It’s the Monday after New Year’s and I’m back at work. It was a truly lovely holiday.
After posting my 2010 retrospective Saturday I spent the rest of the day relaxing with my hubby and friends. It was wonderful. Over the last year I’ve begun spending more and more time on commissions and freelance projects and while I have really enjoyed them and the opportunities they brought with them I realized that I needed to make sure I still make time for spending with family and friends.
I have three goals this week:
- Get over the cold I picked up from the nephews at Christmas.
- Go to fighter practice Thursday.
- Finish setting up my drill space.
At some point I need to practice my guitar. I think I can do that.
Many of you will remember my goal of being able to play two 16th Century songs on my guitar by Pennsic 2010. I don’t post updates on my guitar progress very often but now that I’m progressing farther along I wanted to fill you in on my progress.
I think all fencers should pursue an art, especially an instrument. Not only does music help you understand rhythm and timing but art helps us to expand our minds to other ways of seeing and understanding our world. It makes us more well rounded and when you are well rounded you are better able to come up with multiple solutions to problems, such as how you are going to work around your opponent’s killer disengage. Plus learning an instrument comes highly recommended but such notable warriors as Miyamoto Musashi. You can’t beat an endorsement like that.
To say that I underestimated how it would take me to get to the point where I could start learning real songs is an understatement. And when I say real songs I mean something more complicated that Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, although I will admit that I was kinda proud of myself when I played that one all the way through. The classics never get old.
It took longer than I thought to find my groove. I tried a couple of different teachers, all of whom were excellent, before finding a school I wanted to settle down in. I also have a bit of a background in music from a childhood spent in choir, band (flute for 1 year, clarinet for 3), and lessons in a couple other instruments so I didn’t just want to learn classical guitar from tab; I wanted to learn it from sheet music. So we tried a couple of different books before settling on one book for the main part of my lessons. My teacher also pulls exercises from other books to supplement it if I want more work in a particular area.
All of that took a lot more time that I had expected but I am finally getting to the point where I am starting to work through real pieces. Last night in class I acquired my first real piece to work through: Bach’s Minuet in G. I’m really excited to finally have a real piece to work on in addition to my exercises. It’s not a 16th Century composition but it’s an excellent start in a new art I’m really enjoying pursuing.
Yep, you read that correctly. After months of saying I was going to start I have finally signed up to begin weekly classical guitar lessons every Friday. My first one is tonight!
One of the big reasons why I decided to take on learning to play classical guitar this year is because I wanted to be able to play popular Elizabethan music at Gardiner’s and SCA events. Music was such an important part of Elizabethan life and I really want to explore that in more depth. Singing is pretty much right out so that left me with learning an instrument. When I originally decided to start this project this year I took a look at all the instrument possibilities. The lute really interested me the most but I wanted to choose and instrument that I could take structured lessons on, not something I’d need to teach myself how to play. Teaching myself would be cool but I don’t really have enough time for that with all the other things I have going on. A big pull for classical guitar was that a wealth of popular lute music had already been transcribed for it and I could take lessons right down the road at one of our local guitar shops, Guru Guitars. I would still like to learn to play the lute, but I think that’s further down the road.