who needs 'em. one of my favorite lines delivered so wonderfully by the gruff lou grant on the mary tyler moore show was while unexpectedly babysitting for phyllis' daughter: "do anything you want, kid. just don't play with matches." i keep coming back to that "it's all good" attitude while practicing, listening, learning, discussing, teaching, reading. it's all so deep and complex and it is so simple in the end. make it sound good to yourself. have fun with others. other people may want in on it, and that's good, too, but it's beside the point. but before we pick up our instruments, pens, paint brushes to "do whatever we want," we need to spend some time learning the language. learn the rules of the game before talking all that trash. quick exercise of the week: choose an open string, choose a mode, and play the mode all up and down that one string, going back to the open string between fingered notes. or find an open string that works as an adjacent string drone to the string that you play the mode on. see what that does for your playful mood. then do whatever you want.