I am going to really be hunkering down in practice for the last six weeks of our
Montreal residency. And I'm heading off to a late evening jam session too to see if I might sit in for a tune. At this midterm point, we've talked about curtailing other plans to stay focused on our artistic and spiritual goals. So, as fun as that might have been, we're going to stay grounded in Montreal until we leave at the end of August. (It is also clear that for Lucie's sake, we keep things as calm and constant as possible.) So for the next six weeks of this time my goals include:

+ Practicing major and minor 7th arpeggios in all 12 keys using the circle of 5ths.

+ Singing the notes I am playing so that they become embedded in my brain and my muscle memory.

+ Working through various tunes in The Real Book so that I know which standards grab me. I also want to learn a few tunes way outside of my comfort zone, too.

Today's Psalm (61) puts our decision not to do more travel in the second half of the sabbatical into perspective. Rather, we're called to increase our focus. Having never experienced a sabbatical before, I didn't know how to make plans. Now that we're deep into it, it is clear that for a time other things must wait. The psalmist opens like this: Hear my cry, O God: listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.


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