Monday, August 31, 2009

Beautiful, Solid, & Free

I began reading a book of Thich Nhat Hahn this week titled "you are here." On the first page he describes how he begins his day offering incense and making "the vow to live each moment of it in a way that is beautiful, solid, and free." I was touched by this beautiful aspiration of this renowned Zen Master.

How to apply to my own practice? Certainly a simple vow for one to undertake, though I am well aware of how formidable the challenge. I practice daily, find a place of peace and serenity, and then as the day progresses' I lose my sense of the breath. Then I remember and return, lose the breath, and again remember. The moments of remembering are what is precious, when I have the opportunity to wake up, to live. But still something about Thay's vow woke a desire in me to practice with this vow.

In my guitar practice I usually have goals, exercises to work with, pieces to learn and polish, and being open to respond to the creative impulse. I center myself at the beginning of my practice period in various way, some of which have been described in previous posts. Tonight I made this vow for the time of my guitar practice. Simply to be alive and to enjoy my passion for music is beautiful.

This vow changed the quality of my work tonight. Changed the quality of my playing. Every note like every breath is beautiful when I am present. To be relatively free of judgements while I learn this piece is precious. I suspect that I may even learn this and any other pieces I approach in this way easier; at the very least more enjoyable and fun.

More soon.

What are you practicing?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Addressing the Instrument

Some buzzing developed of late on my Godin on two of the strings. Off to see John Warden, a local luthier of great reputation. He tweaked my neck, the guitar one that is, and the buzz is gone. Action a bit high now but still playable. Need to go back in a couple weeks when the local humidity decreases to have a set-up prior to my next recording session at the end of September.

Listened to Chris Anderson's Free: The Future of a Radical Price during the commute. This is available as a free podcast or for sale.

After a gentle warm up I played through several works that I now and just enjoyed listening to the pieces. So much time lately has been devoted to new works that I felt the need to relax and enjoy my playing. Reviewed three other pieces.

Had a delightful conversation with my friend Pablo Mandel who did the design work for Scattered Hearts and the website. Such a wonderful man. We discussed two potential titles I have for the next release. He preferred the one I have been favoring so looks as if that decision is made.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Some nights I just need a quiet communion with my guitar, with myself, perhaps with music. Actually every night I need the communion with music, just at times this does not happen. Sometimes I am not available. So I practice.

For the first time in my life I just noticed that communion and communication appear to share the same root.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Trust the Process

Currently having concerns about balance in my guitar work. Recently I have been blessed with a download of new material from the muse. Three new solo guitar pieces in the past 4 weeks and a couple solid ideas for pieces. All of this is blurring in my ear. Plus there are pieces that were written during our holiday in Cambodia this spring which I have yet to get into my hands. On top of this I need to prepare for a recording session with Tony Geballe next month.

I find myself concerned with possibly loosing some of this material. This has happened in the past when I have not been as reliable in my recording rough takes and notating new material. And so what if I do loose a piece of music. Music is a gift to me. Perhaps the gift had accomplished what was needed? Trust the process.

I listened to the new works on my commute again today. Had one of them floating in and out of my brain during the day. This always helps my process when I have the music in my ear. While listening on the way home I suddenly heard the ending crystallize for "When Love is Taken." Fortunately I was listening on my portable mp3 recorded so I pulled over, hit record and sung the new ending into the machine. Good thing I did as I can not hear this ending now.

Same solution to this concern as any other - Pick up the guitar. Played two pieces that are known for a warm up. Reviewed two pieces that I know we will record, then looked at the three new works. Ended on a positive note by playing the first piece that ever came to me.

How are you maintaining balance in your pursuits.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

One Hour Forty-Five Minutes

I invited three local crafty guitarists to come over today and work on group improvisation. Long time friends Steve Geest and Peter Legowski were able to take part. I have played more notes with these two people in various configurations than any one else on the planet. Four different groups: oDD CamP, Solaris Guitar Trio, FingerPaint, and Special Guest.

Due to various family obligations amongst us we had 1 hour and 45 minutes to play with. We began with circulations for the first 15 minutes. There were so many extended beautiful melodies coming out of us, that I could have been satisfied circulating the entire time. After a brief pause an improvisation began. Then another one. Spirited exploration by all three so us. I was happy to watch myself being free enough to play. I was not holding back, just listening and experimenting. Occasionally even responding. Very valuable information for myself.

Quickly showed them the japanese scale based on C and we were off exploring again. A suggestion to play "water." There was a hesitancy to begin this, but then slowly, surely music evolved. The next improv began with groups of harmonics being played in five. What developed had many moments of sheer beauty for me. Most of the time I held the simple pattern of harmonics with some variations as Steve and Peter took this places. I wish we had been recording to be able to learn from this one. An embroidery was introduced which after two times around took off in various directions of the unordered kind. During this time my body began tightening. We had decided not to take a break after 45 minutes and now at around the hour and 15 minute mark I was losing any semblance of a relaxed relationship with my body.

When that improv completed it did not seem to make sense to take a break, yet even a brief shaking out of the limbs would have helped me. Perhaps I should have suggested it, but I did not want to disturb our process. Another improv with some actual dialogue between Peter and myself trading licks. This was fun and a personal highlight. Both Steve and Peter possess very musical natures, are good players, have played in a variety of contexts, and can play fearlessly.

Our final improvisation began with circulating dyads. Again many beautiful moments emerged as we allowed this to take form.

A good piece of work with very few words being uttered during the time we played. We shared a glass of water and goodbyes.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Amazed when I did an AT lie down before practicing tonight. The section of my back behind my sternum was not a tight knot. And this on a Friday night when I did not sleep well last night. My efforts with applying the Alexander Technique during my work day and my ongoing Qi Gong practice bearing fruit.

The past two days on my commute to work I have been listening to rough recordings of the new solo guitar pieces I am learning. I began reviewing two of these pieces. Suddenly I found my hands arpeggiating a chord and then another. Trusting my instincts I followed. By the end of the hour I was onto something. A brief break for a lie down. My back and hands felt good and I wanted to keep them that way. Also I was getting emotionally excited about the developing piece and did not want that type of interference.

Back to the piece for another hour and I definitely have a beginning, middle, and an end. All of this was notated. By the end my left hand was feeling like a dish rag. I took a brief break and rubbed some linament into my left wrist to keep it loose. I wanted to create a rough recording for archival purposes but this was not to be tonight. Hand was too tired and the mind uncertain of the piece. Better to let go and protect my body. Onto the floor for another lie down.

What are you doing to protect your body from harm?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Desire Deficiency

Long but productive day professionally and for the family. Too tired to now practice, yet I will practice. Why? This is the life I choose - I am a musician.

45 minutes later.

After a long lie down, I began by listening while warming up. Then into a slow look at the new piece. I am becoming convinced that beginning my practice session with a lie down is a very productive way to begin. My body is relaxed when I begin, mind calm, and I can notice more often when I am tightening. Now I am ready to return to practice. Amazing how just an intention and a small effort can transform my desire.

And then an hour later.

Played through the new piece again and then worked on one section of it. Played through Gathered Hearts. And then moved on to learning from tape and notating a piece that came out in July. Learning by ear is challenging for me but rewarding when accomplished. Made a major dent towards completing the notation. Off to read and relax before bed.

Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Trust the Abundance

Back to practicing tonight. Busy day at work and needed to put some attention into an important family matter coming to completion tomorrow. Overall I was feeling a bit overwhelmed in a funny kind of way with the abundance of musical material that has been flowing of late.

Several new pieces have emerged since coming home from the course on Raft Island. They are not committed to memory, and are in various stages of documentation. Some notation and rough recordings of various takes of each exist. I need to trust the process that allows these gifts to come forth. When a new idea is there I will continue to follow. This is actually a problem of luxury. Perhaps I am a bit nervous as I committed to a recording date in late September.

I've had a name for the next release for over a year and now I think I have another one. One that has a wider berth and a different flavor that I am finding nourishing. Hmmm may have just clearly made a decision with that last sentence. One of the reasons it is good for me to write about my experiences.

Most important is that I continue picking up the guitar. This is a given actually. I'll bring order and completion to the notation and learning of the pieces as time permits. I just need to keep trusting the abundance and myself. More will follow.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Play What You Don't Know

Compound Image from 77 Million Paintings by Brian Eno

Wednesday morning I read the following from Rumi:
"What could be luckier than to have the ocean come to court the drop?
For God's sake don't postpone your Yes!
Give up and become the giver."

I so loved the sentiment of this that I copied to paper and placed it in my shirt pocket. I read it at work a few times and again this paper accompanied to work on Thursday. In the morning I recalled Miles Davis famous "Play what you don't know," while seeing a quote by Einstein " A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new."

Later I encountered this pearl of wisdom and insight from F.M Alexander " ... it is impossible to separate the 'mental & physical' processes in any form of human activity." I thought of my meditation practice and how this harmonizes the body and the mind. Suddenly I had an idea to conduct some improvisations using the breath as bar lines. I have read variations of this elsewhere but never worked with this myself. Even came up with a structure of playing only on the 'in breaths' for 3 breaths then play for a full breath, rest a breath and come play on two of the "out breaths", and repeat. Thought this would give my mind something to do.

I decided to tape these improvisations just in case the happy accident occurred. Did not take me long to notice that I was not following the breath playing past the first in breath. I also noticed that I needed to trust myself and just let go. Only an exercise, my whole existence was not at stake. But the " all hearing ears" of the tape machine were bothering me. I persisted for three attempts and then let go. Much trickier than I first imagined and perhaps an exercise to attempt periodically.

Moving on I played through Dandelion Wish. Enjoyed this and noted that I actually played all of the harmonics in time. I was about to remove the capo and then found a chord in the 13th position. When I heard this chord I though again of Rumi's line: "to have the ocean come to court the drop?" I began to explore and quickly saw that a piece was forming. I noticed that now I was trusting myself and the process. Had I watered this seed earlier in the improvs so that now it could sprout?

I played with this a bit and took a short break. Increasingly I am noticing how I misuse my body with the guitar especially when excited by new musical whisperings. While stretching I decided to notate what had just come out. Then I moved back to the guitar. A new section appeared. Again I notated. Then I turned on the tape and played what I had so far for documentary purposes, while taping the next section came out. Excited I played with this a bit and before I knew it I had a rough sketch of a piece. I began this process at 9pm and it was now 11:30. I wanted to keep going but I knew I needed to wind down before I would fall asleep. All was notated & three takes recorded. I played through a one more time before retiring.

I woke Friday tired but happy. Twenty minutes of Qi Gong had my body humming along and then it was on to the rest of my morning routine. I really wanted to stay home from work and play but ... I came home from work and after stretching and warming up I consulted my notes and played through the piece a few times. Something musical was there and I needed to flesh the rest out. I began exploring. A break for a walk on Sligo Creek at dusk to listen to the insects and the creek and let the musical ideas percolate.

Refreshed and back at the guitar I worked on this some more. Holding onto Rumi's poem seemed to nurture my playing and the development of the piece. At times I could sense the 'ocean swell' with in me and in the playing. Also a bit of a dark twist emerged which appears to strengthen the music. Additions to the original tabulature notes were creating a mess on the staff paper. So what, I can clean this up later. I kept note of my posture to a greater degree than usual. Perhaps if I take care with my body while developing the piece it will be easier when I actually learn the piece. Time will tell on this front. Another recording of where the piece was and I completed my practice for the evening. I was tempted to listen to the recordings of this work in progress, but I know at times doing this for purposes other than to check a part out can deflate the process for me. I hear the warts of my playing and loose the sense of the energy of the emerging piece. Armed with this reminder I restrained from listening.

A beautiful summer morning today found me practicing Qi Gong on the back yard. Needed to leave my shoes on as the acorns have began falling. After sitting and breakfast I returned to this piece. A couple additions and the piece appears close to being complete.

Off to address personal returns and later in the day a dear friend who is a talented pianist surprised me with a visit. She was interested in hearing what I have been working on. I played through two pieces for her and then took a deep breath. Usually my dear wife Joann is the first person to hear my musical ideas. She is away on retreat this week. I relish the value of bringing a piece of music alive by playing for someone so I took the leap. Although there was hesitation at two of the transitions I played the piece fairly well. I received good feedback from Gina and off to lunch we went. Much enlivened conversation followed.

Perhaps I should return to my breath improvisations again and just trust while waiting for the door to open. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

For the Love of Sound

Photo titled "Magic Light" Created by robokow

Tonight I was a bit wary about playing as my shoulder & neck were still tight this morning. After a lie down I picked up my dumbek. I have not played this lovely drum in some time, yet I always enjoy playing the dumbek when I do. Just listening to the various timbres I can produce on the drum and the always fun placing the hand inside of the goblet to modulate the sound. As I set it down I was reminded of how much I love sounds. Love listening to birds, insects, machines, the fade in of an approaching train as it enters the valley around Harpers Ferry.

Yes, the love of sound. And I love what the sound of music can do to me and to others. So tonight I pick up my guitar and just listen to the sound of seconds being lightly played up and down the neck. So lovely. On to a few different brief improvisations, holding onto nothing, letting the vibrations in. A certain measure of needed freedom.

Some gentle play throughs of material known and some in progress. All for the love of sound.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I is for ?

Intelligence, Intermission, or Injury.

I woke this morning with stiffness in my left shoulder, just about where the weight of the guitar rests. This happens at times. Years ago I learned to relax this area as I was "lifting' this shoulder to meet the weight of the guitar. Of course I did not know I was doing this until a friend of mine from the world of dance, Bob Dunn, watched me play. I have also had irritation in the area if I turn my neck to watch my hands while I play. And perhaps I just plain old slept funny last night.

While at work I did a bit of stretching and noticed that the tendon that leads to the outside of my left wrist was also sore. I had tendinitis in this area a couple years ago so I am very aware of being gentle when noticing any pain or discomfort here. Ignoring anything out of the ordinary in this area of my body is no longer an option. My adventure with tendinitis had me seeing an orthopedist, an acupuncturist, and a practitioner of the Muscle Release Technique. MRT was great as I was taught a series of stretches to do to alleviate the situation and to keep me healthy. MRT was developed in response to the growing Repetitive Use Injuries common to people who use their hands intensively. If you live in the Washington DC area, Robert True, a certified practitioner is located in Ashton, MD and did amazing work with me.

So for tonight I will apply my intelligence and take the night off from playing. I normally do this one night a week and Monday seems to work best. As I age I had to accept that I need an intermittent break from the demands the guitar places on my body. I had my wife massage the area and apply a liniment, Zheng Gu Shui, originally recommended by my acupuncturist.

If not and I choose to "play through the pain" then I is for Idiocy and eventually for INJURY. In fact maybe while I am listening to my body, I'll get out my mp3 recorder and listen to the solo works in progress that I am currently writing and/or learning. Seems like an intelligent response to my situation, musical progress without muscle injury.

Check out my solo guitar work on Scattered Hearts.  For only $4.99 you can receive a download that will support this blog, support my musical pursuits, and warm your soul to boot. Be kind to musicians, be kind to yourself.

Addendum to this post.

If you search this blog for Alexander Technique you will find quite a few postings on this topic. I was first exposed to the Alexander Technique 21 years ago on a Guitar Craft Course. Over the years whenever I had AT done to me I always benefited, but my individual application was sporadic and consisted mainly of doing a "lie down." While doing the "lie downs" is valuable to allowing your back to lengthen & widen and your entire body to rest, AT offers so much more.

In February of 2010 I began to study AT outside of participation in courses. I describe the change as that previously I had AT done to me, now I am embracing the work for myself. Issues in my left arm and shoulder are gone. Overall my use of myself is more efficient and relaxed, my awareness deepening. Individual instruction is vital in this work but a great guide to musicians is Indirect Procedures: A Musician's Guide to the Alexander Technique (Clarendon Paperbacks)  by Pedro de Alcantara. I can not recommend this book enough for insight into your musical process.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Sunday 8/9/09 11am

Space the final frontier. These are the voyages of ...
Only kidding.

Began my practice with an Alexander Technique lie down for 15 minutes. I am very tired today. Difficult nights sleeping Thursday after the open mic and then again on Friday night due to noisy neighbors. Decided with Joann this morning to have a gentle day, one where I can consolidate. During the lie down I thought of beginning my practice session with my variation of the Berio exercise of playing the same note 11 different ways. There is something about working at playing the variation on the method of attack, etc 11 times that I enjoy and find that this focuses my listening efficiently.

Usually when I do this exercise I allow my fingers to choose a note and go from there. But while on the floor G# came to mind. Toyed with should this be a low or high G# and then leaned towards one on the middle register. That is until I though of a Morton Feldman interview where he said " there is a lot of space within the interval of a second." I decided to explore playing the same interval 11 different ways, 11 times each. This really became fun for me when one of the ways I choose was to slide into FG# in the 13th position from EbF in the 11th position and then hammering on the F on the second string. Subsequent variations took on a playful look at ways to play this interval with the notes being played different number of times, etc.

The other though that Feldman's quote triggered in me is that there is a lot of space between the vertebra of my spine. How to keep these free and open while playing? As I took my seat with my guitar I slowly scanned my body, making sure all joints we as open as possible, spine erect, generally relaxed. Then after the warm up exercise I removed the guitar and checked in with my body again. Was I still loose in my joints, feet on the floor, aware of my head and neck?

Onto a look at The Etude. Slow and gentle playing of the theme and variations I have so far. Additional variations being greeted with verbal exclamations of wonderful or beautiful or interesting. These additional variations have not been written on the page by Tony Geballe but are a result of moments of inattention. I first encountered "praising mistakes' in the book Effortless Mastery by pianist Kenny Werner. I still find this somewhat 'hokey' when I do it, yet when I do praise mistakes I do not fall into a habitual spiral of negative judgements that lead to tension and feeds voraciously on itself.

A gentle play through of "Prayer From a Small Room" which I am relearning.

Time to return to practice.`

Another body scan as I prepared to play, a bit rushed this time as I was excited where this was heading. Returned to playing through "Prayer," this time as I began to play I thought of paying attention to the space between the notes. This is a slow piece with enough space between notes that does indeed need to be played. Interesting how the notion of 'space' has emerged today. Two more takes of this piece and I was satisfied that thanks to muscle memory I am well on the way to knowing it again.

I briefly removed the guitar and stretched for the floor, releasing the weight of my head from my neck. Felt a release in the upper section of my spine. Back to the stool for a slow take of Dancin' Free. I have been focusing on a couple transitions in this piece and when I do play the entire piece I do so at the tempo I have been practicing the changes. This take revealed that I can now play the piece at this slow tempo and can take it up a notch.

I removed the guitar and did some Qi Gong exercises and again stretched to the floor. Back feeling relaxed. Sat down and did a body scan. As I moved my hands to the guitar I became aware of the 'space' between the fingers of my hands. Amazing how this concept is overtaking me today. Looked up at a hanging on the wall and I remembered a great man, Scott Buckner, that I used to share space with 20 years ago. I must find him. Dancin' Free was played as freely as I have ever played it.

I moved on to look at "When Love is Taken," feels like the piece is finished now I need to learn to play it.

Put my guitar away and am ready for a refreshing walk along Sligo Creek.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Photo credit: Sharona Gott

What a week. Much happened, some documented in this, some being digested. This photo put me in a state of wonder after work today. Heard a Nino Rota soundtrack begin to roll.

Two quotes that had me coming back to them this week.

All music is what awakens from you when you are reminded by the
It is not the violins and the cornets .... it is not the oboe nor the
beating drums-nor the notes of the baritone singer singing his
sweet romanza .... nor those of the men's chorus, nor those of
the women's chorus,
It is nearer and farther than they.

Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass
A Song for Occupations

And this line in: From A to X, A Story in Letters by John Berger

What if babies laughed after being delivered?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Key of Healing

Composer Arthur Bloom responds to the request by wounded vets wanting probably even needing to mke music. A great op-ed piece in Tuesday's August 4th edition of the Washington Post about arehabilitative music program for injured combat veterans. Composer Arthur Bloom responding to the musical needs of wounded vets wanting to play music. So healing. Read more at:

For more details on Musicorps go to:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Practice Away From the Guitar

During my Qi Gong session this morning I paid attention to my head. Afterwards I choose to do an AT lie down in lieu of my normal sitting. Followed my breath but with my back on the floor and head resting on paperbacks. The tension in my back behind my sternum was relatively minor this early in the day. Twenty minutes later I was off the floor with some stiffness in my lower back. I have noticed this stiffness before and should check in with my fave AT person.

Upon standing I became aware of the top of my head and the place inside that Sandra has pointed out to me previously. Shifting my weight over the balls of my feet, I felt odd but stable. Did this two other times while getting dressed, stunned at one point by the shear beauty of the sunlight playing on the leaves of our dieffenbachia.

At a red light I became aware of how the car seat supported me and allowed my breath to enter the region of my sternum and possibly expand this area. Throughout the morning I noticed how my chair supported me and checked in with how I was using my body. As I took this gentler approach with my body today I wondered how my body would feel when I strapped on my guitar. Now at home I am about to find out, but first a lie down.

After 15 minutes I felt great, my back was much more relaxed than usual. Sat on my stool for a few minutes without the guitar to plot my evening. Very excited by the arrival of the first page of the Etude that Tony Geballe has written for me. Ready to dive in when I remember I needed to work on my right hand nails first.

A brief 10 minute warm up and I was ready to play through the first bars of The Etude. First back to the floor. What looks deceptively simple is not easy to play, but I asked for a piece that would stretch me. The piece is intriguing and I was joyful hearing these notes written for me. Excited and ready to continue I took a break after 15 minutes to stretch a bit. Back to The Etude for 25 minutes. After continually catching myself holding my breath as I played through the first measures it was back to the floor.

My back was tighter this time, most likely from my habitual response to struggling through learning new works. I felt very refreshed when I stood. I decided to let go of work on The Etude and to look at possible pieces to play an an open mic on Thursday. Really hate going to open mics but now I said it and will follow through.

Set up the amp and decided on a 3 song set list. Always jars me when I first play amplified. Most of my nights are playing/practicing acoustically. The first bars of August Born wavered. Halfway through the piece I stopped because of all my internal chatter. A few breaths and I began again. A bit more controlled, aware of my feet, energy of the piece coming through now. Onto Lost Balloon and Dandelion Wish.

Another visit to the floor. Realized I had lost track of the number of times I did a lie down today. Laughed. Up for another run through now that I had a clear decision on Thursday. Much better this time. After I put away my guitar I realized I was more relaxed at the end of my session than I have been in a long time. Of course I did not work as hard on the guitar and I am certain that my disruption of habits will prove fruitful at the right time. More joy present tonight and a lot of gratitude.

Back a bit tired as I type. Grateful that I typed half of this prior to practicing. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Three Lie Down Practice

Came home tired from work today. Even though monday is my usual night off from guitar practice, I wanted and needed to play tonight. I began with my Qi Gong stretches. Tonight my focus was to be on the joy of playing, much like I ended with last night. In fact I thought it might be a good exercise for me to let go of playing this week when I noticed the joy was missing.

Once noticed I would have the opportunity to direct my attention to manifesting joy. As I write this I am cringing internally about making this public. Always a good sign to make the commitment and see where this takes me.

After warming up my hands I played through some older works. Aware that my back was tired I grabbed my books and hit the floor for a lie down. The initial tightening in my back behind my chest gave way to relaxation. After 10 minutes I was refreshed and returned to review more pieces.

A break to assist Joann with something and back to the guitar. After another 15 minutes I noticed my back was tight again. So back to the floor again. Again the tightness that seems to live in that section of my back was there and intensified only to let go. Amazing that all I need do is lie down on the floor with my head supported by paperbacks and the muscles relax.

Back to the guitar again, gently. Looking at two of the new pieces, striving to maintain a sense of my body. Aware of my head and feet. Playing with the notes, seeing where they might like to go. How gently could I "play with' the strings? Toyed with this focusing on the lightness of my playing. I knew that the way to complete my practice this evening was with a final lie down.

Some tension in my usual spot but less than the two previous times. Perhaps this will be the focus of my practice this week. I suspect that joy will support my relaxation and my relaxation will support the joy of playing.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

New Strings-New Beginnings

A Guitar Craft Aphorism: We Begin Again Constantly.

Certainly true in my case, when I remember.

Today we Joann and I had change of plane. We let go of our bike ride on the C&O Canal due to rain. I decided to spend part of this time with my guitar. First order of business was to change my strings. They were dull and smelly.

I love how bright new strings are. Even with wiping them down does not take long for my oily fingers to dull them. That and the fact that everything changes, especially strings.

Did some work on transitions in Dancin' Free and When Love is Taken. Slow careful work to train the fingers to these new movements. Loved hearing the new strings.

Break for errands, nap, and dinner. Then onto the Washington Mindfulness Community for sangha activity. Returned home calm and focused. I always enjoy pickup up my guitar after an evening of practice with WMC and tonight was no exception. I decided to have fun and just play pieces that I knew well. This was delightful and important. A great beginning to the week.

Photo by Joann Malone