Today, I found a typo in Oscar Beringer's "Daily Technical Studies for Piano." I cannot express how much joy this brought me. This book is a nonstop onslaught of eighth notes, very regularly patterned, and although it clocks in at 151 pages, it is approximately 1/12th shorter than it should be -- each study is meant to be transposed into all 12 keys.
The ritual of practicing out of this book was handed down to me by my teacher, Geri Allen, and I seem to remember her telling me that Herbie Hancock had shown her this book (I can't remember that point definitely -- did any other former students of Geri ever hear this?) In any case, every student of Geri's practiced diligently out of this book. I have practiced out of it, on and off, for 12 years, and recently I've picked it back up again. (Here's a link to the book, if anyone's interested).
That's why finding this typo is so satisfying. For starters, this book is dense, and its sheer density makes it satisfying. But secondly, I'm imagining finding this typo and bringing it into Prof. Allen's studio for a lesson. She was stern, but I know that she would have delighted in this, and it might well have opened an enlightening conversational door. She was like that -- a diffuse thinker, with a strong aptitude for lateral moves.
Lately, my musicianship, creative practice, and career have been changing in circuitous and unexpected ways. This is healthy, and I'm simultaneously nervous and pleased to see how things have changed for me over the last few years. But I have to say, moving forward without having the ability to chat with Prof. Allen has been challenging. Over the last few years of her life, we didn't talk much -- maybe once a year -- but every time we talked, I felt like I had gained some clarity, some mandate, some mission. As I get older, the clarity, mandate, and mission is starting to come from within. It's good, but not having much external feedback can sometimes make you wonder if your internal compass is guiding you in the right direction.
I think mine is. But I won't know for some time yet.