There Goes Another Year

Time seems to run downhill after September and 2018 is coming to a close. We have one more month to complete....er, close the gap....ok, maybe start some of those New Year's resolutions from eleven months ago.  Let me tell how how I've fared with my musical goals for 2018.

Since my college days, I have been trying to create a practice routine that sticks in my schedule, so for the past 20 years I've been tinkering with it. It's an ongoing struggle, but I have learned that specific yearly goals help keep me focused on a somewhat regular regimen. This year was successful in practicing something nearly every day.. a feat I am quite proud of! It is so easy to not do it when I'm busy, sick, or tired...but I didn't cave in and could always do at least 10 minutes of something.

Let's talk about those 'somethings' of practicing.

This year I wanted to expand my comfort level with improvising in 7/4. It was a very fun and gratifying goal because it forced me to focus my listening, transcribe new things and be able to lean into soloing on 7/4 tunes instead of tip-toeing around them. I still have far to go, but at least that proverbial bus is pointed in the right direction!

I also wanted to work on the Jean-Marie Londeix Nouvelles Etudes...which I have barely touched. It's been an epic fail! I guess it's a good thing there are a few more weeks left in 2018 to try and put a dent in these. It feels that other practice goals take precedent over this one because these etudes don't appear to have a direct influence on my gigs. Not a good mindset, I know.

Another failure this year has been my goal of transcribing several solo breaks. I love listening to a great solo break...when pulled off with skill, they are condensed bits of improvised magic, full of everything I want in my playing; cozy time feel, good language, clear ideas, and usually a bit of humor.  I haven't transcribed one yet! This goal definitely got swept under the rug.

It's not all bad, though. I wanted to improve my time-feel on tempi between 200-240 bpm as well as smooth out major and harmonic minor scales. I worked on this consistently and was a part of my daily practicing all year long. I am pretty happy about that!

I wanted to get a couple Joel Frahm solo transcriptions...I did! Check that off the list!

The last musical goal of note I laid out for myself last January was to acquire more diminished patterns for improvising, to which I have done so. I worked on about six of them early in the year, although only two or three have found their way into my soloing. It's probably time to revisit those.

It's a crazy busy month coming up (they all are though, right?)...fingers crossed I can get to some of these unfinished goals.

How are your resolutions coming along?

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