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97 - Music

As you may have seen in my post about habits I am practicing guitar daily (and have been doing for a bit over a year now). This is not my first go at playing music, I have a long (and unsuccessful) history behind me.

The last year I studied guitar basics: Open chords, simple strumming, gradually moving towards more complicated stuff. I would consider myself a beginning intermediate player now. I can accompany many songs, I can do 16th strumming, solo over a blues or over a G major song (Wish you were here), have started with some fingerpicking and am revising the “jazz chords”. Those chords, I learnt when I studied Jazz guitar with Philipp Schaufelberger here in Zurich around 10 years ago. I got this as a birthday gift of my wife (together with a wonderful Fender Telecaster). I played with Philipp for about 2 or 3 years and was way, way over my head the whole time.Philipp never bothered to introduce me to the beauty of an open E chord, but began with the Maj7, Min7, min7b5 etc. Oh - and soloing over Jazz standards of course. I learnt loads from Philipp, but never was able to put the pieces together consistently. I think it helps to have a grasp of music theory when playing (jazz) and sadly, this completely eluded me during that time. (It is starting to come together now)

Another 15 years earlier, I played Piano and took lessons with David Brühwiler. Sadly, this only lasted a couple of months, but I still fondly remember how I drove on my 125cc bike to Horgen to learn and play for an hour. During that time I had a couple of synthesizers (a Kurzweil K1000, some cheap italian synth and a wonderful analog 19” rack mounted synth - maybe a Poly 6 - although I’m not sure). I learnt to play some rock and could play one or two songs.

As a kid I had classical piano lessons (the memory fades and I remember dreading going to the lessons because I never practiced during the week)

Even earlier, I wanted to take piano lessons while we lived in Denmark, but all I got was lessons on some tin whistle together with my sister.

At my parents, we had a grand piano, my father, old as he was, always played the same beginning of a classical piece. However, my parents were culturally engaged, organized concerts and we often had “real” musicians over as guests or at house concerts. We went to loads of classical concerts - and I used to be bored to death, of course. When living in Denmark, we went to see Michala Petri at Tivoli. I remember her playing a bass recorder, some modern composition and I asked my mother, when she thought that Michala was finished with tuning the flute and would start playing. Michala actually is a relative of me, and one of the sweetest persons I know. And she plays a mean recorder (two voices? check! Throat singing while playing? check! slide recorder? check!)

During all these year I have listened to a lot of music. My iTunes collection contains around 18’000 tracks. You can check out an audio signature I created in 2006. (Sadly the program that generated it no longer seems to work)

The last couple of weeks saw me in a new adventure. Dragica Kahlina (aka @gluggergames) who plays the Eigenharp introduced me to a Improv Workshop and I have started to join the fun under the direction of Omri Ziegele. Our group consists of a piano, a sax, a didgeridoo, the Eigenharp and me on electric or acoustic guitar. Whether it is music we create during the two hours we play together, I don’t know. But it is just great doing it and it starts to open new doors to “my” music.

[caption id=“attachment_12116” align=“aligncenter” width=“600”]At the improv workshop At the improv workshop[/caption]

Dragica by the way, is also the reason why I started to play guitar again. She presented the Eigenharp at a CreativeMorning in December 2011 and lent me the Eigenharp Pico to play around with. I enjoyed the experience, but was afraid that all the electronics and computers needed to make this thing sound would distract me from actually making music. That was the point where  I got my guitar back from its storage place…

Jens-Christian Fischer

Maker. Musician