Musical Winter Journey


It’s been quite a fun time since my last post. I went off to the other side of the world (via Hong Kong and Kyoto, Japan) to sort of clear my mind and eat interesting new foods (heh). I did a lot of musical re-organizing and cleaning out of lots of stuff at home. I’ve made time and met and played with some really talented people. I jam with a bunch of really great people and I keep myself open to playing as opportunities arise. I have a growing list of musicians I can tap into at any time. For now, jamming is a good way to keep the musical chops going. My own musical works continue to remain ‘in progress’ and not much happening there. I think it’s me just not wanting to push or force the creative process as hard as I thought I wanted to.

I do have a notebook FULL of music and a hard drive just as loaded with demos, clips, riffs, hummed ideas, subway tapping on the walls and benches, words on loose bits of paper… all of that. I think that these little bits and pieces are my new habitual creative process. The most important part of the process, I think, is that there needs to be time set aside for pulling all of the bits and pieces out of the various formats and collecting devices (phones, laptops, paper) and then to try and assemble the ideas that fit or work together. Sometimes the original idea does not itself become a song or piece of music but it may lead you down unexplored musical paths.

Sometimes in the morning I will hear a small melody in my mind and I stop everything I am doing so I can focus on the idea, find a guitar, hit record and record it  before I walk out the door. Sometimes I’ll hear a second part as I walk to the train and I will hum that into my phone. By the time I get to work, I may find that I have bridge and ending and I’ll make sure I stop walking and hum or sing or tap that out into the phone as well. They key to that process is to have a deliberate focus on the tiny idea and hang on to it just long enough to capture it or play it out on your instrument and make it real.

You need to make time for recording in those moments when the idea is there and waiting for you to act on it and you need to take time out for listening. It’s not about saying ‘hey, listen more’. This is about stopping everything and focusing on both capturing the idea and then focus on the process of listening so you can hear back and build on it. I promise you, you won’t remember or get back to a musical idea. If you don’t stop and dedicate time to first record/capture it and then work on it, it will fade away like whispers in the wind… 🙂