4 April 2014 : Oh so much god damn learning…

After nearly 20 years, I’m getting guitar lessons again and I’m finally learning music theory to boot(geez it hurts the brain!). My good mate and phenomenal guitarist Dylan Ryche is my taskmaster on 'the skype' from Toronto. Very excited to look back at what the hell I’ve been writing all these years from a different perspective. I’m slowly overcoming my fear of learning languages and am back on the Vietnamese lessons too. Physics and maths were always where my intuitive skills lay. I almost failed high school English; I just could never understand why I would need to write 4 pages worth to answer a question that I could easily summarise in a sentence or two.  
Music is a language, but it’s also very mathematical. I always thought that part of it would lead me in to its depths, but the very sight of letters seemed to make it impossible for my brain to calculate the interval between a B and an E within 32 seconds, even though I completed advanced linear algebra, vector calculus and nuclear physics at university. Very strange. Letters, for some reason, scared me. Turn them into numbers and I’m away, but don’t ask me to transpose a song from the key of G to the key of Eb if you want to play it before tomorrow.
 
It seems kind of fitting that I’m now learning one of the most difficult languages for English-speakers to learn. Where English only has one tone, Vietnamese has 6 tones and a few extra vowel sounds. This means that any, and almost every, word can have up to six different meanings depending on the inflection and tone used. The opportunities for hilarious mispronunciations are endless. Ask a work colleague if she is busy, and end up asking for a condom instead, etc.
 
If this wasn’t enough to keep my brain guessing, I’ve just started getting singing lessons as well. From a Vietnamese teacher, classically trained, who doesn’t speak a word of English and is teaching me Italian opera songs and Vietnamese folk songs. The whole learning how to breathe properly for singing is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, I’d say. The idea is that you need to relax all you chest and throat and belly and back, breathe not into your chest, but into your belly and the down into your lower back, pushing your diaphragm down as far as it can go. Then to breathe out you need to push down with your diaphragm further into your lower back…such a head fuck. It’s made a bit more difficult in that I had an Australian football injury as a 14 year old where I fractured my back and had some minor nerve damage. So now when I breathe deep down into my back it presses on all that old injured area and reignites a fire of nerve and muscle pain through my legs and up to my neck. But it’s coming along slowly and bit by bit becoming less and less painful. I’ll be singing like Pavarotti in no time.
 
The album is oh so close! Stay tuned!