mind fail

Why can’t I take lessons with you?

I didn’t say you couldn’t take lessons, I said I couldn’t teach you.

Why can’t you teach me?

Because you don’t practice.

I’m just being real. I don’t have time to practice.

I’m being real too.

Can’t you just show me how you do that thing?

It requires practice.

Why is it so hard?

It isn’t.

Yes it is.

What do you mean?

Playing something over and over, co-ordinating your hands, remembering details, that’s hard.

You know I can recommend someone else, I know a classical teacher.

But I like you.

But you don’t hear me.

No you’re the one not listening.

How is that?

I just want you to show me how you do that thing and you want me to make a commitment to practice.



Ok I’ll show you how to do that thing.


You go like this.

How did you do that?

Like this.

That’s hard.

Do it slow.

It’s crazy.

Do it very very slow.

Why can’t I do it like you?

You can, but it doesn’t start by being able to do it exactly like me.

Why not?

Hey, are we in a tape loop?

You think?

Is it starting over again?

Why can’t I take lessons with you?


Wow, we did this already.

A bunch.

You think there is a way out?

Or at least an interruption.

I don’t know.

That’s what you always say.

I don’t know.

Say something different.

I don’t want to study with you.


Just kidding I do.

Do you want to escape eternity or not?

Then agree to teach me.


In the scheme of unfair possibilities this isn’t the worst.









Some musicians try to control every detail, want credit for playing every instrument, deciding every fader level, judging every outside player’s contribution and others are pliable, unfazed to try supplying whatever they are asked to do. I’m thinking about this while reading Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of The Oppressed and the sides he articulates; oppressor and oppressed.
Reminds also of the different ways people control or submit to being controlled in music making. Still, the thing that is behind the art that most moves me, are people able to switch sides, on some level they get it, that to consider opinions that are not their own or not even necessarily likeable to them, is a frequent ingredient behind powerful pieces.
But more vividly, it is like the dialogue people have internally. The inner arguments between them and them or I and I, one can be the boss and the worker and forget that one is in neither, just a collection of belching synapses.

dark games at u of m

There was a music building at the University of Manitoba and sometimes I had my own winter olympics there, arriving at night and not slipping on icy stairs. Being Winnipeg, one had an extension cord wrapped around the side mirror which you unfolded to plug into outlets so the oil wouldn’t get too close to freezing. It was a white concrete building maybe from the 60s. The door wasn’t locked. Piano sounds floating in the hallways. I could snoop. Mostly uprights but then I found one Baldwin grand and it was after 9pm and no staff around, perfect.  A bright sounding Baldwin and the action was in that perfect zone of crispness, reacting super fast but the weight of the keys light enough for swift end results of whatever ideas were going down. The light switch was reachable from the bench and so once seated I turned it off and played in pitch blackness. Making up compositional games about playing without seeing. How long can I play without knowing where I am and make a good sound? That was the first game. Eventually it the 2cnd game starts, to playing without seeing but know relatively where you are. The 3rd game can I play in clusters and not have someone start banging on the door that I’m damaging the piano (which really means I’m injuring their taste). 4th game is turning the lights back on and seeing what happens to my playing from playing in the dark so long.