Life in the Slow(er) Lane

10:46 pm General, Keyboard, People

(Re-)Connected up with a bunch of folks from the past over the preceding week – possibly going all the way back to third grade. Still waiting to hear if Fred Foote is THE Fred Foote with whom Michelle Becker and I went to school at Volta in the early 60s (she and I both moved to Skokie the same summer – unbeknownst to each other until we found ourselves standing side-by-side on the first day of 5th grade).  Had a couple of long phone conversations with Fred Crivlare (drummer from the H.S. band days). What a joy. He’s still playing, which was good to hear.

It’s been a bit of an exercise for memory cells that have been sleeping for years, if not decades. Fun, nonetheless. Scanned/posted a bunch of pix and, in the process, was made tangibly aware of how life has slowed down and sped up at the same time… I swear the last three years went by in about 6 mos. but it takes me twice as long to get upstairs these days as it did 40 years ago.

Speaking of sleeping brain cells, I’m slowly nudging some keyboard cells into action. We did end up getting the Yamaha portable grand (see previous post) and I’ve probably already racked up about 100 hours on the thing.



It’s quite fun, sounds great, and hooks up just the way I need it to for PianoMarvel and recording my Berklee stuff (Blues and Rock Keyboard Techniques, which started last week) for submission. After less than three months with PM, I’m now able to rip through the “student” (i.e., shorter, simplified left hand) version of The Entertainer, which is going to sound infinitely lame to the keyboard guys out there, but I’m pretty stoked about it nonetheless. As folks like Bob Bruning and my brother Tony know, I’ve had a weird mental block regarding written music for a long time, so reading and playing this stuff – especially on a new instrument – is an achievement. I’ll take it. (Click here if the player widget doesn’t appear below). The accompaniment you hear is the stuff one plays along with when doing the PianoMarvel lessons. Nice system.

Meanwhile, I’ve had the chance over the last week to work with Tony on some of his and Amy’s original stuff, which has been great fun. They’re churning out some really excellent tunes! I’ll wait until he thinks things are ready before posting anything.

Lots more here for those new to the site. Leave a comment if you come by!

4 Responses

  1. Bob Bruning Says:

    Thanks for the pics, Ron. Definitely know what you’re talking about regarding brain cells and the time it takes to get upstairs. Don’t remember anything about your mental block about reading. My duties of expanded to teaching AP Music Theory,so I do know what it’s like to feel intimidated if that’s what you’re talking about. Some of these jazz kids run circles around me. Going to show them a thing or two about rocking out though on Friday night. Only practice my singing or bass playing when there’s a gig looming and that hasn’t happened in a couple of years.On top of those two tasks I’ve been writing all the horn and keyboard charts also. mostly just record transcriptions really, just like what we did in giant city only so much easier when using software. It’s good to know you are back at it and I’m looking forward to hearing more. be well, old Friend.

  2. Ron Says:

    Some years back I mentioned the mental block briefly when I hit you up for some sight-reading advice on bass (playing w/a local concert band). My brain would just lock up whenever I saw sheet music. I still have your response, re: reading the intervals, saved as quote. I still use it – lately, on piano. Thanks, again, for that.

  3. Dirje Childs Says:

    Greetings, old friend! Not sure if you remember me, but when you and GC used to play at the Wilshire Red Onion, a few months before you moved (back east?) I used to come and listen. Drove out to see you and Tony in the Valley a couple times at your home and visited and talked music with you guys. Fast forward nearly 40 years (that long???) and I am living near Austin Texas. I am a freelance improvisational cellist, and have spent the last 18 years or so crafting parts on the fly, recording and touring on and off and doing festivals with singer songwriters. My growing edge is composing. (I also am a mental health therapist, but that is another story) My main interest is now writing what I hear. My Dad was a composer, and that’s where I got my ear, and why it is easy to play with singer songwriters, i think. I am not a flashy player, but really love helping people’s songs shine with soulful heartful lines. I am a natural arranger. Time to step out and write my own things. Hope to stay in touch. Glad to find you here. Congrats for all the studies and writing you are doing. Take care, and I wish you and yours all the best.

  4. Ron Says:

    Dirje – you’ve got mail. 😉