A history of my interest in creating music.

Note that I have a bio on my education sub domain, which only touches on my interest in music where it relates to my developing interest in maths and physics education.

Music has been a big deal for me, at least since I was knee high to a grass hopper. My dad liked playing, particularly the music of nineteenth, through early twentieth, century composers, quite loud. So I was probably rocking to it in the womb. I bit my nose off to spite my face in primary school, when I walked out of the choir because I wasn't in the lead section. This was not an ego driven thing, in the sense that it wasn't about being in the lead group per se, I just found the supporting parts boring - I wanted to sing the lead melody. I've got a voice wedged inconveniently between a bass and a tenor. Maybe if I hadn't been so strident then, the experience might have set my musical thing off much earlier.

One time when I was twelve I discovered that the girl next door had been taking guitar lessons for some weeks. She showed me the book she was working from and with her guidance, I was able to grasp straight away the relationship between the types of written notes and their rhythms (it's just simple binary at that early stage), their vertical positions on the stave verses pitch name and the fingering of those pitches for C Major (the simplest key to learn at the start - it's only seven letters) in the open position of the guitar (you get six of the notes without even using a finger) and after a bit of messing around, started playing one of the tunes. Her father commented that she had already had several lessons and I just waltzed in and after no time at all, started playing a tune.


That experience spurred me on to ask my parents for a guitar and I ended up with my sister's old classical guitar hand me down and started guitar lessons. Although I made rapid progress, it wasn't fast enough for me - I lacked the discipline for focussed and consistent practice. I kept giving it up periodically from that time onwards and kept coming back to it. This was the beginning of a life long connection with the guitar and I've never been without a guitar since, whatever else I might have been doing. Each time I picked it up again, I taught myself and searched for ways to play that suited and appealed to me and this gradually grew into a serious pursuit of composition. I continued to play guitar spasmodically, but since age fifty I've been playing it more consistently.

I was in an acoustic band with some school friends for a short time around the age of fifteen and we won the audience vote in a school talent contest and then in an electric rock and roll band around the age of seventeen, playing at neighbourhood parties, but never going any further. I decided early on, based on various experiences carting band equipment around and constantly changing addresses between three states, that I didn't have the temperament for life on the road.

At the age of twenty, I started studying music theory in earnest and over the following years working through a significant number of books. These pertained to theory; traditional harmony and counterpoint; musical forms and orchestration; composition, ranging from classical sonata form through to serial music. All the while, trying to crack the nut of the music that was really rocking my socks off: Later Beatles, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Frank Zappa and playing in various short lived power trios through my twenties and into my early thirties, chasing my sound.