For the past two years, I’ve been teaching out of a one-bedroom apartment in a building with paper-thin walls. During that time, my business grew from a handful of students to about thirty-five. While my neighbors have generally been gracious with their noisy neighbor, I’ve decided that it’s time to move and give them some peace and quiet.
So starting next month, I’ll be living—and teaching lessons—in a beautiful old house I’m renting in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood. This move is not only a great improvement for my business, but fulfills a dream I’ve had since I was a kid.
The house is a great setting for teaching. It’s got views of the Olympic mountains, hardwood floors, a fireplace, and a big backyard that might be fun to teach in during the summer. Just as important, I won’t have to worry about disrupting my neighbors when I’m working on my own music. I started recording songs for an album a year ago, but had to put things on hold after recording “Hail! Thunder! Lightning! when I realized my repetitious singing (sometimes I need to practice one line over and over again) was probably driving my neighbors to the nuthouse. Now I’ll have a room dedicated to recording, with a nice tube mic on a stand, a variety of amps, moving blankets ready to be hung on hooks to deaden echoes, and a remote monitor and keyboard connected to the computer-based recording setup in my office.
The only other time I’ve felt so strongly about a place of my own was when I was a kid playing one of the very first multi-player internet games. It was a role-playing game called Scepter, and was similar to the text-based games made by Infocom (Zork, etc.) where you explore and interact with a vast world by typing simple commands (north, up, look, kick fire-breathing hamster, etc.). My favorite aspect of the game was that when you got rich enough, you could buy a house. The house was simply a few lines of setting description that you could compose and would be displayed to everyone who wandered into your corner of the cyber-grid of the game. I spent a good part of my 8th grade summer vacation slaying ghouls and selling vorpal blades to earn enough gold to buy my own place, and when I finally signed the “title,” I sweated over the description until I finally settled on something like this:
You step into a spacious, peaceful, well-lit home. A warm breeze wafts through an open window. On the wall are a mandolin, an acoustic guitar, and several other musical instruments. This looks like a great place to kick back and have a cold one.
I’m twenty years older now, but I still dream of having that peaceful place to welcome my friends and make music. I can’t wait for all the boxing and sorting and cleaning is over, and I’m in my new home, my guitars on the walls, the window open to the warm breeze, and that cold beer–as good as I imagined it years ago–resting in my hand.