USE YOUR EARS!
I absolutely loved John Wheatcroft’s Exotic Blues feature (GT259). Usually, when people start talking about ‘Altered’ scales or, heaven forfend, ‘Superlocrian’, my brain instantly shuts down and no more goes in. A bit like when my financial advisor starts talking about tax liabilities, annuities and so on.
I’d got the mag and saw the feature but, again, thought I wouldn’t understand it. So for a change I listened to John’s examples before I read the piece – and indeed the other audio tracks – to see if it might be within my ability range. I’d never done that before and, you know what? It’s the best thing! I usually look at the article’s title to work out if it’s for me or not, and have clearly missed loads of stuff that I probably would have loved. In that issue I also did Creative Rock, the Lonnie Mack tribute, the John Mayer acoustic lesson (I didn’t think I liked him!), and the AC/DC rhythm and lead licks. So, to all those that assess a feature on its style, genre or whatever – I’d suggest you do what I did, and play every audio track first. You’ll definitely want to learn things that you’d otherwise dismiss as ‘not you’.
I know that scenario, John – the very mention of certain words or phrases shuts my brain off from hearing any more. But your letter is genius! I wonder how many other readers simply look at a feature’s title, or see a musical style, and think, ‘Not for me’, when if they’d listened to the audio tracks they’d have gone. ‘I really want to learn that’. So thanks for imparting that nugget of wisdom – really obvious to some, I’m sure, but an eye-opener to others, I hope.