Driving Rhythm

“Listen and attend with the ear of your heart” (St. Benedict)

Today was rounded off with the first rehearsal of a staff/students band at MGS which is to take part in the Gig On The Grass at the end of term. This event is organised by Gordon Gallagher (guitar) PT Performing Arts. Bands who have come together through the school’s Live Music Club have a chance to perform more songs than they can in the normal lunchtime gigs.

Learning the three songs from a CD led me to reflect on how my views on transcription have changed over the years and therefore my advice to pupils on this.

As a pupil myself, I would sit by a record player, guitar in hand, lifting and replacing the arm until each little bit had been worked out – or until the patience of my family ran out. Now, I don’t go near an instrument until the very last moment. Why did this change? There are basically two types things you can transcribe:

  1. a song which is in the room (hi-fi, iPod etc.)
  2. a song which is already in your head

I think it is preferable to turn the former into the latter by repeated listening, before picking up the instrument. I vaguely recall this idea coming to me while doing Listening Comprehensions for Higher Spanish at night-school. I noticed that extensive note taking was causing me to miss some of what was being said. I put down the pen and the words registered in a more lasting way.

So, when Gordon gave me the CD, I put it in the car hi-fi, and played it during every journey for four days – a kind of mobile immersion school. Did such intensive listening affect my driving? I really couldn’t say – I had my eyes shut most of the time.