I just started my in-depth project, but I already feel like I have made significant progress. Right now with my mentor Bryan, I am learning about the famous guitarist jazz and swing guitarist Freddie Green. We are analyzing what makes his steady and crisp strumming so captivating and how his strumming doesn’t take away from the song but only serves to amplify his bandmates’ chords. We are also learning about the genre bossa nova and how the varied picking pattern makes a groovy feel.
After our conversation, I went home and started experimenting with some of the songs I know by adding the Freddie Green strumming, and the bossa nova picking.
Bryan and I both love jazz guitar, in fact, he has been part of various jazz bands for over twenty years. At first, I saw our skill gap as disheartening as he could perfectly perform the music while barely even looking at the music. We both agree that it takes a lot of practice to become a master in a genre and now looking at our skill gap fills me with motivation as I now see that with enough practice, I can become just as skilled as him.
Every healthy mentorship relationship has disagreements and over the course of the first two weeks, I can only think of one. I played the Freddie Green song using my fingers and my mentor Bryan suggested that I should use a pick as I would get a crisper sound. Although I agree I would get a crisper sound, I feel more comfortable with my fingers and I believe that it is easier to play chords where you have to mute a string with your fingers (and in the song, over half of the chords require you to mute a string). After picking up on this, Bryan sensed that I was more comfortable with my fingers as opposed to a pick, so he said that I could use my fingers but I would have to lift my fretting hand shortly after every pluck. I was happy we found a compromise as it is always reassuring to come to an agreement, out of a situation that began because of a disagreement. Although we had the same opinion (strumming would produce a crisper sound) we still managed to find a middle ground.