Sunday, September 19, 2010

Method of Writing - PLAY!

little monks playing in the afternoon

A friend on line asked me a question last evening regarding creating music - "what is your method of writing?" The quick answer is I have no method, but I do have a guitar and ears. In my early days in Guitar Craft, I was told by Robert that I was practicing too many exercises, too much technique. That part of my practice each day should among other aspects of music making, be to just - PLAY! Play without concern for technique, to see if I could harvest the fruits of my practice. This was terrifying to me at the time and for a long time after. To just PLAY!? I did not know how to play. Well the truth lies closer to I did not know how to play perfectly so I shied away from it.

From the beginning in Guitar Craft we are challenged to create our own music. What a learning process that was and continues to be for me. Since then I have been involved in a few musical projects: oDD CamP - a crafty guitar quartet, Solaris Guitar Trio, FingerPaint, Special Guest, and now my solo work. In all of these we created at least some of the music we performed. In FingerPaint and my solo work, it was all original music. So do I have a method? Well yes, it goes back to the instruction to PLAY.

The music that has come through me is the result of improvising  or playing. This may take the form of varying an exercise or a scale, play with a particular rhythm, or a chord. Maybe even with just one note and seeing where it  may lead. Many nights nothing of significance comes of this, with the great exception that this learning process informs the musical investigations to follow.

So the method is to improvise, even play, & listen. Be aware of what I am doing and when I hear the muse whispering to me through notes to follow faithfully. Knowing that something of value awaits me, and perhaps others, if I persist. I have many musical ideas recorded on tape and/or paper that have not been completed. At times I revisit these and see if I can now move them forward or perhaps they spark a different musical impulse.

What music are you creating?

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