Reggie Workman — photo Richard Kohler
Reggie Workman — photo by Richard Kohler

After a long time juggling careers as a music journalist and a guitarist, I recently added another. I’m pursuing a Georgia state certificate in music education, with the aim of teaching K-5 music in the public schools. Music Ed students, as I’ve found out, have to contend with a huge flow of information while building our knowledge and skills. But for many of us there’s often one big issue that somehow looms over and defines all the rest. One theoretical insight, perhaps, or one problem or obstacle, one psychological hangup that we have to work hard to transcend. …

When I was around six or seven years old, my grandmother told me that Arabs were monsters. I remember taking it rather literally: in my mind I imagined monsters, out there mingling among Jews, far away in the land of Israel.

My grandmother was a New Deal Democrat, dyed in the wool, very active in the liberal-leaning Reform movement, no rightwing extremist. It was the mid-’70s and this sort of overt anti-Arab racism, I hate to say, was mainstream. When I grew up, thinking back on what she said to me as a young child, I was appalled. As a…

Nothing you can make that can’t be made
No one you can save that can’t be saved
Nothing you can do, but you can learn how to be you in time
It’s easy
— Lennon & McCartney


I don’t write music. Other than a few things I composed in music school because I had to, I have no original music to my name and never had the interest. My discipline on the guitar has always been learning songs. There are already so many great ones, worthy of close study — who needs mine?

The term “cover songs” has a negative…

The author, ca. 1987

1. In this photo I’m in my late teens, playing at Gary’s Barley Corn on North Avenue in New Rochelle, NY. Gary’s was not even a performance venue, it was just a bar, long gone, where underage drinkers — and apparently underage bands — imbibed and frolicked freely in the ’80s (and then drove home, which is no laughing matter). The rig I’m playing through is completely ridiculous: a Gallien-Krueger head through a massive 4x12 cabinet, with a totally unnecessary rack of effects (delay, unwieldy digital reverb, zillion-band EQ) in a bulky road case. I actually carted all this stuff…

David R. Adler

Writer, guitarist and music educator based in Athens, GA.

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