Sunday, December 13, 2009

back to the beginning


My guitar lessons continue. I'm practicing every day, going to lessons once a week. Generally trying to immerse myself in the whole thing and building up calluses in the right places. I'm making progress, one buzzing fret at a time. I'm finding a hidden musical world revealing itself to me as I learn each new thing.

I frequently have times, particularly in my lessons, when it feels like the teacher is talking a foreign language. An alien, foreign language, where I don't even know what the words sound like, never mind what they mean. He'll demonstrate something and make an offhand remark about 'this compared to this' and to my ear they sound the same. Well, different, but I don't even understand how to articulate the difference. He'll talk about concepts and I'll be struggling to understand the words he's using - I might have heard them before but the meaning hasn't quite percolated into my brain yet. The last time I remember feeling this lost would be about 20 years ago, first year classes at University. It's been a while! Every now and then I can feel the bemused expression on my face as I grope towards understanding what he's trying to explain to me, while I wrestle with even getting the words he's using lined up in my head. It's fun! I record the lessons and occasionally when I listen back to them something new clicks in to place and I feel like I might be getting closer to having a vague idea of what was actually being discussed.

It did strike me that I probably do this to people when explaining photography, too. Concepts and ideas that I've had years to get straight in my head just seem so obvious and act as a starting point for the conversation. When really, going back to first principles is often quite a long journey back, to get up to the point you might like to discuss. I've seen that bemused look before, from the other side!


Paul said...

So, Gordon. Obviously you like this new art form. I've been considering taking guitar lessons for years but never have. Of course, when you take time to practice one art form you have to give up time on the other one. Do you feel that this is impacting your photography?

Gordon said...

It's an interesting question Paul, and maybe too early to tell?It is an interesting question Paul, and maybe too early to tell?
Over the years my picture taking as ebbed and flowed, perhaps with
the seasons, or inspiration. I shot a lot in the first half of the
year, to the point where I felt a bit burnt out, anyway.

I think I always wanted to play some sort of instrument, even if my efforts with a recorder where never very satisfactory. Near my parent's bakery shop there was a music shop, owned by a friend. I remember always being fascinated and slighlty in awe of the instruments in there. Just never got around to trying to pick any of them up until now.

I think it is going to impact my photography, but perhaps not in a negative way. There are plenty of things I've found in the reading I've done around guitar playing that strike a chord with me, photographically. I think it is opening my mind to other possiblities and maybe that will appear in the pictures eventually, too.

There is obviously only a finite amount of time you can devote to any hobbies, but this feels like the right choice for now.