While playing "Jump Monk" with the SOLOS GO HERE! part I asked Kevin if there was something other than the F blues scale, blues licks, and arpeggios I could play over the bass lines. He said "yeah, you could play one of the minor scales in this part." "One of?" I said. "You mean there's more than one?"
Whoa boy there are a lot of scales. My world before yesterday consisted of two scales: major and minor. Okay, okay. Three. Major, minor, and blues. Then Kevin proceeded to take me through an "I know kung-fu!" Matrix-style moment with a crash course in the modes. Ionian, dorian, phrygian, lydian, mixolydian, aeolian (my favorite), locrian... and then you can layer them on top of all the different kinds of chords (which I only know a few of now - major, major 7, dominant, minor, minor 7, minor 7 flat 5, diminished, augmented...) There are more scales than this and now I want to learn them alllllll.
I'll leave the combinatorics as an exercise for the reader, and not every combination sounds good, but a lot of them sound awesome in a way I haven't heard before, and - better yet - some of them sounded awesome in a way I had.
After that first flash of "I have heard this before!" recognition, I went home and spent an hour (I would have spent more but I was about to pass out over the keyboard) on the first 10 bars of an impromptu that I learned 9 years ago trying to figure out what chords and keys and scales were going on. It was slow going, partly because I'm new to this and had to put a cheat sheet on the whiteboard so I could remember which scales were which, and partly because when I finally figured out what was going on in one bar I would get super-excited and bounce around and play that bar a dozen times or so while being really, really happy.
(There's been a lot of happiness like that in my life lately. There's been a lot of learning-things. The two are very much related.)
Classical music takes on a whole new depth when you can say "ooh! That's an augmented arpeggio under a mixolydian scale on the third of the root!" Laugh at my newbie syntax-mangling all you want; getting corrected is how I learn it properly. I'm new to this subset of language, and am still saying things like "sharp 1" instead of "flat 9" - mathematically isomorphic, but apparently not what musicians usually say.
I want to write down what I'm learning about music because there's so much of it and I need to teach this stuff to other people so I can internalize and remember it. I'm not sure how to do this yet.