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My first Tech Tuesday →

> I’m going to have to learn that we are both going to have to be flexible. Snowpea is not going to want to do everything that I want him to want to do. And I’m going to have to do things with him that he wants to do that I don’t particularly want to do, i.e. anything crafty or arty such as building a robot from his Robots book.

> But honestly, at six years of age, I think that whatever we do will be good, even if it’s just messing around with a camera or a Web site. It’s going to be good for us both to spend Tuesdays together and I’m already looking forward to next week!

We’re homeschooling our son. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome earlier in the year, which wasn’t as much of a relief as we’d expected, because we already knew. But the diagnosis is helpful, not least of all because it helped with the process of taking him out of school.

Creativity and Homeschooling

Is it a cop-out to copy? I’ve been thinking about this for a while. This time I’m thinking about it in the context of guitar playing, which is the context in which I think about this more often than any other.

I just heard Hymn 11, by Pierre Bensusan, used as part of a video photo montage showcasing the Soviet invasion of Prague in 1968.

[Link to YouTube]


Isn’t copying the best way to learn? Sure it is. But I’m now at the stage in my guitar playing that I am competent enough to create, rather than copy.

If you look through the magazines, you’ll find the pages filled with tablature of popular songs. Look in a music section of a book store and you’ll see books upon books of chord and tab books.

But is that not the case with classical sheet music as well? And don’t symphony orchestras make a lifetime out of performing classical music?


Where symphony orchestras are concerned, it is the conductor who plays the most important role. So, although the musicians are playing the music as it was composed by the composer, there is infinite room for movement, for interpretation.

And with popular songs, some cover versions are preferred over the originals, i.e. Hurt, originally written and recorded by Trent Reznor and then recorded by Johnny Cash. The JC version is invariably the one that people have heard, and, indeed, the one that I play. Incidentally, I was into Nine Inch Nails long before I stared listening to Johnny Cash!

[Me playing Hurt]


I got my chops from learning songs that I liked. I guess that’s the route to learning any instrument: get inspired enough to want to learn to do what your favourite artists do. But where does that end? When does one stop copying and start creating? Or are copying and creating inextricably intertwined?


I often feel so incredibly inspired that I sit down and attempt to create. I’ve done this countless times. I’ve come up with some interesting tunes, but whenever I try to put words to it, they fall apart into embarrassments. I don’t know what it is that prevents me from writing lyrics that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to share.

My autistic 6-year-old son is heavily into a computer game called [Everybody Edits]:(5). He gets excited and shouts me through to hear his ‘new songs’. What he’s done is create music using some sort of building blocks based on well-known classical tunes. At least as far as I can gather. He was raised on the Baby Einstein classical music videos and recognises a lot of it now. It’s his favourite kind of music to listen to as well.

We’re home-schooling him now and it is my plan to teach him Garage Band on the iPad to see what kind of things he can come up with. I want to encourage his creativity before it gets stifled. I don’t think he’ll have the patience for much else. He much prefers doing something, so having him listen to music and explain to him won’t be possible right now.

I’m sure this will be and interesting a project to me as it is to him.

50 things: Shawn Blanc

Robert wrote on [Gridwriter]( about Shawn Blanc’s post on five years of being a writer and I’d also like to share it.

[50 Things I’ve Learned about Publishing a Weblog](

I loved this:

> As your talent as a writer grows your own perception of your writing will likely stay the same.

I would say the same goes for musicians. I remember thinking I could quit happy once I had learned to play Black Water Side. And now that I can play it, my thoughts on my playing talent haven’t really changed.

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last week or so about writing. I used to write every day in my diary, for years and years. I’ve kept those diaries and they are now amongst my most treasured possessions. In fact, I wish I had never quit.

Since starting my first web journal on the now defunct Vox platform, I’ve written quite a bit, but without any real purpose. In fact, my very first website was meant to be nothing more than a means of sharing my wedding photos. This was back before Flickr and social media, when I was happy to have an ISDN line because I could combine the channels and get 128k!

Anyway, I’m going through a bit of a change right now where I’m thinking about creation, both in terms of writing and music. Part of that has come about after taking the decision to home-school our 5-year-old son; I’ve been thinking of things I could teach, the obvious things being technology and music.

So, watch this space!