"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
September 29, 2009

Writing Course Introductions

I’ve just started my last two courses en route to a BerkleeMusic Master Certificate in Guitar. These are Jazz 201 (the second Jazz course in the programme) and Funk/R&B soloing. You can check out some videos of the two instructors here, Serious funky cool from Thaddeus Hogarth Serious jazz from Bruce Saunders These courses always […]

I’ve just started my last two courses en route to a BerkleeMusic Master Certificate in Guitar. These are Jazz 201 (the second Jazz course in the programme) and Funk/R&B soloing. You can check out some videos of the two instructors here,


Serious funky cool from Thaddeus Hogarth


Serious jazz from Bruce Saunders

These courses always start with a meet and greet thread. It’s interesting to compare what gets written for each course and, in a way, to think about how we way recount our biography in different ways, depending on the context.

For the Jazz course, I wrote –

“My name is Fernando Gros and I live in Hong Kong. I’ve also got nearly 35 years of (sporadic) playing behind me. I started as a young child, played very seriously through my teens and into early twenties, then drifted for a long while and started playing seriously again about 4-5 years ago. My main influences are groove-oriented players like Grant Green, Kenny Burrell and John Scofield. I’m also into players who can paint with chords, like Bill Frisell and Marc Ribot. Lately, I’ve been getting into Russell Malone and Peter Bernstein, though I’m not sure you can hear that coming out in my playing. I’m also into world music and really dig the recent attempts to play jazz that is informed by world music (but not so much into the 70s fusion thing). No standout guitarists, but Pianist Omar Sosa and Horn player Rudresh Mahanthappa are examples. My two main guitars are an Ibanez JSM100 semi, and a J-Craft Fender Tele Thinline with a neck Filtertron, played through a Carr Mercury.”

For the Funk/R&B course, I wrote –

“My name is Fernando Gros and I live in Hong Kong, having previously lived in Delhi, London, Sydney and been born in Santiago. Why am I into Funk and R&B? Well, I blame Sesame Street – Funk and Soul were the background music of my childhood. Whatever I listen to, be it Jazz, Latin, World or Pop music, I always connect with stuff that is at the Funkier end of the groove spectrum. Most of the new music I listen to now is Jazz and World Music, though I do love to dig through obscure back catalog Funk and Soul. John Scofield is probably my favourite guitarist, though I really dig Grant Green and Kenny Burrell as well. I’m also fascinated by people who can combine World Music with Western in fresh ways, like Omar Sosa and Rudresh Mahanthappa in Jazz, Manu Dibangu and Khalid in Pop, or Gotan Project in Electronica. Away from music I’m a keen photographer, love to cook and over the years have collected far, far too many books.”

Naturally, each answer is slightly different, because the lectures set slightly different suggested questions for the exercise. Moreover, we all, or at least I, have a tendency to frame the answers to the situation at hand. But, if I’m honest, I’ve never really felt at ease with this proclivity, in myself, or in others. Maybe, that’s why I’ve never felt confident writing my own bios and why I struggle to hold back the cynicism when reading other people’s attempts at the same. It’s not a question of untruth, but more about partial truth, the incomplete image that suggests something else.

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