I grew up near Seattle. In 2001, I moved to Southern California to attend college, and I've been down here ever since. I've lived in Claremont, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and currently San Diego. I've had a yearning to move back to the Northwest for a long time, but various endeavors (work, music, school) have kept me in the sunshine. I found out last week, thanks to my awesome wife, that we'll be moving to Seattle in May.
We knew when I started music school that I'd finish at the same time she'd finish medical school. But the problem with finishing med school is that you don't know where you're headed next until right before you graduate. So our fate was to be revealed on March 17, and we could have been assigned to Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver, Chicago, or Boston. Up to that day, we were in limbo, waiting to make any long term plans. The results came in for Seattle, and we were thrilled. We've been dancing and celebrating every day. Said awesome wife also grew up near Seattle. We even attended the same high school. So both of us will have plenty of family and old friends around.
My first professional goal after arriving in Seattle will be to set up a teaching business. I've been teaching a few students here and there since I've been in San Diego, but I couldn't pursue it full time on top of school. For the near future, I see private lessons as my primary musical income source. I recently finished Making Money Teaching Music, a great guide to thriving in the music teaching business, and I've been mindful of the example set by Rob at Heartwood Guitar. Rob maintains a top-notch teaching website, and he's based in Seattle too.
To this end, I've had plans for a while to unveil another website/blog of my own making. Rather than documenting my own development, as I do here at From the Woodshed, the new site will focus on practical advice for guitarists, and it will be the main hub for my teaching business. More on that later.
Seattle's Music Scene
It's peculiar that I never paid attention to Seattle's music scene while I lived nearby. Granted, I was just a kid, and I'd only been a musician myself for a couple years, but the city has consistently fostered a vibrant musical community for many decades. I can't wait to plug myself into the scene, discover all the local talent, and add my own noise to the mix.
In addition to attending all the shows I can afford to, I'd love to play out myself as much as possible, but I have no expectations to become a gigging machine. Gigs can be hard to find when you don't know anyone. I'll probably start by playing at jams and surfing craigslist for people to meet. I'll also see about jamming with a few Seattle musicians I happened to meet down here, namely Jason Parker of One Working Musician, and Cameron Peace, who taught at the National Guitar Workshop last year.
Giant Networking Spreadsheet
I live for giant spreadsheets. (Check out my jazz repertoire list.) I started one a few years ago for Seattle musicians, assuming I'd eventually move there. When it became clear that it was far from a sure thing, I forgot about it. But now that it is a sure thing, that spreadsheet will be indispensable. I have 132 names and counting. I keep track of name, instrument(s), and little notes on where I heard of them or how they're involved in the music scene.
I started adding names from a little Internet research, initially focusing on jazz. The Seattle Jazz Scene, operated by drummer Matt Jorgensen, has been updated daily with concert schedules, interviews, and reviews since 2007. A cursory glance over the site gave me dozens of names for my list. I'll be spending a lot of time on this site. Another easy name-binge came from the Seattle Jazz Guitar Collective and the Seattle Jazz Guitar Society. (I will learn the difference at some point.)
Ever the flag-waiver, Jason Parker (mentioned above) has been running a podcast for several months with trombonist David Marriott, Jr. called Jazz Now Seattle. Each weekly episode features a track from about five locally-grown jazz albums. I confess that until today, while I've been checking out the album recommendations, I hadn't listened to any of the full podcasts. I'm listening to the first two right now, taking notes on every player involved for exponential spreadsheet expansion.
Look Me Up
If you're in Seattle yourself or you have friends in the area, leave a comment; I'd love to meet up.