Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Not Just Playing the Fool

Foolish. That's how I felt for three hours last night. I was with five other people attempting to learn the most basic of all gypsy jazz tunes - "Minor Swing" from the virtuoso players of Pearl Django. Pearl Django is in town right now hosting a Django Camp for adults.

Out of the five students who showed up, one leads a band and has been playing for twenty plus years, one is a jazz fiddle player who apparently also plays jazz guitar, and then there were three of us yahoos. Guess who was the only person in the room who didn't know anything about bar chords. This girl! I'm also the only lady in the group. After the first half of the three hour session it was clear that two of us were drowning while the other three were suffering from our dead weight. Luckily there were two guitar instructors, so we split up into two groups. For the second half of the evening our group of two abandoned almost everything that we had been trying to do for the first half and instead focused on training our right hands (the strumming hand, aka "the most important part").

I picked Andrew up from the airport immediately after we got out. He asked me how it was going.

"I feel like a fool. But, I guess that's how it always feels to learn something new," I said.

I'm going back tonight for three more hours and tomorrow for the last three.

My plan is to think of it as learning a new language while attempting to speak with a native speaker. You're going to sound like an idiot, less educated than a child, but at least you're trying to communicate.


  1. I'm glad you're sticking with it! Keeping that beginner's openness to making mistakes is hard... but it's one of the reasons I like trying new things--an excuse to mess up and just experiment. :-)

  2. You made the Juneau Empire's story on the workshop with a photo: