Week eight

March 2, 2014

Week 8

My mom has been here for the last week and it's been great!  I've transformed from someone focused on how he can do more and what's missing to appreciating all that he has and has accomplished.  I'm truly blessed to be here and to have these experiences and opportunities to acquire new skills.  And I've only just crossed the halfway point!

And I'm pretty sure it's been great for my mom.  We had a full day at El Morro, the closest fort, with a walk along el paseo de princesa, a sort of boardwalk area under the city walls.  We did the beach at Condado followed by her first mofongo.  She came with me to my Spanish lesson with a late lunch at Cafe Centro, a hole in the wall real people Puerto Rican cafeteria.  She heard my favorite local musicians at Rivera Hermanos on Calle San Sebastian, and danced!  Another beach yesterday and we both had a great chat with a Puerto Rican woman in her 70's, Zita, who had great advice on music and travel around the island.  She sang Recuerdos de Borinquen to me.  It is next on the list.  My goal to have at least Viejo San Juan, Las Caras Lindas, y Recuerdos de Borinquen learned before I go to Mexico.

Music!  The practice room guy came through!  Wouldn't you know it, just when I had made peace with not having a place to practice (I figured I can practice when I get home and for the time being I'll focus on learning Spanish, taking/recording lessons, translating lyrics and learning to sing local songs), I get an email from Josue at the little music school down the street and he gives me a schedule for when I can use the piano there.  Mondays and Friday from 5-9 and Thursdays 6-8.  Or course, I'd rather have two hours a day then only three days, but man it felt good to get in there Thursday and Friday this week.  I was able to get some great work done on the sycopation and montuno exercises Luis gave me weeks ago.  I'm also digging back into my Czerny and Brown scale book, reading a classical sonata movement each time and composing music for the Mexico and Yakima festivals.  I'm a musician again!

I'm contacting a professor at InterAmerican university who teaches salsa arranging.  He's also a percussionist.  My goal is to get an arranging lesson in one session and a catch-all salsa percussion lesson in another session.  One more salsa piano lesson with a different teacher would be good.  My goal is connect with the pianist at the Newyorican cafe on Wednesday next week.  There's a killer salsa band there almost every night.

My pandero class is good, but moving slowly.  It's cool though; he has us doing stick rudiments to build up strength in our wrists, which will also help on the piano.  And it's a great opportunity to feel completely lost and overwhelmed by Spanish.  :-)  The teacher and I connected on facebook and he saw my accordion pictures.  He said something (??) about playing accordion in his plena band.  (!!)  I'm not really sure what the timeline is or plan on that, but if I get the chance to play ANY music with ANYbody, I'll be ecstatic.  Next to the lack of time practicing on a piano, the lack of music making with anyone is my biggest disappointment.  The scene is so different from Seattle.  There aren't jam sessions.  And up to this point I haven't been invited to participate in anything.  I do my best to take it all as a lesson: Can't practice, study more.  Can't be in the band, observe more and learn to dance.  And of course both of those approaches fall under the grand umbrella of "Take life as it comes because you can't do a damn thing about it."  Any opportunity to practice being in the moment and doing the task at hand is good.  The serenity prayer really is an amazing piece of wisdom.



Pat Burnett March 03, 2014 @08:36 pm
Just caught up on your journey. Glad you are feeling the grove and getting your time on the piano. Can't wait to hear it in the PNW :)

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