Gentle early wake-up, exercising and stretching out on a sunny wooden floor, feeling my shoulders loosen their clench, my hip muscles release; drenching off sweat in a hot shower, pulling on clean soft clothes, reading a psychology book and then one on the history of Japanese martial arts, a sunny bikeride with newly pumped-up wheels. Warm sushi rice. Stitching together 3 different mental maps of how to navigate sub-areas of Boston; totally nailing my new song's chord progressions and finally, finally feeling fluency creep into improvising, thin thought bridges forming between the mathematical and auditory and kinesthetic islands of how I approach a keyboard. I'm starting to be able to be more than just a robot.
This week I've got another new song, Gillepsie's "Groovin' High." Usually it takes a few lessons before I'm ready for a new song, but I've started to get into a regular practice groove and the learning's coming easier; the world of jazz piano isn't quite as undifferentiatedly baffling. I still don't speak the language, but the syllables are no longer painfully foreign to listen to). I think I've learned how to learn jazz pieces now, at least enough that I can look at other things for a bit while I plateau on this. Kevin pointed out a turnaround in "For All We Know" I'd missed, got me to play a 3-against-4 rhythm (I keep thinking that piece is in 3/4 time anyway, even if I play it in 4/4) and listen to my left hand answering the right. I have a tendency to need to play more sparsely - I try to cram too many thoughts and techniques in parallel and none of them get through. I'm starting to be able to listen to myself do these things.
We played with the sound of a dominant major plus the major of its tritone; I need to practice resolving diminished chords in different keys. Eb major no longer scares me; I find myself transposing sheet music - haltingly, sure, but being able to transpose it on the fly at all is something I'd never done before. And this week I'm working on getting comfortable with nines and flat nines (a C major 9 chord is C, E, G, Bb, and then the D above the Bb; a flat 9 is the Db) in all the different keys, since I can feel out 7s now; I can hear the chord in my head and my hands just find the notes. This as opposed to several months ago, where I was "Um... that would... 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7... but then a half-step down and whoa that sounds really weird did I really play that right? Math math math math math... yes, I guess that's actually right." I can play it without the math. There's a tiny sprout of musical intuition finally creeping into my brain.
Making sushi. Golliwog's Cakewalk. Garbanzo chocolate cake, banana (ripe), unsweetened soy milk. Work, dreaming.
Another day like this tomorrow. Life is good.