Monday, March 8, 2010

Happy New Year!

What?, Kat, it's the 8th of March. It isn't New Year's, it isn't Chinese New Year's. It's not even Jewish New Year's.

I am restarting my year, complete with the intention to maintain - er, form - healthy habits like jogging, keeping my apartment clean, and springing blithely from bed in the morning without hitting the snooze button. And learning music, and writing about learning music, because music and writing are what I love, and I gave myself this project, and I am determined to see it through. And well-behaved young ladies from rural Southwestern mining towns don't get to be professional musicians in New York City if they are short on determination. So, even if I have to start over every day (which I do have to do, if you think about it), here is what I'm going to do:

Learn and memorize one well-known popular song a day. Suck a little less each day. Try to have fun in the process.

Rule #1:
I have to like the song, or at least be really interested in learning it. This is now Rule #1, because life is too short to wait to do things you like, and too long to spend doing things you don't like.
Rule #2:
The song has to be a well-known song either written or made famous between 1960 and the present. I decided to narrow down the category because there are so many songs in that category that I want to know, and because I get lazy/busy with 32-bar standards from the 30s and 40s. This is supposed to be a challenge, dang it!

I knew as soon as I started this project that it was about more than just learning songs. I thought it was going to be all about dealing with my arch-nemesis, Perfectionism. Well, it has been about Piano Kat vs. Perfectionism. But there's more. I am one original musical, one important relationship, and over two grand in moving and home expenses lighter than I was at the beginning of the year. I don't know how all the spiritual mechanics of it work, but I do know that having this Musical Task Thingy to come back to every day helped me get unstuck from a Life Ditch and back on the road (a bumpy road, but a road nevertheless). This Musical Task Thingy also helped see me through some recent dark weeks, even as I took the Half-Ass-Music-Learning to a whole new level. Showing up counts for something, right?

So. I surrender. I have no idea what this project is going to be about. Learning music, obviously - and I have noticed a marked improvement in some aspects of my playing - transposition, groove, arranging, all things that are critical to my work, all a tiny bit less sucky than before. And instead of berating myself for that which still sucks, I'm trying to be really specific about what it is and work on improving it. Take that, Perfectionism! Other than that... all bets are off. This could be about anything. Having fun playing music, even. Bring it, life.

I did learn a song today - "My Way" - not the one you're thinking of, but the Los Lonely Boys song. It might be a slight bend of Rule #2 as it's not all that well-known, but it's one of my favorite songs. It's 1:17 a.m., and I'm wiped out from my long Manhattan-Ping-Pong day, so I will write about it tomorrow with the other "My Way".


  1. "blithely". Sweet. Must use that in conversation somehow today.

  2. Promise I'm still reading. I just didn't think you needed me to do-over, too. ;)