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, I spasmodically 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. I have also had some good advice in bits and pieces from other guitarists along the way.


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 of my own compositions and experimentation, which eventually gives rise to ideas of something new while playing, that's a few steps ahead of where I am, which drives my progress. Also, trying to play difficult pieces by Frank Zappa, such as Uncle Meat and Echidna's Arf. The latter in particular, because I have worked out an arrangement for solo guitar, aiming to evoke contrasts between repeating sections, that is achieved in the orignal with different instruments. So, there is a lot of jumping around, and I get no break throughout, and it's forced me to be very creative with fingerings and picking.

My study of the guitar, by my early twenties, evolved into significant periods of time studying various music theory books thoroughly, in order to develop my main thing, which is composition:

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

* This book is around the house somewhere and I can't remember the full name or author.