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My most recent single release - "My True North" - is now available on Bandcamp. Open my profile and click on "audio clip".

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Chasing The Bird

How old were you when you first recognized your limitations? How much do you recall about the specifics of what you set out to accomplish? How long did it take before you reconciled yourself to never reaching that accomplishment? What has been the most recent limitation you've faced head-on?    

How much easier my life could have been had I learned to recognize my musical limitations sooner. Not sure how this critical life skill eluded me until recently. My parents were sensible people who supported my musical dreams while not indulging me in fantasy. My siblings have also brought me back to earth on those occasions when I've strayed too far afield, musically or otherwise. From my undergraduate years on, I've been fortunate to have many grounded friends and work colleagues. It's abundantly clear where the buck stops.

Sadly, knowing where the blame rests for my musical myopia isn't comforting. For eleven years I've been steadily increasing the speed on my metronome playing Ornithology, Charlie Parker's bebop classic, on my guitar. Then not long ago, I compared my current speed - 168 beats per minute (BPM) - to a Parker recording. I now offer this hackneyed glass-half-full bromide: Better late than never to recognize playing bebop is not - perhaps never was - in the cards for me, considering the Bird plays Ornithology at 230+ BPM. 

No wonder I've avoided recognizing my limitations; it sucks.      


  1. Hello Pat. Hope everyone is doing well. Have to begin with the Charlie Parker reference and just say 'WOW". 230 BPM? I had to go take a listen before I started to post my response. I always loved his music but ... WOW. And I have to add that 168 BPM is still pretty damn good. So ... please keep going.
    As far as realizing my limitations? To be honest I'm not sure I ever pushed myself far enough to know. There have been things that I've wanted to do over the years that I either never started or started and then stopped - mostly due to my own impatience and a (thankfully) previous tendency to be lazy. Or was that just 'taking the easy way'? And with some things there has also been that sense of 'what if'. Can't say for sure if that actually made things easier or if the direction I chose wound up being harder and/or longer than if I had pushed myself more. Very ironic. Theres a question that pops up every now and again on social media. 'If you had the chance to go back, would you?'. It usually is more specific - go back to High School, to College, to childhood, etc ...The response I see from people is usually overwhelmingly 'No'!! But for me, I'm not so sure. To be able to see how things might have turned out if the other road was taken. If I had pushed myself harder. An interesting question to face. And the answer tends to be easier to make since going back is not possible - no matter if one wanted to or not. But, with my children, my grandsons and my wife ... I am quite happy with the way things turned out.
    Be well,

    1. Bob; First off, thanks for your words of encouragement. And, I do plan to "keep going", although I suspect I'll likely never get to 230 BPM - not enough time left in this life, I'm afraid. More importantly, thanks for your vulnerable honesty re your own battle with limitations. My goal starting this blog 10 1/2 years ago was to connect with others on the bell curve who - I'm reasonably sure - share similar battles, even when they are not brave enough - as you have been here - to admit that to themselves or others. We are all more alike than we are dissimilar.