Best Of ’09: workshop

Today’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge question/prompt is…

Q: Was there a conference or workshop you attended that was especially beneficial? Where was it? What did you learn?

A: Sadly, I haven’t been to any workshops or conferences all year.  It’s been 2 yrs since I played SXSW, and 5 yrs since I attended the best workshop ever…

5 years ago

banff cardIn 2004, I attended the Banff International Jazz and Creative Music Workshop at the gorgeous Banff Centre.  I’ve always wanted to go back to this workshop.  Every year I say “maybe next year.”

It happens every May, for 3 weeks, and I often tell people that I learned more about music in those 3 weeks than I did in all 3 years in (music) school.

I guess the stars were aligned that year – I had been out of school for a year, not playing as much as I wanted to, and most importantly…Bill Frisell was going to be there for one whole week!  I had to go. I had to meet my hero.

Last night I went through my notes from the workshop.  There’s still so much I can learn from those notes, not to mention the 16 mini-discs I recorded while I was there!

The real highlight for me was when I got to play, one-on-one, with Frisell.  It was the best musical experience of my life. We played for about an hour and a half, my original tunes and some standards.  And we talked.  He gave me advice that I needed at that time.  He said:

“don’t think that there’s anything you need to do before you can do your thing”

Basically – you’re ready.  There’s always so much to learn, but you’re always ready.

When I came back home from the workshop, armed with this advice and encouragement from my hero, I booked my first gig as a band-leader, playing my original music.

Every once in a while, maybe a couple times each year, I’ll have an email exchange with Frisell.  It keeps me motivated in a way unlike anything else – just being a blip on his radar.

I know that if I go back to this workshop, it will be a totally different experience.  But maybe next year.

3 Responses to Best Of ’09: workshop

  1. Pingback: 31 posts in 31 days to reflect on 2009 | Christine Bougie

  2. Michael McLean says:

    I was at your performance w Roxanne Potvin at Cafe Campus on April 14.
    I enjoyed your soulful playing , and the combination of styles you have woven together,
    Thanks for the experience

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