And something totally different…

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Today I discovered that while I’m not too keen on playing for audiences, I can play instruments to cameras.

This is messing around with a double-flute (a couple of pennywhistles stuck together at an angle), while a cat tries to interfere:

There’s only about four or five notes (plus another octave of same) on a double flute because you have only one hand for each pennywhistle, etc. And it’s not what I’m used to playing. But I had fun with it. One side can be played as a regular pennywhistle, and I do that more often than I play it double like I did in that video.

If the next video returns an error, wait awhile and try again.

That one is me playing a regular flute. I had a tiny bit of instruction a long time ago, and I was not too great at it. I certainly couldn’t improvise or anything. I picked it up more than a decade later (post-so-called-“regression” and all that, too, so with skills totally rearranged) and suddenly could play, but only if I improvised stuff. So that’s what I’m doing in that video. It’s not the only style I improvise in, but I don’t really pick the style as I’m doing it (nor even know the names of the styles), and I don’t know what it’s going to sound like until I play, so that’s what came out this time around.

These are the sort of skills I meant, a long time ago, when I was describing things I can do that I don’t generally do around people, and that tend to impress people (sometimes more than is deserved, by contrast with assumptions about abilities, and so forth) but that don’t actually make me any more capable, say, around the house or anything.

About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods. Crochet or otherwise create constantly and compulsively. Write poetry and paint when I can. Physically and cognitively disabled. Anything you hear in the media or gossip is likely to be oversimplified at best and wildly inaccurate at worst, the only way to get to know me is to actually know me. I'm not really part of any online faction or another, even ones that claim me as a member. The thing in the world most important to me is having love and compassion for other people, although I don't always measure up to my own standards there by a longshot. And individual specific actions and situations and contexts matter a lot more to me than broadly-spoken abstract words and ideas about a topic. My father died a couple years ago and that has changed my life a lot in ways that are still evolving, but I wear a lot of his clothes and hats every day since he died and have shown no sign of stopping soon.

5 responses »

  1. I’m so jealous. I am totally musically impaired. I have tried at different times, but I just don’t have “it” whatever “it” is. I’m having fun with sound when I’m making videos, though, sometimes with sound effects plus voice plus music.

  2. things I can do […] that tend to impress people […] that don’t actually make me any more capable, say, around the house or anything.

    Same goes for the Spanish subjunctive and the 500 irregular French verbs.

    PS: ditto on the “musically impaired”. i think i’m tone deaf or something.

  3. Mom has been telling me to tell you how much she likes your cat. So I’ll tell you – my Mom really likes your cat.
    My Dad plays tin whistle and recorder, and one of our cats, now dead, really liked both, especially the tin whistle. She’d come up and start purring and bumping up against the instrument (which caused some notes to sound odd). She was diabetic (reason she died, actually) and would hide when it was time to give her insulin. Dad would play the tin whistle and she’d come out from wherever she was to purr and love it up. Then I’d take her, pet her gently and when she was really happy, give her the injection. It didn’t bother her as long as she was purring when I did it.
    I have good ‘intuitive’ sense of pitch, judging from my singing, but can’t do anything conscious requiring knowledge of pitch. I need sheet music to play from with an instrument, the improvised music I make on piano is by visual patterns rather than sound (and isn’t very musical) and when I tried figuring out notes to a song I wrote I ended up with something that sounded completely different. If I can’t mimic a sound, I can’t remember it, and if I partially mimic a sound I can remember only the aspects I can mimic. For example, I can remember the exact words someone said if I tried to remember at the time, and can remember conscious awareness of their accent, but unless I can mimic their accent I can’t remember it.

  4. that’s something i noticed as well. if i try to learn a skill, i’m really bad at it, then i leave it alone for a bunch of years, when i come back to it, suddenly i just get it and i’m really good at it. it’s how i learned to ride a bike, rollerblade, and paint among other things. (i’m currently ‘not’ being a scribe so that when i pick it up again soon, i will be skilled.. let’s see if i succeed.) i’m glad someone else has similar stories of this, as i think most people aren’t aware how much learning can happen subconsciously over time.

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