Friday, September 5, 2014

Disconnect From Desire

Last night was the works-in-progress showing with The Field/DC.  Having this opportunity to perform meant a lot to me and even though I understand that it is about works-in-progress,  it still carries the weight of a performance.  In a black box setting no less.

 My performance began poorly.  This permeated the set, keeping the music tethered.  Why?  Certainly the inspiration from the muse is in the notes and several members of the audience heard this. I could offer reasons and have to myself in my journal.  I've also seen how I can be more effective in the next opportunity.  No matter how I practice getting ready for performance, there is no other situation I can manufacture that provides that additional edge to be navigated.  As the aphorism states - we begin again constantly, so I will, always do. 

A bit of a funk was about me this morning as I rose.  I did practice my morning routine, but it was clouded by this negative impression from last night.   I knew it would pass, everything does.  Rather than work with music, I did some practical work and then went to an afternoon showing of A Most Wanted Man with my wife, followed by a late lunch.  Arriving home I picked up the guitar and played the opening phrase from last night beautifully.  Ahhh, a bit of teeth grinding.  Can I live with the uncertainty of live performance?   Sensing it was not yet time to practice as I was tired and the mood could tip back, I read and had a short nap.

Upon awakening, I picked up the guitar again.  I re-familiarized myself with a piece that I've not played in a while and decided I could keep this one in my pocket for a longer performance this coming Tuesday night.  I then allowed my fingers to find an arpeggio and played this in five.  Another one appeared and then another.  The whisper of the muse, urging me to follow, to connect.  I worked with this a bit, and then a break to eat.   Returning to the spark, more notes arrived.  Happy with the guitar now, knowing why I devote myself to this each day.  A darker twist in the music arrived and I'm smiling.

Since I was not certain where to go next with this idea, I notate what is there.  I title it Study in Five. Then returning to the guitar, the darker phase lengthens a bit.  Stuck again, I consult the web version of Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies.  The oracle offers - Disconnect From Desire.  As I ponder how this relates to the evenings work, I sense a larger offering is being made.  What desires did I hold regarding last night?  About performing music in general?  My head, my heart, and my hands are fallible, yet still the muse invites me back.  If tonight's idea is only a way to soften my heart and to kindle my head with a musical challenge,  my hands were ready to create the sounds.

After pondering the strategy, I returned to the guitar.  Playing what I had so far, I listened for what was next.  More notes arrived, leading up to a possible ending.  My spirit is ready for a new beginning.

Photo by Tankawho


  1. Oh, I've not performed for so long! I play the piano and have messed up so many times in performance or I usually want to be expressive in the music, my heart, and mind but nerves get the worst end of me. Only I'd go back out and perform in a NY minute because it gets in your blood. I taught piano for several years and the Pep talk I gave my students was to consider Olympic Athletes, for example figure skating. Does it destroy the performance if they fall or slip? Not really. Sometimes Olympic medals are won w a less than ideal performance. Um, now your post makes me want to get out there and play for something, despite my royal mess up the last time.

  2. Thanks for commenting KJ. Now get out there and get a gig! Please.