MY MUSICAL BACKGROUND

Today I want to tell you a little bit about my minimal music background.

I’ve had several guitar teachers in my life. With only one of them I studied consistently and for a period of time longer than two months, and that was in high school. Why didn’t I play for longer periods of time? Because playing music was difficult! You had to read sheet music, count in your head, refine your fingerpicking technique, etc. It was fun, but to play the right way was too much for my young self. I just wanted to make cool sounds! As for the beautiful intricacies of the music language that my teachers were trying to share with me - I was too young and musically inexperienced to be able to appreciate them. For me playing an instrument was simply about hitting the right notes in the right order. Only much later did I discover the importance of playing expressively and interpreting the music in an interesting way. 

Although in high school I made some great progress and even played a solo piece during a recital (see below), most of my guitar knowledge has vanished since. I remember but a few basic chords and maybe two-three pieces that stuck. I don’t even remember where each note is on the neck of the guitar. As discouraging as this should sound to someone who is about to jump into music for the next 10,000 hours of his life, I am actually quite excited about my lack of musical talent and ability because it makes me a perfect candidate for my study of talent. And this is what this whole experiment is all about! My goal is to make amazing music, but my other equally important goal is to find out if talent is necessary for success. 

Anyway, I got a little sidetracked. So, with my guitar skills mostly nonexistent, today I find that I am much more comfortable with the piano. I can’t play it as well as the guitar (or at all), but at least I much better understand the relationships between the notes. The intervals are easy to see and the keyboard basically gives you um... a key *facepalm* on how to build major and minor scales. I am sure this is something that is covered early in any piano class, but for me this was a significant discovery! On the guitar you really gotta practice to commit the intervals to memory but on the piano it’s a piece of cake. 

If you play all the white notes starting on C, you get a major scale. Cool, right?

Now if you play all the whites notes starting on A, you get a minor scale. Even cooler, because you are still only playing white keys, but you get your cheat-sheet for building a minor scale. 

Anyway, that’s pretty much it for my musical background. The only other thing I learned in high school was how to drum a four-to-the-floor pattern with the snares on 2nd and 3rd beats and hihats on every 8th note, but since you can learn that in a day behind your desk this isn’t a significant accomplishment. 

Okay, that’s it for today. Next time I tell you about my first venture into the realm of electronic music.