Although I have been missing in action for most of November, it is a very exciting time for me. In addition to gigging and teaching, I have finished a cross-stitch project, almost completed a 30 Minute Workout for Jazz Bass, and have put together what I term a Passions Constellation.
Latest LP Stitch Project
After putting my cross-stitch on hold for a few months, I finally got around to finishing my latest LP Stitch project, a reproduction of the soundtrack to The Harder They Come (bottom right in the photograph). This Jamaican film is from the early 70s and features artists like Jimmy Cliff and Toots & the Maytals. Despite the soundtrack being a family favorite, I quickly realized that no one else has heard of it – as evident by the number of people who asked me about it when I was working on my cross-stitch project in public. As of now, the full movie and all songs are on YouTube, if anyone is interested.
30 Minute Workout: Jazz Bass
In my November newsletter, I explained how I was working on converting my workshop, “The Art of Practicing Bass,” into a series of books. I am pleased to report that I am almost finished with the first workout routine – focusing on fundamentals of jazz bass playing in the lower register. Not only do I have plans for a full set of 5 different jazz bass workouts, I also would like to expand the “30 Minute Workout” series to include a variety of topics. Right now, I am considering developing workouts for other instruments (e.g. jazz piano, jazz drums, etc.), academic topics in music (e.g. History of Jazz, Jazz Theory), and topics outside of music (e.g. writing, graphic design, etc.) Stay tuned for more information about the series and watch for the release of the first jazz bass workout (hopefully) by the end of this year!
One of the primary issues that I have been grappling with most in my blog posts is how to balance multiple interests (especially since I have been trained in music education and academia – both of which emphasize specialization and focus on a single passion). In the book The Renaissance Soul, author Margaret Lobenstine argues that even when it feels like you have an overwhelming number of interests to choose from, it is still possible to whittle them down to a manageable number. Over the last year, I have worked on developing what I call the Passions Constellation. This refers to a grouping of seemingly disparate interests that collectively form a representation of who I am as a person. I organized my passions/interests into five primary categories and five sub-categories for each. Right now, I am working on developing a set of goals, projects, and target habits to cultivate these passions/interests (as well as offering to help design others’ Passions Constellations as Christmas gifts). As with the 30 Minute Workout series, I expect that I will be blogging about this more in-depth in the future.