Blues in the woods


By the brook, originally uploaded by leyaevelyn.

When walking through the woods with Lila yesterday afternoon, I was singing the blues beat out loud to myself. Jerry taught it to us at the program. There wasn’t any one else around to listen, except Lila, the squirrels, some bugs and birds. I’d like to learn it, make it automatic, so I could improvise around it. I’ve wanted to learn jazz piano for many years, taken some lessons, but it always seems to evade me. I used to say I wanted to learn to play jazz piano before I die, but as it isn’t happening, maybe I’m just not ready to die.

Last week, I told Wendell, one of the participants, my dilemma, that maybe I need to take up a different instrument, one that uses only a melody line. It’s coordinating base and melody I find hard in jazz, although not when I read classical music (and especially not when I played the organ in university — somehow the three manuals and foot keyboard made it easier for me — I still find that strange, but that’s the way my mind works, I suppose).

At the second bonfire, Wendell said he had the instrument for me: brought out a one-handed piano. A melodica. At first, it sounded harsh. But then I really got into it, went through all the forms of music from bebop, blues to free-jazz. I found myself laughing almost as much as I was playing. The mind is a strange thing. And music can be funny.

I’ve been told I can’t sing. When I was in eighth and ninth grades, I wanted to be in the girls’ choir with my friends. But every time I sang, the teacher said someone was off in my section. I decided just to mouth the words so I could continue to be in the choir. But that didn’t help my confidence when it comes to the voice. Maybe I’ll just stick to the piano, at least for now. If I walk throughout the woods enough for the next few weeks, I may even be able to play the blues!