It's 5:30 am. My girlfriend and I have our lives stored and stacked in rubbermaids, boxes, and trash bags. We pick up the moving truck in three and a half hours, and I'm wide awake. There's no way on earth I'm sleeping! I'm too excited!
Not too long ago, we made the decision to move to a new city. It wasn't an easy decision. I really love the people of Austin. Potentially leaving the School of Feedback Guitar's location sounded rough. But, new adventures beckoned. When it's time, it's time.
Throughout the years, I had figured out how to make that office a cross between a music recording oasis, a film studio, and an awesome learning environment. I was thinking about how Austin changed since I got to that office in 2010, how traffic got just a little bit tougher to manage each year, how the building itself was in various states of disrepair, how the management was absentee about fixing things like AC, and how it was only a matter of time before the place got bulldozed. Every office has it's downsides, but this one had heart and soul.
It's the people I'll miss the most. I am going to miss seeing, in person, the look on a person's face as he/she learns the first song. I'll still get that over Skype, but in that room, there was something really special about that moment, all learning moments.
I did a lot of recording in that room. Sprightly Moans recorded and practiced there. I recorded a bunch of Double Headed Seagulls songs as well as three terribly difficult-to-record pop songs by the band The Shikes. That's the great thing about acoustically treating a room with Auralex foam: It sounds great. I'm going to miss that, too.
The room doubled as a humble film and photography studio. I am super embarrassed by my first ever video that I posted on YouTube, but what the hell, everyone has to learn. I loved installing the lights in that room, learning about how to make good videos, how to speak to a camera and not be intimidated by it.
When my grandmother died, I was given her old piano, an Acrosonic spinet piano. One of my big goals was to learn how to play pop songs on the fly. I also wanted to get wrapped up in the process of learning jazz piano. I feel like in two and a half years of seriously studying it, I got there. I love that piano, but today, it got moved to storage. It was such a sad feeling.
Teaching guitar is not about helping people play an instrument. When I finally realized what teaching guitar was really about, I felt like I had reached the zenith in that space. I know that guitar is just an excuse for two human beings to extend their hearts to each other, to connect in a healthy way. The last song that I played with a student in that room was Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd. The student is a programmer. We both joked about being rational and pragmatic men, but we both couldn't help feeling verklempt. It was a sad moment, a few small tears welling in the corners of our eyes.
We'll miss Austin, too. What my girlfriend and I have loved about Austin is that it is a place where you can basically walk down just about any street and make a new connection with a person you've never met before simply by extending a smile and giving a "hello! How are you?" It's a good place like that. I remember walking down Justin Lane in north Austin and being stunned by how friendly the people were. Ditto with just about any restaurant, even the ones where people are severely underpaid.
Thank you Austin, and thank you to all of the great people in it. Thank you, students, friends, and musicians, who made that space a beautiful one. I am intensely grateful for meeting each and every single one of you.