Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Rock n' roll

The band workshop of which I wrote more than a month ago is now three weeks into rehearsals. My brain has been sapped of late, which is why I am only mentioning it now.

This is the fourth band workshop I've played in since I started attending the Blue Bear School of Music. Usually, these rock workshops have at least six people led by an instructor -- one drummer, one bassist, two guitarists, and two singers, and we each choose a couple of songs to create a set that we will perform live on stage after ten weeks of rehearsals. My first workshop in the winter of '06, led by Bill Spooner, added two other members, one playing keyboard and one playing sax. The next workshop I played in was also led by Spooner, and was down to the core six. I played guitar in those two workshops, and switched to bass for my third in the fall. I hadn't planned on being in a workshop at that time, due to writing projects and a personal situation that made it difficult for me to practice as much as I needed to. I was called to fill in a vacant bass spot, and gambling on the idea that I could get away with minimal practice, I decided to do it. It was something different to do, in a workshop led by someone I had never worked with before. I practiced all of my songs for a couple of weeks outside of regular rehearsals, and after that, I wound up not practicing at all. Band rehearsal time was my practice time. I think it turned out OK. Our performance of Free's "All Right Now" was one example of a song where I felt nervous and rusty (in the instrumental break, that is -- the bass doesn't play much at all during the verses), yet for some reason I received more compliments for this song than any of the others:

So now I am back to playing guitar, trying to make more practice time. We're down to five in this Spooner-led workshop, which means I will be singing a little in this one. Only my friend and coworker Julie, who sang in the last workshop I was in, is a dedicated singer. She is doubling up on keyboards, sharing vocal duties with the two guitarists. I have only tried singing one song so far, a song I picked called "The View" by Modest Mouse. Singing and playing this song at the same time doesn't feel like something I can do, so there's some work yet that needs to be done.

Julie writes more on the workshop in her blog, and recaps the humorous exchange between Spooner and our drummer over the beat to U2's "One."

And, most significantly, our bassist is my girlfriend Christina. I had always wanted a girlfriend with whom I could play music, and now that wish is fulfilled! She is actually playing in two workshops this quarter, which is a feat in and of itself. But, as she says, "it's bass." Still, it's a time commitment, and to that, I raise a glass (maybe later tonight, too early in the day right now).

First rehearsal outside of our usual weekly schedule is later this week. Now the real work begins. This is going to be a good one!

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