Joy of Rhythm

Bob Ashley, Canadian guitarist, eloquently explains the essential joy of music:

"Nothing has changed for me in 40 years of doing classical guitar. It's the daily re-enactment of the 'somatic' thrill in music, the exact same feeling of the 4 year-old body enacting itself in nursery rhyme motion, which I seek.

You see, I see no mind/body distinction, that being merely a metaphorical fabrication at best. We think, feel, with bodies. We do guitar with our body and the music does something back to the body, if we're lucky. Music understands what is lost upon our Cartesian fictions. We are only bodies that think with our bodies. No matter which way you cut it, the mind is only metaphor for a dedicated bodily function.

Children understand this, somatic liberation. With education, though, we attempt to beat this out of them. Mainly, education succeeds, which is why so few people really, really get anything out of music. For most people it music is a dead language, in part because they think it is a 'mind' thing.

The story is exactly the same for poetry, which education, in its grandiose stupidity manages to make it out to be something difficult, something only certain people can do. Horse poop. Every kid is a master of the babble for its own sake, which, of course, is what poetry, at bottom, is. Directionless babble which feeds somatic hunger. And babbling makes the body feel so good, also something every kid knows.

Music and poetry are the primitive arts, and if this concept seems to ring true it is because our primal memory recalls dancing around the bonfire, singing incantations to the gods in the trees and stars. Physical acts. Athletic expressions and receptions of spirituality, in rhythms, from heartbeat to lunar encirclings and beyond. There are no other kinds."

Reprinted with kind permission of Bob Ashley.

The joy of movement is part of the human condition.

Orff Schulwerk

In December 2007 I performed at the Art Gallery of N.S.W. where I had a very stimulating conversation with an official of Orff N.S.W.

It was great to hear that Aussie schoolkids are getting involved in this approach to music education, with it's emphasis on movement, ensemble, and improvisation. The Aussies encourage the children to make their own instruments as well!

More info here : WHAT IS ORFF SCHULWERK?

How to use 'Guitar playing & how it Works'

The musical material in this book is organised in a logical fashion. However the material is not intended to be studied strictly in the strict sequence it is presented!

The sequence is important in that it evolves from first principles, but as any teacher will tell you, this is not how people actually learn! The sequence of topics is laid out clearly in the Table of Contents. Remember that when learning music, topics will need to be put into practice again and again until mastered, these are skill sets, not merely concepts.

Explanatory material and suggestions are presented in this style.

The idea of a technique can often be grasped in a moment, the physical mastery of a technique, and then the application of that idea to musical repertoire can take a lot of time.

Concepts presented like this are KEY concepts.
They will need to be considered again and again.
... and then applied to the instrument until mastered