I had a mostly good day. I got some things done. Had conversations with people that needed to happen. That is, I talked with my professors a bit. Jazz is my major. But you really wouldn’t be able to tell. I am in a ‘beginners’ jazz combo, for people that are still learning how to play jazz and such. It is in this class that we are supposed to become familiar with jazz, but as far as I’m concerned, we’ve been told to play jazz, but not told how to play jazz. I feel like I’m making a fool out of myself in the class. I don’t know what I’m doing half of the time. When he asks us to learn a song, I can do it. If we need to transcribe a solo- I can do that. But that is the extent of my comfort. When we learn songs- we go around the room and solo, as one could probably guess. It is in this time that I lose faith in the music. I know that I am a good guitar player. I know that I can read music decently, and that I can play music decently- but I can’t be expected to play a style of music that I’ve never been taught how to play. After classes and errands today, I went back to the music building to look for the head of the jazz department to voice my concern/discomfort, he was not around- so I decided I would look for the head of the music department, who is the teacher for my combo class. On the way to his office, I ran into him, and asked to talk to him- he was obviously on his way out- probably home. He told me to walk with him, so I started talking. I told him that I was struggling, and that I thought I was making a fool of myself. He just looked at me and kept walking. Then I told I felt like I was being told to play jazz, but not being taught how to play jazz. When I said that, he stopped, and I think he then realized what I was talking about, and how I felt. I continued talking a bit, and then he stopped me and he talked for a bit. He told me that I wasn’t making a fool of myself- that whether or not I knew what I was doing- I was a good musician. He talked a bit- as the teachers always do- about how important it is to listen, and play along too. He told me that that aspect of jazz is huge. But he understood that I was looking for something simpler than that- a more methodical way of learning… learning. So, he asked me what classes I was enrolled in, and what I was learning in my private study with my guitar teacher. I told him the only jazz class I was taking was his combo class, because that was the only one I was told to take. And that in my private study- I was not learning jazz- that I was learning technique and basics of reading music. He told me to talk to a teacher on campus who teaches Improv class. He said that that teacher was a very generous man and rarely turns anyone away. He said he would probably let me into his class and that I should go talk to him. I said I would go talk to him right then, but then he looked at me and said “Here, I’ll talk to him with you”. We walked to his office, and he went in and said “Give me a minute”. They talked in his office for about 5 minutes and then came out. I shook his hand and thanked him. He left. I went into the office and talked to the improv teacher. He was very nice. We decided that I could join his class- but I would have to do the make up work and make up quizzes and such. He said he was glad to help me- and that we would make sure I was in the class one way or another.
When I first started getting going with the first man I talked to- the one who was on his way out. I felt my eyes start to water- which was not on purpose to get him to help me- although I think now that it might have helped. He is an intimidating man. And I needed help. Anyway.
Now I am listening to the music that he suggested I listen to. I do like jazz- but I think people are too ‘kool katz’ about it sometimes. I don’t like that. You know?