I get asked that question a lot. Sometimes it’s asked by a wide eyed student hopeful that I’ll mention someone they’re familiar with and sometimes it comes posing more as a challenge question from a new acquaintance testing the waters to see if I really am a player. Whatever the motivation is for asking the question, I am never quite comfortable providing an answer and often, it renders me speachless.
I remember becoming aware of music when I was just three years old. Sunday afternoons were usually spent listening to the music of Glen Miller or Stan Kenton. Herb Alpert and the Tijauana Brass were particular family favorites because it ment shaking maracas, dancing around the living room to Spanish Flea and staring in amazement at the lady on the album cover wearing the whip cream dress. (Whipped Cream and Other Delights,1965). When I was in preschool, I remember my mom and I eating peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches at the kitchen table as ‘Spinning Wheel’ (Blood Sweat and Tears) played over the radio that was perched up on our kitchen counter.
Like most kids, my musical world really expanded in junior high and high school. I remember selling a bunch of junk for a choir fundraser and getting Chicago and Styx albums in return. My choir buddies also earned albums from artists like The Carpenters, Gordan Lightfoot, and the Beatles. And the older sibling influence is one that definitely can’t be overlooked. I’ll never forget my girlfriend and I ‘sneaking’ into her older sister’s pile of records, spinning the likes of The Bee Gees and singing, “Just my dog and I at the edge of the universe” at the top of our lungs. (Main Course, 1975). And when my parents were out, you could always count on Frank Zappa penetrating through the walls of my oldest brother’s room at deafening volumes.
The list could go on and on from guitar hero’s like Chet Atkins, Joe Pass and Barney Kessel to vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald, The Manhatten Transfer or Michael Buble. There are coutless artists, bands, time periods and genras that I love listening to and have made their mark thoughout my nearly half century life and, the guys I play with (including the wonder man I’m married to), are some of my favorites as well!
Yes, the ‘who is your favorite musician?’ is a difficult question at best but deep down it really warms my heart when I recall with fondess the many great musicians who have touched my life.
This past weekend my husband and I ventured up to the Sun Valley Jazz Festival in Sun Valley, ID We had the opportunity to perform with the Boise, based big band The Kings Of Swing. (Grant played drums and I played guitar).
It is always a real treat to get to play together and it’s even better still when it’s jazz. But I would have to say the audienc was the icing on the cake. People were staking out their seats two hours in advance and the dance floor was full from the downbeat to the very last note. As we played our two hour Glen Miller show I couldn’t help but notice the shear joy on the faces of the dancers and listeners alike.
That’s one of the things I like best about playing music; watching people have fun. I don’t know what it is but there seems to be something extra special about the generation that grew up with this music. As I looked over the crowd from my view up on stage it almost seemed like we were back in the early forties again. As we played ballads like Moonlight Serenade and toe tappers like Chattanooga Choo Choo and Little Brown Jug aged faces became young again and feet that struggled to move weary bodies from venue to venue earlier in the day delivered dance steps with graceful ease.
I can’t help but wonder what things will be like for my generation when we reach our golden years. I’m having a hard time imaging someplace like Sun Valley filling their venues with Disco lights, Big Hair Bands, and God forbid, seniors in spandex. There were a number of younger people in the crowd enjoying the music and dancing, at least enough to hold out hope that Big Band Music will have a following in the years to come.
If you missed the opportunity to pick up a copy of the Kings Of Swing new CD
release self titled: The Kings Of Swing, you can visit their website at: http://kingsofswing.org. It’s not Glen Miller but it has other great Big Band tunes!
You’ve just purchased your first guitar and you’re excited to sit down and begin learning. You’ve seen others play. You’re pretty savy and you think to yourself, I can do this! By now you’re aware of the vast resources on youtube and the like, so you sit down with guitar in hand and begin typing in ‘guitar lessons’ into your search engine. Thousands of sites come up and you realize you’re going to have to do a little ‘surfing’ to find your first meaningful lesson. Still enthusiastic, you pour through various sites like ‘free guitar lessons’, ‘learn guitar in a day,’ ‘guitar tricks and secrets’, and of course the thousands if not millions of youtube posts of some guy sitting on the edge of his bed, his baseball cap on backwards, showing you how to play a guitar chord or speed metal solo.
After awhile, you realize that this approach is cumbersome at best. Your fingers may be painfully sore and this certainly wasn’t as easy as you once thought. Maybe you’ve made some progress and you’re able to ‘hang in’ for awhile but sooner or later a couple things start to become apparent; you think this just isn’t your bag or you find yourself dead ended and not knowing where to turn next.
But are guitar lessons the answer? Well, yes and no. Just like online guitar lessons, anyone can call themselves a guitar teacher. So, what do you look for? and how do you choose a guitar program that will provide correct information in a well paced manner?
Do your research, ask questions, compare programs, and don’t choose a guitar program soley based on price.
On my online guitar lesson site I answer a lot of common questions asked by beginning guitarists and parents alike. Be sure to check out the guitar FAQ, Parent Corner, (if you are looking for guitar lessons for your child), and The Method pages. If you haven’t purchased your guitar yet, a read through ‘Choosing A Guitar’ is well worth the time.
My first blog post wasn’t going to be about anything relating to computers but you don’t always get to pick the timing of certain things.
Back in the ‘80’s when I was in undergraduate school I first learned that it was possible to actually own your own computer. I immediately saw the potential of what this could do in my life! I was teaching for the College of Idaho and Northwest Nazarene University (College at that time), and Apple had a teacher buy program that I qualified for.
In the 80’s you didn’t just whip out one of a half dozen credit cards from your wallet and go buy what you wanted; you actually went to a bank! So, with great enthusiasm I went to a banker I was familiar with to present this wonderful idea I had about purchasing a computer and how it would grow my business. I returned couple days later, after he had time to evaluate my application. The answer? NO! I couldn’t believe it! I wasn’t turned down because I couldn’t repay the loan but because he didn’t believe the computer industry would ever take off! Eventually, I ended up borrowing the the money from my parents and soon my apartment was filled with the sounds of my Image Writer dot matrix printer whirling across the white paper that was roller fed from a giant box of paper living under my desk.
I stuck with Apple through the lean times after Jobs was ousted, even though most of my colleages were jumping ship and going to the ‘dark side’. As history proved, with the return of Jobs to Apple, the company soared beyond imagination.
Over the last 25 years I have written books and music, created lesson materials recorded audio and video, created business documents and data bases, websites and the like. My house is filled with Apple products, iPhones, iPads, iPods, desktops, laptops, and of course my first computer: the Mac SE.
Without the creative vision of Steve Jobs I know I wouldn’t have liked computers. He made it possible for all of us to just sit down and create. Everything was easy and visual right from the start.
Like Edison and the lightbulb, generations will use Job’s technology without much thought and consider it a given, but those of us who have been there from the beginning will continue to marvel at the man who changed the world.