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How serious am I about music? Here's the answer in the form of a very brief bio focussed on the essential details of my commitment and development as a musician.

My father had a significant collection of LP's of serious music ranging from the early nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries. These were played often when I was growing up having an indelible influence.

In primary school I enjoyed singing songs, particularly sea shanties, which seemed to be really popular at the time.

I took up guitar at twelve and am mostly self taught. Through early and mid teens, I worked spasmodically through many Mel Bay guitar type books. My favourite guitar book back then was Bert Weedon's Rock Skiffle And Blues, a book originally published in 1958, which had a big influence on me. These were the beginnings of a life long connection with the guitar and I've never been without a guitar since, whatever else I might have been doing. Although I didn't commit to it as a sole pursuit, spasmodically I applied myself pretty seriously to playing it.

Each time I picked up the guitar 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. Experimenting making my own sounds I often came up with little instrumentals, with sometimes relatively tricky fingering that would drive my progress forwards. I also spent significant time, working out by ear, the music of artists that I admired.

I made noticeable, overall progress, because, when I did get sucked into it, I would get obsessed for quite a time and make significant progress, which lasted, even when I left it alone for a while.

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I often played until my fingers bled and eventually developed significant calluses on the tips of my left hand fingers. Because I was doing this while growing, you can see that the little finger on my left hand is significantly larger than the one on my right. The latter has become much stronger playing the piano as an adult, but it's way too late for it to get any bigger.

My way of advancing on the guitar ever since then, is concerted practice and experimentation, which eventually gives rise to ideas of something new while playing that's a few steps ahead of where I am and that drives my progress. I have also had a lot of good advice in bits and pieces from other guitarists along the way.

In my early twenties I studied several music theory books thoroughly:

  1. The Rudiments Of Music by William Lovelock
  2. A book on counterpoint *
  3. First Year Harmony by William Lovelock
  4. Second Year Harmony by William Lovelock
  5. Elementary Training by Paul Hindemith
  6. The Structure Of Music by R.O. Morris
  7. Fundamentals Of Composition by Arnold Schoenberg
  8. Orchestral Technique by Gordon Jacob
  9. Jazz and Rhythm'n Blues by Mickey Baker
  10. Jazz Guitar by Mickey Baker
  11. Jazz Improvisation: Tonal And Rhythmic Principles by John Mehegan
  12. Twentieth Century Harmony by Vincent Persichetti
  13. Serial Composition by Reginald Smith Brindle

* This book is around the house somewhere and I can't remember the full name, nor the author.