country to the Pacific Northwest I had a musical life. My last adventure back then was playing bass in a casual rock band that played Led Zeppelin, James Gang, and some other stuff. We also jammed a lot. I wasn’t really that good (unlike the rest of the band, who were really great) but we had fun. I didn’t really take it too seriously and I definitely wasn’t going to set any records for practicing.

 

When I came to Seattle in 1994 I had the naïve idea that I would continue playing bass so I bought a bass my second week in town. Well, the job demands (and actually my interest in doing job-related work) crowded out any idea of spending time on music. So my bass and amp sat in the closet for the rest of the time I spent there. I never did get rid of the bass so it came with me when we moved back to Chicagoland.

With more time on my hands and a renewed interest in music I decided to take a look at my bass after all these years. At the beginning of October I started taking lessons to see where I could go with it.

So far, I’m really liking it. For now, the only playing I’m doing is in my room and at my lessons but I’m really enjoying it so far. And for now, it’s pretty much limited to practicing. But just making sounds with a musical instrument is a new source of joy for me. And, unlike all those years ago, I’m practicing every day.

We’ll see where this goes but so far I’m really happy being a newbie bass player.


Unit Testing and Security Issues

A recent tweet from Michael Bolton pointed to this article: http://martinfowler.com/articles/testing-culture.html

This quote from the article related to the two security bugs resonated with me:

“Bugs will happen, but neither software developers nor the public should be satisfied with that as a response to defects this colossal in scope.”


#KC2014 – Chicago 1 & 3

The big item this week is the return of live music into my activities. To wit: I went to the first and third King Crimson shows in Chicago this Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

When I first heard that Crimson was re-forming, I knew that I had to go. At the time that I found out I had not yet moved back to the Chicago area but I knew I was going there so I bought myself a ticket. The wife is not a live music or King Crimson fan and I don’t know any King Crimson fans in Chicago so I knew I would be going alone. At the time that I bought my tickets the Thursday show seemed the safest. They hadn’t yet announced the Saturday show and I was pretty sure M-F nights would not be taken by any other activities. I wasn’t so sure about Fridays or weekends.

This tour, Crimson was playing at the Vic. I’d never been there before so I had no idea what the venue was like. I was pretty sure it wasn’t one of the big halls but that’s about the extent of my pre-knowledge. I was able to get a seat in the seventh row center on the main floor. Not too shabby. It turns out the Vic isn’t that great. There’s no permanent seating on the main floor so we had to sit on small folding chairs that were lashed together so we couldn’t even move them over a bit. I’m a big guy and it wasn’t the most comfortable seating. Luckily the quality of the music made me forget about the minor discomfort.

In the lead-up to the show I was following the earlier shows on the tour. I pretty much knew what songs would be played since they were out on the internet. I did a little pre-listening to make sure I knew the songs. It was good for me to do that because I was totally unfamiliar with any King Crimson albums prior to the mid-70’s incarnation (starting with Larks’ Tongues in Aspic). There’s some nice stuff prior to that, I found out.

Finally, this week the show. Really enjoyed it. Thinking about it now, I guess Crimson (and it’s offshoots like the ProjeKcts) really is my favorite band. Some issues with the sound, though. With the drums being front and center and there being three of them it was at times hard to hear the other instruments. On Friday, on a whim, I decided to check if there were any tickets left for the Saturday show. Turns out there were. This time I specifically looked for a seat in the Mezzanine. It turned out to be a good choice. I enjoyed the Saturday show much more. One reason was that I could hear all the instruments much more clearly. Other reasons: The band seemed to be having more fun. The set list was changed and I felt it was even more effective than the Thursday show’s. Kicked (and I do mean kicked) off with Red, then One More Red Nightmare, Then VROOOM and Coda: Marine 475. Followed by Scarcity of Miracles, a song (and album) that has been growing on me the more I listen to it, and a couple of tunes from the more recent incarnations of the band. Following that, a couple of tunes from the pre-mid-70’s version of the band and The Light of Day, another selection from the Scarcity of Miracles album. The pre-encore part of the show wrapped up with a Larks’ Tongues in Aspic sandwich (with The Talking Drum as the meat) and Starless. A nice touch was all the lights going red during the final number.

The encore consisted of a new piece by the three drummers and 21st Century Schizoid Man. I’ve got to say this: the Saturday show was Fucking Great! After Thursday I was glad I went to that show but way more glad I gave in to the temptation to go to the Saturday show. Hopefully this won’t be the last of the Crimson King.


Blogging

I’ve pretty much always had a blog (sometimes more than one) but I never considered myself a blogger. I’m thinking that I should try to change that. I’ll be trying to do more consistent blogging starting now.

At this point I don’t think I have my “blogging voice.” That’s something that I hope will develop over time and with more frequent blogging.

So, here goes. I’ll probably start with where I’m at right now and with comments on the things I see and do. We’ll see where this goes…