Woodshedding: A term for concentrating on practicing guitar, learning new songs, licks, styles of playing. Thinking about one's way of presenting oneself in performance. Navel gazing. Listening to others. Listening to oneself. This last year has been one where I've been doing all of those things. Not playing out very much. Assessing whether playing out regularly equates to playing better, or not...
Attending the Summer Acoustic Music Week (SAMW) this last July as usual made me realize that the mere joy of playing with others should always be considered to be one of the most elementary ways of learning. Learning how to play with others, How to step forward. How to step back and play a supporting role. How to be selfless. And also how to insinuate one's self into the mix.
Being complimented regarding how well I play with others at my age is no small compliment. And once again I am reminded that that is how I began in this musical oeuvre. And also why I love singing harmony more than anything. These days I don't often get that opportunity.
Every time I pick up a guitar, the realization that one can play anything one hears is a wonderful thing. Just listening to that inner voice or tune is a remarkable method to help one advance one's knowledge of an instrument. As I tell many American friends: when I began, all we had was records to listen to, and from which we had to learn how to pick out a tune on an instrument. Singing was easy for me, playing was not... which is why I find that learning a tune by ear from a recording can be a marvelous way of teaching oneself something new.
That's what woodshedding is all about – taking the personal time to listen, to play and to learn.