Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.


Jemaine Clement once rapped the following:

I’m freestyling
Just saying what comes into the top of my head
Like it’s just… rrr-random. Um… oooh! Ooh!

[Pointing to a picture of New York behind him]

There’s a picture of New York,
There’s a picture of New York,
There’s a big fat crazy picture of New York
I’m just free–
New York
fr-freestyling the– picture of New York.

Sometimes when I freestyle, I lose confidence.

I got to listen to the freestyles of Aristotle (not his real name) at a dinner party recently. He clearly had everyone captivated, and a partygoer’s mother, who visiting from Colombia, got into the act:

Me gusta
Te gusta
Le gusta
Nos gusta!

Everyone enjoyed that! More recently, I got into a different type of freestyling. During class, my teacher wanted me to explore the fretboard in the key of G, so he had me improvise. Improvisation is the musician’s version of freestyling, but easier because you don’t have to come up with words: just musical ideas. We had something of a jam session for a few minutes. He told me if I could figure out the key a group of chords are in, I’d have the remaining skill necessary to play lead guitar. I’ve been practicing that skill all week along with musical freestyling, and while those skills are not instinctive yet, it’s super fun! Maybe one day, I’ll share some of that freestyling with all of you. Unlike Jemaine, I’ll need some more confidence for that.


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