Here’s a video just for you. Cinematographer Andy Bowley was seriously captivated by this billowing parachute at Arcosanti. I love listening to, learning and playing Bach. Two great tastes that taste great together. I hope you like it.
Prelude for Cello Suite No. 1 for Guitar. Recorded super lo-fi in my living room.
Finally, it’s here! WordPress has made playlists possible. So here then, in one place, is all the classical guitar music I’ve recorded and placed on the blog. I like to think of them as humble presents for you, my valued readers.
In case you’re new here, don’t expect Andre Segovia. This is something I do for my soul, not professionally or semi-professionally (whatever that is).
This happened again recently. I know I’ve seen archival footage of Frank Lloyd Wright standing over the model of Broadacre City (now on view at the Museum of Modern Art through June 1), his vision of urban design. He looks imposing, unshakeable in his conviction that this is how cities should be designed and built. I’ve searched and searched and searched, but haven’t found a thing. Maybe I dreamed it. Or maybe it’s a case of wishful thinking gone haywire. Or maybe I’m going insane. Perhaps a visit to MoMA will clear things up.
In the meantime, here’s me playing a Chopin prelude on the guitar, recorded a few years ago at Blue Mountain Center. Chopin composed it for piano, of course, but this piece was transcribed by Francisco Tarrega.
Popping up all over my Facebook feed last week was a three-year old interview with Thomas Sudhof, who won (with Randy Schekman and James Rothman) this year’s Nobel Prize for medicine and physiology. The reason? This question and answer:
Who was your most influential teacher, and why?
Sudhof: My bassoon teacher, Herbert Tauscher, who taught me that the only way to do something right is to practice and listen and practice and listen, hours, and hours, and hours.
My voice doesn’t carry the same weight as Mr. Sudhof’s, but I have this here blog so I’m going to voice my opinion. Surprise! I agree with him about the value of art education. I studied classical guitar outside of school when I was a teenager. I’d practice one stanza at a time, over and over until I played it well, then on to the next stanza, and the next. At my most serious, I did this for hours everyday day. This was (and still is) how I learned the music. Memorized it, yes, but more than that, this was how I discovered how a certain phrase, passage and entire piece was to be played.
I didn’t just learn how to do this weird thing known as play an instrument (it is a weird thing to do, when you think about it), but I learned the value of working hard to get the details right, and you know what they say about details. Before taking those guitar lessons I was pretty unmotivated and passive. I really didn’t care about anything enough to spend more than an hour doing it. My school work was a chore and I always did the minimum amount to get by with a B. But when I started taking guitar lessons, I discovered that I did have passions and that I could be inspired, and that discovery was a powerful thing.
I learned that hearing and listening were two very different things. That was kind of a big door to open.
When writing and film caught my attention, I knew I had it in me to spend the time necessary to hone those crafts and get the work out there. Learning music gave me that kind of confidence.
So I’m with you Thomas Sudhof. Doug Brown, classical guitarist, was my most influential teacher.