A bit more about the aikido practice.
As I mentioned before, our aikido work was mostly with weapons and led by Andrea. I say ‘mostly’, because it was often hard to say when we were doing aikido and when we weren't. Many of the games and bodywork bridged across the music<>aikido spectrum.
Though once we had weapons in our hands we were definitely practicing aikido. One of the interesting things for me was that Andrea and Nik’s weapon work was different from what I was used to. It wasn’t far away, but it seemed to come from a different line.
July 30-August 5 Nik Bärtsch workshop -- Val Mesocco, Switzerland
I had been thinking about coming to this workshop for over two years, ever since Henry Kaiser first told me Nik was doing this kind of thing. Aikido + Music + Meditation. Perfect for me. Thankfully, I was able to be in the vicinity (Europe) close enough to the dates so that I could extend my trip and come here.
Zurich, Switzerland July 29, 2013 -- performance with Nik Bärtsch & Mihai Balabaș at Club Exil.
I ended up blowing off my flight from Munich to Zurich and taking the train directly from Innsbruck. It was a much, much nicer way to travel through the Alps. Tobias went with me, which was great. We got to debrief the tapping workshop and do a fair bit of gear-geek talk.
I arrived in Zurich very weak and immediately went to sleep for another 18 hours. Nik (Bärtsch) had asked me to join him in his weekly performance at Club Exil the next day (Monday, August 29). Nik’s band Ronin has been playing a weekly Monday night gig in Zurich for years. If you want to know how to get good as a band, look no further than this: play a weekly gig, year after year after year. When I met David Harrington of the Kronos Quartet he told me that they rehearsed 5 days a week. Why is Kronos so damn good and how do they learn so much material so quickly? They rehearse regularly and have been doing so for decades.
This is a ridiculously beautiful place. Sadly, I am missing my son’s 16th birthday, but he and I did get to spend nearly two weeks traveling through Navajo land last month. (High points: Canyon de Chelly, Grand Canyon, and Chaco Canyon in midnight moonlight).
This was our second annual tapping workshop and a huge leap beyond last year’s course. A leap in terms of what we were able to tackle, but also in the level of improvement in peoples' playing. And in only 5 days. We even had two people come who had never played a touch guitar before. By the end of the week they were playing music along with the rest of us. Quite amazing, actually.
This year’s course was held in a different location and with no kitchen staff. Our quarters were much closer and we cooked for ourselves. Both these things could appear to be a drag. But, in fact, they were huge bonuses. This is something proved again and again in the world of Guitar Craft: work well together in the kitchen and you can clearly work better together onstage. Work on either one and both improve.
July 18, 2013 Mexico City -- Centro Cultural Roberto Cantoral Theater
with Michael Manring and Allonso Arreola
I haven’t been in a reflective, or reporting, frame of mind for a while now (as you will notice from the small amount of blog posts over the last two years). However, there is so much to share from the last three weeks that I shall now show my hand.
I’m back home and settled in from the European Tapping Seminar. This took place in the majestic Alps of Innsbruck, Austria. Markus Reuter and I were the hosts/leaders of the week. Though huge kudos goes out to Markus’ very dedicated team of players who have been working with him over the years.
The week was quite amazing. For all of us. I saw some outstanding improvement in the players present. And, for myself, I gained some tremendous insights. Not to mention that my playing was lit on fire for a good chunk of the week.