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Looking for music lessons in Oregon City or Portland (or perhaps over the internet)? I teach all ages and levels and a variety of musical styles. I specialize in bringing to lessons the science and psychology of music along with creative exploration. Visit the lessons page to learn more.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Auld Lang Syne 2020 — on the Kite Guitar

All this year, I've had a note on my task list to write about how I've been continuing lessons with video chat (so far sticking to the free/libre/open tool Jitsi Meet instead of Zoom or other proprietary options). I have a lot I could (and will later) say about this whole situation. It's been working out surprisingly well, continuing with most of my students and adding new students who are local, out of state, and even overseas.

Of the many reasons I haven't gotten around to writing articles about video lessons, one issue is the time and energy I've been putting into the Kite Guitar! This new system of guitar fretting and tuning fulfills a dream I've had for 20 years to be able to play more harmonious chords and expressive melodies in a flexible-enough, practical way. I will be publishing much more about that soon.

In honor of the New Year (and played extra slowly so that astute listeners might notice the special qualities of the tuning):

I'm resisting the urge to go on about the guitar, the tuning, the arrangement, my process of updated video production (using all free/libre/open software), and more. It will all come in due time. Looking forward to a productive and prosperous 2021, and sending my love and well-wishes to everyone in the world! Happy New Year!

Friday, February 14, 2020

I Finally Wrote Another Song

Summer 2018. A couple years into fatherhood. Still holding onto all sorts of creative dreams but making little progress. I was juggling compulsions, goals, responsibilities, thoughts, worries…

I was getting into mindfulness meditation. I dabbled in meditation since childhood, but I had not previously made it a routine practice. Meditation now is among a slew of efforts toward getting my routines and life in better order.

One day in August (2018), I took a break from some chores. I put on some random music. I heard some singer-songwriter stuff I liked well enough. I felt inspired (and perhaps also looking for an outlet to procrastinate and push away some stress).

I picked up my guitar, and a new song came out. It was just a bunch of thoughts that had been on my mind. Thoughts about my relationships, my compulsions, my procrastination. I recorded a better take a couple days later. Now, in early 2020, I'm finally posting it:

Friday, January 31, 2020

Featured on the Now&Xen podcast playing the Kite Guitar

I was featured on the Now&Xen podcast! Full link: https://nowandxen.libsyn.com/29268-cents-kite-giedraitis-aaron-wolf-spencer-hargraves-jacob-collier

Here's an embedded player:

The "xen" in the podcast name refers to the prefix that means "strange" or "foreign" (so xenophobia is fear of foreign people or things, xenophilia is love of them). In this case, it refers to xenharmonic, a term for musical tunings that feel foreign.

In the podcast, I'm playing on and discussing the amazing Kite Guitar, named for my friend Kite Giedraitis who discovered the tuning and invented a practical language around it.