Wednesday, 18 January 2012

humility and patience and calmness in good order

The red light fever incident at the recording studio made me realize that this success can't be assumed: it's an old lesson that quite naturally gets repeated because the solution is not applied enough. My own expectations are for someone that can practise all day and I see more clearly that I have to minimize the practise material in order to get this minimal material right enough that it can be played without too much tension in the body and mind. Related to that I saw something of a summarization of a book today (in words to that effect): Get mind #1 out of the way so mind #2 can do it's job. Conscious and Subconscious mind in effect. Ego vs spirit what a conundrum !! The very thing that has got you here (thus far) can be ignored?—not without a diminished consequence. I prefer an involvement with music making that will cry, (make one cry) dance with joy, and even sing and above all groove !!. Ok singing while recording gets you a cover over the microphone area on the piano during a recording but it can be liberating.

Time is so precious. The trick is to, when you're young, realize this and try to get a macro view of one's life's—if that's possible at all but one can only try. That's 20—20 hindsight at work there. Of course I should have more time now but really one half my music work is still going to happen in the evening between 6—12 (during the day there are chores and then there's those required naps). No hockey games, TV, etc. So it's so nice to have this problem. It's an absolute luxury. So many projects so little time, but it's the journey that is the thing and the challenge. Victories are nice and I see that in musicians everywhere I go. It's encouraging.

Reading (and writing) has taken on a new urgency too. It takes energy and commitment but I feel I can take my time reading books (Lately Chris Hedges has captured my attention — another "read thoroughly" and play in all 12 keys {metaphore} kind of book and much more). There are so many interesting thoughts on so many musical aspects, and so much music—really good music that one has to make choices and think out what direction one wants to go: be a generalist? Jazzist? Classist? I think at my heart I see benefit in all of it, especially as a listener.
Music is after all originally designed for people, for the benefit of people even though it has become at times very common sounding or used as a placebo or soother in shopping malls etc., providing or imposing a kind of "normalcy" drama behind customers and staff. Music at it's heart is special and has a deep potential to move and challenge hearers.

Musicians trying and succeeding to make a living at music: a daunting undertaking. Really one has to be smart and intensively devoted to succeed in any profession. It takes commitment and sacrifice: a pathway which might often be exclusive and minimalist in it's requirements. Inspiration is key. It is likely found within the mind with determination, patience and ceaseless effort. Calmness is a key. These to my mind, are the things that give me the grounding that I need. Without it I am not grounded and that's when indecision can begin which can result in harmful or unheedful actions which can more than just confound one's way. Note to self: Grounding is a good choice.

I'm going to practise, do a little Solfege in the car, edit my book, start editing and writing on topics for Book 2: This week. Hear's hoping!


  1. Hi Charlie.
    I was just having a similar conversation with C.M. yesterday. I was wondering why I was feeling so drained when playing for somebody, and realized there was part of me that wanted to do things 'correctly'. It is hard playing when comparing oneself to a predetermined ideal. So as I was feeling tired, I just played what that felt like, and didn't worry about it. It felt awkward at first, but I found there was an energy to it. Sort of a vulnerability too, in that there was something unexpected in it.
    I realized afterwards there was a thought pattern that was holding me back. A kind of self-doubt - that what I had to offer wasn't good enough. I tried thinking the opposite - that whatever I needed was in me already. It's kind of like a pool of energy recharging inside of us if we let it. It then seems like creativity and exploration is a natural state of being.

  2. A good way to go and useful for everyone. Thanks for sharing. I like your last sentence especially !!