2 Frets Down

So I brought some songs along with me to my guitar lesson, and my teacher, Dan, politely informed me that in one song I had used the capo on the guitar (down two frets) and failed to move down two frets when I tried to back the whole thing up with the bass.  Dan agreed that it didn’t sound all that bad; but that’s not the way it’s conventionally done.  I didn’t even think to do it.

Dan also tried to show me how to do a fill (or little bass run) when I move between two chords, say G to C, but I don’t think I really got it at all.  And we listened to a bit of Paul McCarthy on Dear Prudence where he doesn’t hit single notes on the bass behind a G chord say, but plays the G chord scales.  I don’t know how to play the scales.  I don’t think I will ever learn the scales because I refuse to practice.

 This music stuff is really complicated.  I finally figured out how to find a C note on the piano and I can count from there to the other notes if I need to.

I was tired and worn out anyway and came away from this particular lesson feeling particularly stupid and wondering if I have the time left in my life to master any of this stuff.  I still can’t make a decent F chord on the guitar and I have been playing the thing for four years now regularly.  Of course my goal is not to learn the guitar exactly, but to write songs. 

 The last six or so songs have been a bit different.  More solidly constructed.  Dan says everybody now puts up his or her songs on MySpace.  Dylan has a MySpace.  So maybe this summer I will make a project out of getting some of my songs up on a MySpace Space.

I am pushing this music stuff too hard maybe because my shrink seems to feel that if I don’t have something to do should I live to retire that, after retirement, I will so go crazy and shot myself.  Preparing to retire emotionally for retirement is like preparing for a nervous breakdown.

My shrink was in her early 20’s a concert level pianist in France.  She’s 80 something now and still practices 3 hours a day.  For some reason, a while ago, see took to playing Bach; but Bach as I understand it did not write for piano, since they didn’t have pianos in his day.  She was playing Bach transcribed for piano.  But she wants to play him on the organ which is the proper way to play him.  So she made contact with the down town Presbyterian Church where they have a real, huge old organ, with 4 claviers she said.  So she is going to get to play Bach on the organ.  So that’s how she deals with retirement. Though come to think of it, she hasn’t really retired or she would not still be seeing me.

I don’t know what a clavier is really; but I think it’s the name for a keyboard.

One of the guys in the Writing Program reviewed the talk Len and Joanne Podis and I gave at the last College Conference on Composition and Communication for Kiaros (an online thing on writing and the digital age).  He wrote a really sweet review that does get some of the flavor of our talk. It can be found at.

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