The guitar and the blackbird

It was just an average guitar practice. Songs being plucked from the memory cells so strings could be plucked. Entirely average.

Until the blackbird started singing.

I love the song of the blackbird. The most beautiful of all bird songs to my ears. As soon as I heard him singing in the fading light I stopped playing to listen. You don't play over a true virtuoso.

After a few moments, almost involuntarily, my fingers started seeking, seeking, seeking, trying to hit on what key the blackbird was singing in. Not that blackbirds know or care about such things, of course, but after years of pub sessions and listening to music "What key are they in so I can play along?" is sheer instinct.

He's in C, singing in the key of C, or close enough as to make no difference (a great deal of nature is in the key of C, later research tells me). With more than one ear on the feathered soloist, the chords quickly come to hand.

Start at root C, throw in a F sus. Up to G, back to F. Add in a Bb for interest. Delicately. Quietly. Leave him lots of space to carry the tune. Accompany, not overwhelm. Follow his rhythm, so he's singing in the breaks of decaying chords.

It was glorious. Magical. An utter privilege. Reaching out to nature just a few feet outside the window and doing it through music. Touching it and letting it touch me. Being a part of it.

Could he hear that I was playing along, I wonder?

The light faded further as fingerpicked chords rang out until eventually the soloist took his final bow and took to the wing. The adulation of his solo audience-accompanist was absolute. Truly one of the best musical experiences I have ever enjoyed.


Pick up the flute. Gently, slowly, almost reverently. Cradle it for a moment. Reflect on what may be about to come.

What you think you may be about to hear may not be what you are about to play.

Put the flute to your lips. This is where it gets important.

Don't blow, just breathe. Don't force it, simply exhale. Breathe.

Exhale your thoughts. Breathe out your emotions. Breathe the very moment. Let the resonance of the sound envelop you. Swirling, echoing sounds. Let go and let the notes move your fingers. Let the music come. Don't force it. Don't blow.

Just breathe. Simply breathe.