have been playing the piano ever since I was six years old. However, I didn't really start playing seriously and enjoying it until until I found out about fakebooks. Faking allowed me to sit down and play a song right away instead of having to go though a tedious period of practicing, and it helped me develop improvisational skills and a feeling for what the different types of chords are actually used for. After a couple years, I had a repertoire of 400 or so songs (mostly standards and pop/rock), I could sight-read most songs I didn't know, and I was ready for any opportunities for public performance, should they turn up.
ut they didn't turn up too much, and I started losing interest in music that other people wrote. At the same time, my desire to make up my own stuff was growing, and I would spend hours sitting at the piano improvising, although I would try to stick to the "real songs" when other people were around.
hen I left Caltech, I left the piano, and now I have to bang on an electronic keyboard, which is much less satisfying. Nowadays, most of my music time is spent improvising, although I occasionally pull out the fakebooks (and sometimes even the real books) in an attempt to keep my reading skills from atrophying.
also starting to arrange and produce multi-instrumental music. My most recent full-length composition is:
most of my work in that area is being funneled into the Barnyard Dinosaur project. (Which is not dead, hopefully, but just sleeping.) Here are a couple tunes I've made for the Dino:
lso, I occasionally post unproduced but usually somewhat decent recordings of my daily improvisation binges. Think "sketches". You can find them in blawg. Look for the little note icon.