Why? (October 15th, 2009 to October 23rd, 2012)
This page was started because other bass players and I have been communicating what we have been and are working on via face book. This back and forth had made me want to document the work that I am putting into learning my instruments better. I am leaving in a month to take a private lesson from Gary Peacock in New York and I would like to share my journey up to that point and possibly beyond. I have been working out of the F. Simandl book for months now and it is usually a page here and a page there. To me this is no small feat. I am impressed with my lack of slacking over the last year in playing, but most of all, in the time I put in to getting to know my instruments better. I am totally self diagnosed ADHD. I think that I am able to focus and progress because of the help of these people: John Clayton (see side bar for his bass tips… AMAZING) the most important thing that I pulled out of those was to stretch! But as much as that I have been working at cutting out the many “vices” that I have/had in my life and using that extra head space to focus.
I am seeing the adventure of life regularly the last year and a half and it all came together for me in one week. I owe a lot to many different influences in my life, but the day I talked to Gary Peacock was the day that I changed forever. I was feeling like I wasn’t being as active in my life as I should. I was tired of talking about things and ready to see things get done! My dear friend moved away to N. Y. years ago to be a monk of sorts. He went to the same Monastery as Gary and had hooked up with him for some lessons. This popped into my head and I just had to call. I needed to see if it might happen. When I did call (it took me a few days to get the guts) I was so nervous that I could hardly talk. Gary was very gracious and kind, we talked for a good while and he told me to get hip to body consciousness awareness. This would be a huge amazing thing in my life! That night I ran into a great friend and she suggested I go to Greg Jahn, a mutual friend. Sure enough he was a perfect match, and besides becoming closer to a great person, I found that I had a body and I could get better in tune with it.
This all has helped my life beyond imagine. I decide to get the DVD that Gary put out. After a few sessions with that I knew that I needed much more help to get me to the level of understanding that would help me benefit from our meeting in Nov. I worked in a restaurant named ENZO and the owner’s sister Kathy is an extra extraordinary musician and teacher. I picked her brain and she knew exactly what to help me with. She has been so gracious with her time and talent. I meet with her twice a week for an hour. We cover anything and everything I have a questions with but mostly sight singing and solfege! Because of Kathy I am a much better musician. This has been the most formal training that I have ever had in my life! Probably all added up! So here I am plugging away and I am going to share with you how you might become a great musician without formal training. This is not to say that I wouldn’t love to be submerged in a fine program like The New School, Manhattan school of music, New England Conservatory, or Berklee. For now I just have to keep going on with the help of the amazing musicians that I play with and learn from daily as well as my wife, loving family, and friends.
August 26, 2010:
Sooo, a year later I am at a new place in my musical development. I have taken about eight months off of diligent practice – growing musically in other areas aside from studying upright bass. I was convicted last month by many things while performing at a festival called No-woodstock. I am repeating, in a way, the same behavior as last year. A thirst to become more knowledgeable on this instrument, yet, I do not have any goals set in my mind… I guess to finish Simandl. I would love, God willing, to go to N.Y. and spend some time studying. Study at City College and play in the parks. Oh, Also become friends with Ben Allison, Avashai Cohen and Gary Peacock! I am not going to have anxiety about it like I had last year. I feel like I am in a healthy spot to tackle this bad larry. I want to start walking out some completion of the things I have desired and not done for many years. So, the only possible goal is to audition and join the local Symphony.
I saw pictures form No Woodstock and my technique has changed so much over the year, thanks to Gary and lots of working at it. I am happy with the way that it feels and also with how it looks. Here are two pics – note how high the bass is in the Pic of me with the black shirt. I also look a lot different. HAHA! I haven’t perfected my stance but it is notably better. The bass is lower and angled a bit more – My back is generally straight, and a don’t hunch over. I was working on it last year also but it definitely looks less awkward this year.
I can’t believe how different it all looks! There is much more strength and a natural look to my newer technique. So I may add more but I don’t want to embarrass myself any more. hahaa… Peace(shalom)!
October 23rd, 2012:
I have continued over the year to be dedicated in my writing and in my practice. I have been an instructor now for three years and have developed helpful techniques and philosophies about music and life.
I am continuing this page to give other bass players, musicians, and thinkers a place to go and see what is going on in the mind of a guy pursuing a career in music in Billings, Montana.
I am currently in my second semester studying classical bass with Richelle Sitton at Rocky Mountain College; the first time in my life studying diligently with any teacher.
My goals are new: practice as much as possible and become a “professional” in my own eyes. I deeply want to play and teach skillfully; create with ease, rather than being bogged down in thought.
Since 2008 I have improved greatly but there is so much to always learn.