Saturday, February 13, 2021


In art there are only fast or slow developments. Essentially it is a matter of evolution, not revolution.  -  Bela Bartok

Bartok has certainly been part of my evolution. When I first began to listen to his string quartets they were too much for me. Now they bath me in silence. Particularly the Fifth and Sixth Quartets. A language I have begun to comprehend. Emotionally moving while spiritually enriching. Tonight I am listening to the Concerto for Viola and Orchestra. I’ve had this recording on the shelf for years but have yet to really engage with the music. 

A busy day with too many meetings. Listened to a few works in progress to see if I could move them forward. Also set up a scheme for an improvisation while reciting a  poem as part of a challenge based on Austin Kleon’s Steal Like An Artist.  During The Creatives workshop I joined a group known as The Ravens for accountability purposes. we continue to meet and are reading and working with Kleon’s ideas for inspiration.

Photo by Edna Winta

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Finding Inspiration

 I sign into Guitar AAD site where I am participating in a 5 week course and I realize that I have missed reading the Keynote. This particular one is an exercise dealing with using an object for inspiration. As I am reading the Keynote something arises in me that does not feel like “finding the object.” I tell myself to do it anyhow.

A few minutes later I enter my practice space and look around. What object could serve my inspiration? Smiling at a souvenir from SE Asia that I have not noticed lately. Cables, paper, books all catch my eye. Then I notice the book Harmonic Experience, which I recently reopened. We spoke of it in tea yesterday. Could this be my object? Feeling the weight of the book in my hands. touching the cover, remembering times this work has challenged me and left me feeling lost. Maybe not.

A few minutes later I hear myself saying what if I went back to the beginning. After reading the introduction I move forward a couple pages to the first exercise. Ten minutes later I move to the next one “singing in unison.” I choose an A and sing. Coming a bit more alive, I decide yes this is my object. After a few minutes I sing with a low C on the 12 fret of the sixth string.

Moving into practicing a piece I begin by singing along with the first note. I am more present with this piece than usual. Searching is the title, and I am not yet playing the entire piece well. I focus on the final section. Occasionally singing the low A this section begins with. Ease enters my fingers. Moving onto another piece, I sing the first note again and practice. I am happy I chose to go back to the beginning of this book.

Looking at an idea that has been coming out the past two days, I sing along with the C that is guiding this idea. As I play through a set of arpeggios, I hear where they want to go next and follow. The next notes reveal themselves. Gratitude awakens for this exercise and I pause for a walk with my wife.

Photo by Nomadic Pics

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Todays Performance

Played a four song set for HomeSongs4Life based in Scotland today. Have a listen.

An interesting moment arose as I was putting on new strings in the morning. Noticing that I was distracted it, I paused. Remembering that how I do one thing is how I do everything I resumed taking off the old A string but with attention this time. Recognizing that I am working with my guitar and if I have the intention to be present with changing my strings this will positively impact what else I do, including the upcoming peformance.

Monday, February 1, 2021



Boundaries are places where disparate forces can creatively merge.  W. A. Mathieu

Had an inspiring meeting with the Ravens this morning. I am blessed to have their energy supporting mine. We shared our work with an exercise generated by Austin Kloen’s Steal Like An Artist book. Amazed with their creativity. I’ve been exploring Harmonic Experience a bit deeper the last two days. Dug into one of his ideas journeying through five modes today. Not a piece, but a good movement in that direction.

Also rehearsing for my four song set with @davidfee’s Homesong4Life tomorrow at I am grateful for this opportunity to offer music to people during these troubled times. You can listen here:

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Two Hours

 Two hours of guitar practice per day did not seem unreasonable when I made the commitment, but some days it takes until 10:30 to get it done. This was one of those days. Other practices, meetings, exercise and family time must be honored also. I am a fortunate, but tired man.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Be the Note

 Today was a day where my attention was on the music of life. Today is one of those milestone Birthdays for my wife. Lots of last minute stuff getting older people the technical help they need for posting to a Kudo Board and Zoom. Family and friends have been so sweet and supportive in the spirit of celebrating her. Harmony has arisen between some dissonant players as a result. That’s the best notes of all.

Photo by Rose Nitely

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Diving In

I Found a photocopied page from W. A. Mathieu’s book Harmonic Experience that I have worked with at various times to little avail. The page is from a chapter titled Dronality in  Equal Temperament: Mixed Modes.  Blending Mixolydian, Harmonic Minor and the Phrygian Mode. I know I’m in over my head. Smiling I dove in one more time. The following came out after a couple hours exploring options. 

Maybe I should go back to page 1 of this book someday, instead of opening it up every few years. But hey Life is short.

Photo by Jim Bahn