100 Day Entry Challenge – Jan to April 2015

Please post your entries in your WordPress account first then post your daily entry links under this section everyday for the rest of the course. Remember this is to be done everyday for 100 days in a row. If you miss a day for any reason you will be out of the challenge. No posting ahead of time and no posting extra to catch up for missed days. Each week will be a new theme given out in class for the students to experiment by. Please label all entries with time, date, week, and topic that the students are using in the workbook.


62 thoughts on “100 Day Entry Challenge – Jan to April 2015

    • Glad it all went well! And yes you are right it tkes hundreds of gigs to get to a place if letting go and not caring and just being who you are in that moment. You will get there, sooner then you think. Lets take soon about pop up gigs


  1. Daily Meds #25

    Creative Word: Augmentation

    At first, this word brought to mind such literal concepts as augmented chords and even lead to some thinking about biomechanical human augmentation and how cool cyborgs will inevitably be, but after a little while of exposure to this word, I was able to focus and seek a deeper interpretation. Oddly enough, my cyborg tangent turned me onto a fairly interesting way of applying this word. One would likely first consider augmentations to a musical approach to include such changes as more active discipline and greater sacrifice in order to attain a higher level of success, but I consider an “augmentation” to be something that not only positively alters something else, but also to be something that opens it up to new realms of possibility. For me, an augmentation to one’s musical approach is something somewhat radical that partially breaks and reforms old habits in favour of expansion onto greater planes of potential.

    Creative Experiment: Gambling

    This is a great idea and one that I very much intend to try. After tonight’s class, depending on how motivated I’m feeling to do the responsible thing and bus home to get as much homework done as possible before tomorrow morning’s shift, I plan on giving this a shot with Jared and potentially Ian if he should be in attendance. We could apply this idea to a number of problems of varying magnitudes as well, likely starting with a relatively superficial, song-oriented one and moving on to larger ones that encompass our entirety as a band.

    Daily Dose: Standards

    This is something very important for every musician to think about. Though at least some self-deprecation may be symptomatic of our individual mindsets, many take it very much for granted how unconditionally our creative spirit can pick us back up and allow us to strive to be better once more. As creators, if we have attained any level of personal satisfaction from our work whatsoever, no matter how minuscule, we are at the very least subconsciously aware of the unconditional nature of our creativity. Though it may be difficult for some to make this connection on their own (myself included before reading this) we should try with everything we have to be as forgiving and above all grateful toward the creativity of others as possible. I am reminded of a brief but meaningful video from Andrew W.K.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kz43fa1qfTM

    Daily Action: Unconditional Love

    Today should prove to be a good one to try and work this action into my life actually as it is not only my first day back at school amongst the highly varied group of creative people whom I learn alongside, but tonight also happens to be the mixing class. A major part of one’s job while mixing is to remove all judgements as per the artistic merit or quality of what is being mixed so as to allow it to become best that it can possibly be. If one starts to make decisions based solely on personal taste, though it may offer an interesting new perspective on the artist’s creation that they may enjoy, one is fundamentally altering the nature of the job and arbitrarily putting oneself in a position of overbearing responsibility and authority. This act should prove especially interesting today because many of the examples that we tend to mix in class are highly realistic for us to be working with in that they are often recorded under audibly-questionable circumstances and are full of ill-advised musical choices, making the reservation of judgement an especially fascinating and challenging practice.



  2. Creative Word: Augmentation

    The only meaningful way I think of augmentation is mental augmentation. Widening and augmenting your reality as you embrace new truths or new challenges to truths. I feel my mind change when I read books, not by the new world I am in but because I am engaged on a different level, ideas of (I think) a similar calibre of the writing begin to come to me. In the same way, if I play overly simple video games or watch too many stupid things on television/YouTube I notice that it starts guiding my mind down those kinds of channels and I am less happy with the kind of thinking I am doing.

    This is an important thing for me to be aware of as I conduct my daily life, I know that I need entertainment of some kind in my life, but it is up to me to choose the entertainment that will expand my mind and shift my perspective.

    Creative Experiment: Gambling

    I could not do this today, but I hope to meet with a friend to iron out some ideas with how to approach making this brass idea I have actually come to life.

    Daily Dose: Standards

    I read something from John Zorn that I hold onto and try to practice daily which comes from his definition of being an artist (I can’t find the source for this), it goes something like this: an artist is a person who can find the beauty in things that are ugly. This goes to a few places, it goes further than me trying to find kinds of country music that I enjoy – it goes to finding moments and ideas to enjoy in country music that I don’t like. He also states this inversely: it is stupid/useless to find ugliness in beauty. This is important for people (including me) who strive to remain an outcast in the mainstream world, when in reality there are some beautiful things involved. I can admit to myself that the hook of some popular songs actually carry quite a fascinating musical phenomena along with it even if the lyrics are useless and the quality of voice isn’t great. I don’t really enjoy Wake Me Up by Avicii (or whoever it’s actually by), but I got myself to enjoy the main guitar line from it by telling myself I would give it a chance.

    Another quote from him worth including – “Great musicians accept everything that they hear and find something good. They take what they like and they throw away what they don’t like.” – John Zorn

    I hope to find the original and update it here.

    Daily Action: Unconditional Love

    I find it hard to reconcile being critical of audio as well as being loving towards it. I have been learning about compression for the last few days and attempting to apply my knowledge to the audio of a drummer playing what I would consider a generic and bad song. The drummer has good technique, but I felt the recording process and the instruments that went with the song not pleasant to listen to.

    I just saw Adam’s post which included the Andrew W.K. video and I have to say that that is how I feel about things overall. This is something that I practice but feel I have to turn it off in some cases when it comes to learning something new.



  3. Daily Meds #26

    Creative Word: Constancy

    Today at work, the word “constancy” was fit into my daily doings in a way that was at first rather expected. While preparing food in the highly regimented and by-the-book fashion that is expected of me, I was thinking about the level of constancy with which I am paid to make things. While overanalyzing this concept, I realized that absolutely nothing is truly constant on a second-to-second basis. At the very least, every possible physical entity on Earth constantly moves through space as a whole due to our planet’s orbiting of the sun. It was at this point that a coworker who is aware of my participation in these Daily Meds inquired about today’s word. This lead to a very interesting discussion about the nature of constancy versus consistency. After some deliberation, we determined that the biggest difference we could discern came down to the force exerted by what is being described. Consistency, we figured, seems to imply the requirement of effort to maintain itself whereas constancy feels like more a static trait of something, which is arguably more impressive because this quality would, by these terms, be inherent to a thing’s being.

    Creative Experiment: Acting Goofy

    This should be the easiest thing in the world for me. It is honestly a constant struggle to not be goofy in nearly every possible situation that I encounter in regular life and as literally every female that has ever had the displeasure of dating me would confirm, the supposed seriousness or importance of a moment only makes this compulsion all the more irresistible. The other night in fact, after contributing some percussion to a cool, somewhat electronic, ambient groove-type-thing with Jared and Ian, the Jar-Head decided that it needed some vocals to play with and apply some experimental effects to. This turned into a nearly ten minute take of me riffing on and rapping about our friend (who happened to be present) and his questionably romantic relationship with his friend and employer who happens to have a name the rhymes nicely with a lot of words that fit work far too well in the context of a dramatic love song.

    Daily Dose: I Approve

    This appreciation takes many forms from consumers of music, be it applause, the purchasing of music or merch, a pat on the shoulder and a “killer set, bro!” in passing, or even in the form of all-out gushing (the awkward old “you’re…AMAZE-ing, bro”). However wonderful this type of praise is, what really nourishes a musician is the acclaim of their peers. There are few feelings greater than descending off stage after a set into a corridor of crossed, tattooed arms and shaggy heads bobbing slowly in approval and not being able to say get your “thanks man”s out fast enough to keep up with the compliments. This was always the fundamental difference in environment that I noticed at my shows compared to my brother’s hockey games. The competitive sports atmosphere was one steeped in begrudging bitterness and lustful cravings of superiority with everyone secretly wishing to be the undisputed “best.” Though musicians are certainly not immune to such pettiness, the music scene always at least felt like one of support and mutual celebration of creativity and individuality.

    Daily Action: Show Appreciation

    Though I do consciously try to be grateful for all those around me as part of a general practice of attempted happiness, it will be nice to do it with some direction today and to have it set specifically in the realm of music. Music is just such a beautiful gift that everyone can share and the people who bring that collaborative joy into the lives of others deserve to be celebrated and dearly thanked for their action in perpetuating such a cycle of positivity.



  4. Creative Word: Constancy

    I was thinking of constancy in a couple of senses.

    One sense is constancy of a work, I considered the endurance of Frankenstein over nearly two centuries. This is a powerful longevity, but Frankenstein today is not the same Frankenstein as Mary Shelley wrote. There is a new Frankenstein movie where I think Aaron Eckhart ends up fighting the devil or demons and facing some very human challenges, as is common for this era of film making and storytelling. Even though the name Frankenstein has endured for this sake, it is not the same for people, and I wanted to consider why that is for me. The themes in the book are so much more complicated than a person who hasn’t read the book might guess about it. I think a lot of people assume a lot when it comes to this story.

    The name Frankenstein instills a little bit of fear or a grotesque feeling in me just from hearing it. The title is only the name of the scientist and I imagine this name to sound a lot plainer to the first people who read this book, unaware of the two hundred years of history that I am. I am trying to detach what I know about Frankenstein from the book. I break through the history of it and see glimpses of a simple book that I may have ignored without being encouraged to read it.

    Endurance is different from constancy, and this is important to me lately. I talked before about how time continuously transforms a moment in the past, and I think time has had it’s way with Frankenstein. People have taken this idea in directions that might horrify Mary Shelley. Ultimately we have no control of our work and ought to think of it less as our work and release it with the intention for it to be handled and passed around and remade to suit that person and time.

    The other way I was thinking of constancy was constancy of character.

    I had a really nice talk with someone that I hadn’t really talked with before. Turns out he’s actually a really interesting, intelligent person. Anyway, we talked about people’s character and who we believe that we are and our choice to be happy despite particular influences we had been facing recently from other people and situations. This turned out to be an enlightening conversation as I realized more of the importance of having a consistent character. I realize that being with people like this person help to bring out a consistently positive outlook on things, while when I am alone I allow myself to be more negative.

    Creative Experiment: Acting Goofy

    I am working on an improvised piece based around an Irish song called Sheath and Knife, my ideas for making it goofy are:

    I am going to get a pianist to follow the contour of the line as a child might – playing a bunch of the adjacent keys together and making nice crunchy clusters

    Using an out of tune accordion or a banjo

    Out of tune instruments in general

    Get a couple people bowing cymbals for atmospheric kind of sound

    Out of character singing. Intense operatic stuff for this simple folk melody

    Daily Dose: I approve

    I have been giving criticism lately instead of being lazy and saying ‘good job’ at the end of a set. I have noticed that in response I have been seeing more constructive criticisms come from fellow musicians who see me play. I prefer this form of helping to build each other up instead of passively complimenting each other. This has helped me to be in a healthy critical mindset for my own performances and treat each problem I find as something that I can fix instead of being fixated on whether that made my performance suck.

    I have personally heard enough approval and half the time I have trouble really believing what they’re saying unless it comes with a little bit of criticism. I think this approach has made for healthier relationships with other musicians and a healthier relationship with myself.

    Daily Action: Show appreciation

    I showed appreciation to my new musician friend Evan by telling him some traits that I admired in him. The thing we were talking about showed me that he was more at peace with certain kinds of conflict that I could not deal with as well. I also showed him appreciation for asking me to get some coffee with him.


  5. Daily Meds # 27

    Creative Words: Keeping Still

    Today should be a very good day for this as I am scheduled for another riveting 8-hour ticket-ripping shift for which I will have to leave pretty much right now. Though it is my job and general purpose today to simply stand, truly doing so is often easier said than done. There is a temptation to pace back and forth behind the podium or to periodically wander restlessly over to the condiment stand that is obviously already clean and stocked, just as one absent-mindedly does with the fridge late at night. Keeping still physically in this situation proves to require a fair amount more effort than one would assume and keeping a stillness of the mind is no different, if anything usually proving to be more difficult. When working a podium shift, I often think back to a study I read about which found that modern people left alone and unstimulated would rather push a button that electrically shocks them than simply sit in silence. This is an alarming indictment of our current cultural state of ceaseless distraction and consumption and one that I personally enjoy trying to defy so today, with these daily words in particular, I am provided with quite an ample opportunity to do so.

    Creative Experiment: Working in the Dark

    This is something I will do as soon as I arrive at the jam hall after work. I was already planning on picking up where Jared and I left off last night with somewhat of a free-form electronic piece and “lamping it,” as we have come to call it, would be a great little way to move things along. After reading another random study that said the human mind works in a more creative, relaxed way in dim lighting conditions, we started occasionally lighting the room only with a crappy lamp in the back corner and with the heavy fluorescent lights turned off. Though this may be a placebo in our case, this actually contributes to a very calm and serene atmosphere to create in

    Daily Dose: Divine Influence

    This is a wonderful way to view our creativity. Perceiving it as a gift from beyond as opposed to a human imposition of infliction on the world is an excellent way to not only boost one’s confidence but to stop overthinking and contriving what one is producing and simply let it flow. This reminds me of something Nikola Tesla once said: “My brain is only a receiver, in the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.”

    Daily Action: Recalling a Creative spirit
    This is an act of simplicity but also one of subtle power. It is far too easy to get caught up in forcing the direction of one’s creativity or bending it to satisfy an arbitrary urge or goal. The antidote to this is simply to let it take on its own life and freedom, treating it as less of something that we must push and more as something that pushes us. It takes some conscious effort to switch gears in this way but once this transition is made, it feels like the most natural thing in the world.



  6. Creative Words: Keeping Still

    Yesterday I did the blindfold assignment where I sat in a place and just perceived things. There’s something about choosing to be in a creative mindset and choosing to put yourself in a central position that makes me uncomfortable and stirs my mind. For me, there’s also something about discomfort that allows creativity to flourish. Feeling the pressure of awkwardness allows me to somehow meet whatever the task is. It keeps me from being complacent.

    Creative Experiment: Working in the Dark

    Today I improvised with a friend on accordion. We hung out in a small room and started off standing and gradually ended up in a sitting position with our eyes closed. We discovered a lot of new sounds through some accidents and experimentation as usually happens in improvisation, but connected in a really interesting way. This is a person I haven’t spent a lot of time improvising with and didn’t expect to click with very well. We played and listened well. The darkness element helped to take away the burden of my other senses and tuned me into playing an instrument I don’t know very well.

    Daily Dose: Divine Influence

    Divinity is a useful way for me to think about things. I do recognize a creative spirit, and I do recognize this overwhelming flood of inspiration when I call upon this spirit. I am not afraid to call this spiritual even though I would not call myself a spiritual person. I perceive spirituality as transcending physicality, and the way I do that is when my mind is excited by a new and grand idea – imagining the vastness of the universe leaves no room for my mind to consider my physical body). In creativity, I find that my creative spirit lets me glimpse the vast potential of a new musical world.
    My professors advice (from her own professor – Rudolf Komorous) was not to make musical ideas, but to find them. When I glimpse these musical worlds, I am not swept away by my own ‘genius’, but by the thrill of discovery.

    Daily Action: Recalling a Creative spirit

    Today I really channeled my creative spirit in this accordion improvisation. I discovered a lot of new techniques and discovered new music making potential. I was also able to share this with my friend who was playing the accordion at the same time. He picked up on these techniques and was able to improve his own playing.


  7. Creative Word: Decrease

    I have one piece that I have been unhappy with lately. My conclusion lately has been to decrease my own influence on it. I want to allow systems that allow music to happen in a fairly uncontrolled form. I want to lessen my influence and try and satisfy what the piece needs.

    Creative Experiment: Baby Steps

    Read, be happy, be thoughtful and just start working.

    Today is unfortunately not the day for music making in this way. I have done some improvisation so it is not an unmusical day, but some projects are coming to a head in my life again and making it difficult to embrace new ones. I want to reflect on this at a later time when I am able to do this.

    Daily Dose: Unnecessarily Complex

    This seems to apply well to improvising and working with other people. I know sometimes when I work with new people, there is an urge to impress them so that they will want to work with you again or will at least speak positively about you, opening up new opportunities. I find it impossible to control these situations however, sometimes I happen to work really well with new people, even if I’m in this mindset to impress, while other times I fail to make a connection while I am free of my own ego and these other complexities. The most important part of this is that there are no guarantees when it comes to music making, it is important to never be discouraged by your music making, even during the performance of it. Sometimes the original plan falls through, the music takes a new course and is suddenly beautiful. “Man plans, god laughs”. Release expectations.

    Daily Action: Listen

    I think today was a good day for listening. There was love in the music that didn’t go as well as some other sections, it was just a moment to laugh and allow more silliness to flow into the improv.



  8. Daily Meds #28

    Creative Word: Decrease

    I already like this word so far today as it is not one that is necessarily a purely positive term. While many words so far have been ones that have taken some effort to apply while under stress or in the midst of a generally bad situation, this one has an interesting duality to its connotation. While the decreasing of something positive is inherently negative, many don’t realize that the decreasing of things in general and the clearing of space to breathe is an extremely healthy thing to do for oneself. While an overly positive sounding word injected into a negative situation may add to one’s stress by prompting an attempted forced reversal of mood, the word “decrease” is rather helpful under every circumstance that I can currently imagine. Many of life’s problems stem from arbitrary over-complication, giving us all some room to decrease and simplify.

    Creative Experiment: Baby Steps

    This was a surprisingly revelatory process for me actually. While writing out my steps, I found myself mentally eliminating the unnecessary and slightly frivolous parts of my process that eat up time and have the potential for abuse and procrastination such as making a coffee or having my favourite youtube news channel going in a second window. Once I had written my list, which was much more conservative than I had anticipated going into this, I came to realize that the things I truly need in order to create are very simple and that all other additions are essentially luxuries and distractions that prevent me from digging as deeply as possible into my work. I determined that I need to: 1.) Clear my mind and relax, 2.) Write a single word, play a single chord or write down a single note, 3.) Add a second word, chord or note that allows the conveyance of my current mood, 4.) Relax once more and focus on the feeling that this progression conjures, and 5.) Surrender to the direction that my mood leads me in. The phase of looping of these steps is where things got particularly interesting for me. Despite having already whittled my process down into something much simpler than I would’ve ever thought, it was hearing them over and over again in my own stupid voice that made the point of this really sink in for me. Just by listening to myself repeat these steps around three or four times I was already beginning to see that even these relatively few steps were too much. After hearing them for about the tenth time I felt like yelling at myself, “Why are you making this so complicated?! Just make something, dude!” and it was at this point that it all clicked. Even these fairly innocuous steps were too much and it became clear that the only real step is to let things simply flow. This exercise was a lot like beginning the practice of meditation. At first, one’s mind actively thinks in terms of breathing, with one’s inner voice literally saying “in” and “out.” After a short time, these words melt into the unobstructed physical feelings of breath, and finally all conscious sensation is unified completely, revealing the simplicity that is possible when we allow the perfection of nothingness.

    Daily Dose: Unnecessarily Complex

    In both the literal and figurative sense, unnecessary complexity is probably the number one problem that plagues every musical act that I endeavour to accomplish. Though the technical complexity of my ideas themselves tends to be the factor that excites me most and drives my music forward, I run into problems trying to pre-conceptualize everything. It is a continually fruitless pursuit to come up with a riff or a groove and try to think of what the next addition will sound like in terms of words, yet this is a trap I all-too-often fall into when I cannot “hear” what the next part will sound like in my head. The “right” move proves ever illusive and the mindset that seeks it is realistically a fairly self-sabotaging one. Rather than creating something free of self-applied pressure, it is quite easy to look for what others would want to hear or even to halfheartedly put something down that merely “fits.” This is all a very strained, results-oriented way of operating and is one that conflicts with the free and spiritual nature of creativity. If we let go of trying to contrive everything to fit some unclear and thereby unattainable standard of perfection, we allow the simple pleasure of creation to once again take charge and push us in the right direction.

    Daily Action: Listen

    Today’s meds have already done a wonderful job of putting me in the right mindset to see this through. The baby steps exercise really illustrated the power of letting go of tangible earthly conceptions when stepping into the realm of creation. Our interpretations of how things “work” are merely the novel attempts by our brains to develop a system of behaviour that maximizes our chances for survival, and for the most part these are very useful, but this “A + B = C” way of looking at things is poisonous to the creator. When we systematically apply our knowledge and experience to the task of bringing something supposedly pure and self-expressive into the world, we suppress the beautifully spontaneous and utterly perfect nature of our true creative spirit.


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  9. Daily Meds #29

    Creative Word: Dispersion

    This is another enjoyably applicable and versatile word. It’s safe to say that most of the world’s population focuses all of their time and energy toward the accumulation of material possessions and monetary wealth. A sad majority of modern culture revolves around mindless, neverending acquisition, and with it comes a paranoid selfishness. After all, everyone works quite hard to maintain their pile of money and objects so it figures that they would be protective of it. What most fail to realize however is that the dispersion of this wealth is what makes for a truly good life not only for the individual, but for everyone. Vaguely communistic remarks aside though, the concept of dispersion will most likely be entered into my day today in a practical sense through the attempted dispersion of stress, the steadied dispersion of my creative ideas and most of all, the dispersion of the tasks that I need to accomplish today for maximum clarity and efficiency.

    Creative Experiment: Facing Fear

    Tonight I am attending a house party thrown by a work friend for our coworkers. This particular friend is very interested in music, as several of my coworkers are as well, and it has been suggested that we should have a couple drinks and play some music. Though this prospect is one that I am quite excited for and should prove to be a lot of fun, it is still always at least a little nerve-wracking to lower the defences and just jam with somebody new. Another factor is that I have never done anything remotely musical with any of my friends from work in my four-and-a-half years working there, but this is also an added comfort as I’ve come to know and appreciate these people rather dearly and it should be a lovely new thrill to create some musical fusion with them.

    Daily Dose: You Can Lead a Horse to Water…

    My stubbornness has been an aspect of my character that I’ve grappled with since my earliest recollections of childhood. Though back then it was a sheer unwillingness to understand the things that disallowed me from getting my way, it manifested itself in a convoluted, forceful positivity. Without even noticing, I would get really hyped up about something and become unstoppably determined to force someone to experience it. I was always the guy who really, passionately meant it when saying “DUDE, you HAVE TO hear this song/watch this movie/play this video game. It’ll change your friggin’ life, bro.” It wasn’t until this was pointed out to me that I saw the obvious folly in this stubborn stokedness. As the heading for this section says, you can lead a horse to water, but in my case, when he won’t drink, you can’t exactly expect him to thank you for forcing his face into the pond. I am susceptible to much the same in my musical practices a lot of the time as well. I’ve followed certain ill-conceived ideas into hell, shutting out every other option until I’ve totally exhausted myself emotionally and left my original inspiration in utter ruins. Once again, however, through the awareness of this tendency, I can strive to outgrow it and realize the perfection possible in letting things be as they are.

    Daily Action: Let Go

    This should be a perfect day for letting go creatively as all of the potential musical endeavours that are visibly on the horizon revolve completely around improvisation, spontaneity, serendipity and most of all the simple enjoyment of music. After class, I plan on hammering out some more random whacky beats with Jared and Ian and afterward I’ll be attending that party, making for a night full of opportunities to let the music flow exactly as it wants to, which in turn will nourish myself and those around me with its raw and beautiful purity.



  10. Creative Word: Dispersion

    My recording idea was a little weak today since I did it late in the day with a few other things that I had to deal with so I will also write about this in the way I normally do. I will do better recording work tomorrow.

    Today I recorded the sound of a burning cigar up close at first because I think it’s an interesting sound. I was outside and there is a lot of ambient sound that went with the recording.

    Thinking of dispersion with my second recording, I thought of how to make distance with such a silent sound and such overbearing ambience. I realized with dispersing, a tradeoff has to be made, to create distance as this word indicates to me, you have to also create isolation. I made a small isolation area between my jacket and my brothers jacket and added some distance between the mic and the cigar. I was still able to record the burn, but it wasn’t a very impressive final sound.

    Although this wasn’t a great start to this recording series of these daily meds, I can tell this will be good for when I record an instrument or a louder source.

    I am considering the skills that I am trying to preserve and keep at the peak of their technique, all while trying to stay on top of homework and this has been a big deal for me lately. Dispersion indicates to me this healthy distribution and spacing of some objects in an area, to relate this to the above sentence I automatically think of scheduling and dividing my time between each thing in healthy little compartmentalized doses. I always want to believe this can work, but the thing that throws plans off are the unpredictable inspirations that occur. Attempting to compartmentalize these can actually ruin the potential for things like composing/songwriting and practice.

    I am trying to think of dispersion in a more long term way.

    I don’t think people can stick with one strength forever, they need to oscillate and move through cycles of their interests. Focusing on composition for 2 weeks because the inspiration has struck you while you keep your other skills serviceable are a better approach to dispersing.

    Light upkeep on less inspiring elements, and heavier focus on the inspired discipline.

    Creative Experiment: Facing Fear

    I faced the fear of confrontation a couple times today. I was sort of dreading confronting Dave about the quiz thing, it wasn’t really a big deal because I know it would have been a reasonable conversation but it still comes with a certain amount of unease.

    I also faced a roommate I did not really want to deal with. I felt she was being condescending, and despite hating the confrontation, I challenged it. instead of being assertive I think I was a bit too strong with the way I argued back.

    To keep it musical, my musical fear is in singing. I challenge this fear fairly regularly and don’t feel so silly with my attempts at doing it anymore.

    Daily Dose: You Can Lead a Horse to Water…

    I am having trouble recognizing what the first paragraph is talking about so I will talk about the second.

    If the horse in this title refers to the music itself, I agree. I think that the most valuable approach to music making is letting go of expectations and as I’ve been saying for the last few days, let go of control. I would consider music a higher thing that musicians attempt to tap into. Structuring it to death works very rarely for me and I think the best approach for me is to setup human structures that allow my musicians to tap into this higher plane in their own free and natural way. Human structures such as improvising for a certain amount of time, or to switch into a new movement at the improvised cue of a conductor type figure.

    Daily Action: Let Go

    I am working to let go of the stranglehold I seem to have on my attempt at rhythmic and traditionally conducted music. I will attempt to do what makes the music happy instead of what my brain is trying to force out of it. I am not so well trained that chord structures and hierarchy are second nature to me, so I still have to stumble through the dark sometimes but find some wonderful chords and sounds that are beyond tradition and something I would not have found by assuming my ear is flawless and that I can force music into what my mind conceives. Serving the art has always led to my best works.


  11. Creative Word: Force

    I recorded a single cymbal (a 17″ Dream Bliss that I bought recently) by mounting an sm57 on a boom stand and spinning the boom so that the microphone would repeatedly pass the vibrating cymbal.

    The first recording I did was just a plain recording of the event from beginning to end.

    After reading the creative word, my mind went to hitting the cymbal harder or turning up the gain or adding compression to the track, but I instead used the same recording, cut off the initial transient and only began the recording as the cymbal had reached it’s sustain/decay period. I also added some compression:

    The sound does not seem to weaken for two reasons: I took away the attack of the cymbal so it provided a constant volume level (besides the oscillating that the microphone added), and because the compression brought it to a volume I would consider forceful. The oscillating microphone also helped to confuse the decay, if every pass of the cymbal was a few dB quieter, it would still seem consistent in comparison to the large volume drops occurring every one or two seconds.

    Listening again, the cymbal is not really present 75% of the time until the microphone sweeps over it. The vibrations in the mic stand keep a consistent hum and rattle as the mic sweeps the room, and the cymbal seems to scream it’s way into the mix periodically.

    Creative Experiment: Talking it out

    I talked out my problems in a composition with my professor. She understands my idea and seems to understand my frustration with it and has kind of helped me to reestablish my original goals with this piece. I intended to make a piece based on machine-like movements, but started to get hung up on how tight my grip was on the piece. I hadn’t worked on it very hard for a while, but she seemed happy with the work I had done and she introduced some ideas that I had kind of precluded from this composition for some reason. I am now looking at adding graphic notation to my piece to introduce bits of freedom in parts that make sense.

    Daily Dose: Contribute

    I have been having trouble filling my life with the loving musicians I found so easily last year. I at least attempt to be positive everyday, but I find it so easy to be beaten down by other’s selfishness or carelessness. These kinds of things shut me down and make me focus internally so that no shared learning and growing can occur.

    If I was to put it into words, my attempt to be positive currently sounds like this: today I will be positive. I am wording what I want the result to be, but I think I ignore the process by which I can make my day positive, such as: today I will discuss a personal view that someone brings up.

    This used to be a natural thing for me and I think I assumed it was something that I didn’t have to practice. I am glad that I was able to address this here and realize that I ought to attempt taking more of the responsibility of reaching out.

    Daily Action: Contribute

    I am confident in what I have to contribute, but I have not spent enough time working. Tonight I will work on my composition and remember that my contributions are valuable and that I should continue being productive.


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  12. Daily Meds #30

    BY THE WAY: I’m taking your advice and bailing on the recording challenge in favour of this one but I’ll still be using my “one hundo sounds” Soundcloud account to post the audio examples for the Daily Meds.

    Creative Word: Force

    This morning was a good one to try and inject some force into what I was doing. As a result of last night’s work party, I was suffering from some sluggish synapses and a generally sapped spirit upon awakening. Ordinarily singing would be the furthest thing from my mind under such circumstances, due in part to the lazy haze of a slight hangover but also because of my tendency to belt out every song I hear like a maniac after a few beverages. Based on my mood, I decided to sing the last line of “The Biggest Lie” off of Elliott Smith’s 1995 self-titled solo debut as I apparently woke up feeling a little bit jilted and spiteful (though this negativity now seems pretty far away after waking up a bit more). For my first take, I just sort of went for it and let the relative shittiness of my mood take over, not really thinking about my breathing and just barely considering the notes I was trying to hit. I then began to apply the word “force” to the take and started to devise ways to embody that with my next one. The obvious answer was to use more air and to push with my diaphragm a bit more consciously, but after a couple tries, it was sounding less like “force” and more just flat out “forced.” I then reconsidered and figured I’d just go for it in a more natural mental state like my first take but this time while simply thinking about the word “force” and letting the precise definition of this word stay somewhat loose. The result was an audible increase in energy and even overall authenticity. While the wavering of my voice in the first take sounds as if it was due to tiredness or timidness, the inconsistencies of my singing in the second take sound more like they’re being affected by the passion and emotion of what I’m singing about, which is always a favourable outcome. It was actually really cool to play around with my voice today and to mess with some “vocal acting” so to speak, as it has been far too long since I’ve had a piece of music that was complete enough to record vocals for. It should be wonderful practice to do something like this every day and I’m very excited to see how it goes!

    Creative Experiment: Talking It Out

    Tonight should provide a couple decent opportunities to try out this approach. Firstly and most obviously, I can attempt this with my bandmates at the jam hall after work. Though we often consider our talking and lack of action to be a problematic tendency of ours, it is very much possible that it is the nature of our talking that is the problem. It’s not our openness that holds us back so much as it is our utter lack of assertiveness. And though this is something we’ve been steadily working on, we can often be supportive of one another to a fault, very rarely perceiving, let alone acknowledging, the potential follies of a plan or practice until we are all made painfully aware of its problems experientially. To seek a fresh perspective on things, I think this experiment would also be quite beneficial if attempted with a coworker before meeting up with the musical mans. Trying to explain something to someone who has no context or preconceptions on the issue can be very clarifying, and if they are particularly attentive, the first few questions that they ask will likely be ones of such perfect simplicity that the issue becomes much less complex.

    Daily Dose: Contribute

    When I leave for the jam space once this is complete, I will likely be entering a situation in which two or more people have been steadily plugging away at something that I will thus far have nothing to do with and there is the high potential for a strange, unspoken tension: either I’ll feel weird for just quietly looking on and feel the need to artificially involve myself or they’ll feel awkward continuing their work with me looking over their shoulders and will try to include me while inadvertently halting the flow that they had going. Though I don’t have a specific strategy to steer overly clear of either situation, I do believe that what was said in this Dose about intention will be the thing that guides us to a full and healthy collaboration. If I simply contribute to the general positivity and creative energy of the room while not even letting such over-analysis cross my mind I think things will continue to move organically and genuinely and that we’ll produce something that we can all be proud of.

    Daily Action: Contribute

    This is a very nice thought as it neatly refutes a commonly occurring doubt that I (and likely millions of other creative people) consistently have. After taking the necessary steps of self-improvement and discipline to become a functional musician, it can be pretty easy to convince oneself that the ideas coming forth about the music of others are products of the ego. I personally am very good at shutting suggestions down before I can even articulate them, purely on the grounds that I suspect them to be secretly originating from a place of self-interest. If I just remember that my intention is the same as my collaborators, which is to make something pure and beautiful, everything will elapse naturally the way it has to, whether I’m conscious of it or not.



  13. Daily Meds #31

    Creative Word: Yielding

    For today’s recording I decided to dust off a prelude from a Tool album that I used to play all the time. It was the perfect song to just zen out and let flow. Getting to the end would be like coming back to regular consciousness from a deep meditation and used to be a very empowering activity, but as my practicing has slipped by the wayside, the mere thought of attempting this song today was intimidating to say the least. In my rusty state, I don’t have anywhere near the breath control that I once took for granted and that allowed me to essentially do whatever I wanted in each musical moment and this is precisely why I settled on this song. In my first take, I tried to emulate the original recording as much as possible, adhering to the very slow and subtle timing and taking breaths in the same places as my main man Maynard, resulting in some audible breathiness and strain. For my second take, I decided to instead “yield” to my creative instincts and just sort of let it happen however it wanted. I stopped thinking about the timing or where to place my breaths and even the right notes in some places, and although this recording is therefore pretty rocky-sounding in some spots as a result, it is a truer expression of creativity than an overly karaoke-style cover.

    Creative Experiment: Lollipop

    This is so simple yet I could very much see this method becoming a tool that I begin to frequently employ in life to get things done. In considering this concept, I am coming to realize that I pretty much exclusively use negative reenforcement to regulate my behaviour. I tend to look at all of my desires that don’t directly involve the betterment of me as an adult as illegitimate and thereby worthy of guilt. The thing that usually pushes me to complete something is the harsh deadline of an impending shift at work or the schedule of the bus that I take to school, which has been an undeniably successful way of combating my over-thinking but while also serving as a massive agitator of my frantic nature and overall stress level. Reversing this self-destructive pattern into a reward-based system of positive conditioning would not only boost my productivity and general mood, but would also nicely reincorporate aspects of my life that once brought me great joy and satisfaction that I have now eschewed as being childish. In doing this, I am also expressing love for myself by essentially striking a fair compromise between my “serious” side and my more playful one. Today I can try out this system by buckling down and finishing this right now, without the distractions of my compulsive news-surfing, so that I may have some time left before work to play a bit of my newly purchased Hit Man game, which is an activity that I would usually view as a shamefully frivolous use of time, but which has now been transformed into a vital part of the process.

    Daily Dose: I Choose Peace

    I find this to be very true. Most psychological distress stems from a subconscious overburdening of the mind. While we may have a perfectly reasonably sized level of responsibilities or perceived problems, it is our lack of faith in our control over them that makes these molehills mountainous. If we step back and realize that what we have on our plate is not inherently impossible to accomplish and that the factor that turns them frightening is our own misplaced desire to dictate every detail of our lives, we can reacquaint ourselves with the power of letting things be as they are and focusing instead on what we can tangibly do on a moment-to-moment basis. As can be said for any noun that follows the word “unnecessary,” unnecessary stress is unnecessary. The desire to influence every facet of something is not the desire for power, but the complete ignorance of how to really attain it. True power comes about through the relinquishing of these petty, ego-driven desires and the repurposing of all this negative energy to instead push us more sincerely down the path that we are humbly submitting to.

    Daily Action: Be At Peace

    Though I won’t have an opportunity to really dive into a musical project with this in mind due to the closing shift that looms over my night, I have already somewhat practiced this way of thinking with the application of today’s daily word. In order to truly “yield” to one’s creative spirit and its mysterious directions, one must be completely at peace with oneself and one’s circumstances. Though I personally have quite a long way to go in terms of diving as deeply into this serenity as I would like, I am grateful to be consciously pursuing it. Awareness of a better way, while it may not seem immediately or easily attainable, is infinitely greater than struggling on in ignorance and self-imposed frustration.



  14. Creative Word: Yielding

    I played a line from my composition on the low end of a piano. The composition is strong so I played it strongly. The creative word could have been something straightforward like playing pianissimo, but instead I lightened the texture overall by laying a book across the strings in the piano and playing one note instead of the thick octaves that I did in the first recording (just because I only had one book to use on the strings). My thought was to make the fundamental of the notes yield their dominance in the texture. I held the sostenuto pedal down so that the other strings could vibrate sympathetically with the fundamentals overtones.

    (The wave file looks like a single bit of audio, but there are two different ones)

    Inadvertently, my sound also yielded to the sound of a neighbouring flute player. I considered this fact after I recorded, and thought it would be worth considering again. Yielding my dominance as the subject/performer to the sounds around me – kind of a John Cage thing.

    Creative Experiment: Lollipop

    The only things I can think of as lollipops are getting new bits of gear, but I don’t think I really thrive on rewards in this way. I find the work that I put into completing a piece to be it’s own reward. If I am pushed to give myself a lollipop of some kind, it would probably be a couple hours of playing a video game, but I don’t feel this crazy drive to do it. I think the best lollipop might be setting aside some time to go for a walk in the park with a camera.

    Daily Dose: I Choose Peace

    I made the decision to become peaceful today when negativity was pervading my mind. I was in a situation that brought out negative feelings in me, I became restless with my frustrations towards the problem as I walked home but instigated the resolution internally. I chose not to let these negative people affect my contribution to the performance I did tonight, I chose to think about the music, detached from the petty affairs I was getting so frustrated with, and I chose to enjoy the happy moments these people and I found together in our music and to choose thinking about my performance and contemplating which moments worked and which ones didn’t.

    Daily Action: Be At Peace

    As mentioned above, I decided to choose peace for myself over the frustration that wanted to overtake me. I actually practiced smiling as I walked away from the situation and sort of want to laugh at how silly that seems. This stuff sort of relates to yesterdays post about choosing to be happy in a more specific way than just saying: today I will be positive. My choice was to dig into the happiness that I experienced while making music and to abandon the human pettiness as best as I could. The interesting thing I find is that in the decision to be happier I feel like my eyes open, or that things are a little less dark in general.



  15. Creative Word: Create Conflict

    Conflict arises when two things demand equal attention. I started out improvising some random banjo part and then followed with a second recording of a guitar. The guitar part does not pay attention to the banjo part (though it was played while listening to the banjo part).

    I sort of failed at creating a thoroughly conflicting counterpoint, I think there are a lot of beautiful things going on in here. The trumpet was maybe unnecessary here, but I really enjoyed listening back on this. I want to create more interactions like this with a higher number of instruments next time.

    Creative Experiment: Random Attachment

    Canon is the first word I encountered. As in the camera.

    To incorporate this word in this piece I may take the liberty of reimagining it as “cannon” which has obvious connotations of power, strength, and durability. This piece already incorporates power, strength and considers durability (even though the piece ultimately breaks down).

    Sudden change of thought –

    I was listening to “Mikey and his Junk” and thinking about whether I was abandoning ideas too soon. I thought about how you may be responding to a short lick that I played on saxophone which I abandon shortly after, I then respond to your interpretation of the original thing that I setup and hopefully commit from that point on. I am now thinking of these confused responses as being in canon with each other somehow. Around 57 seconds in I turn some fairly arhythmic sounds into a rhythm and abandon it after a few notes. You seem to catch onto this idea and push it further, which makes me return to the idea of rhythm again.

    The back and forth of this triggers the thought of it being like a canon and I’m trying to push this idea further. Maybe just simply deeming myself or another person the leader of an improv and demanding that the other person trail behind could make for some interesting results where two energy levels are constantly clashing or acting complimentary.

    On the topic of canon, I am using time based repeats in my current project that I could sort of relate to this. Maybe I can push it more towards being a canon if the idea works.

    Daily Dose: Creative Frustrations

    I feel as though I am standing at a wall with some of the creative frustrations that I am facing. I typically surrender when it comes to performance habits and move to another instrument for a while, but find that I must persist (at least over the next day) when it comes to composition. The only way of breaking my creative frustrations here is by pushing myself to face them.

    Frustration in general has yielded to new lines of thinking. I’ve been really harping on this positivity thing lately, but this definitely applies to certain mental pathways we setup. All of them can be questioned and overcome. It is up to me to ask the right questions and become aware of each mental action as a learned behaviour that can be altered to shuffle my approach to anything.

    Daily Action: Growth through frustration

    I was drumming today and becoming aware of my frustration with this certain kick pattern that I tend to do. I seem to default to it when I’m not executing a specific idea. I have not grown past it today, but am attempting to address it. I hope to practice something new or think my way out of this pattern soon.


  16. I finished and published yesterday’s Daily Meds to my WordPress during class but was unable to find the link to the proper place of posting and had to leave the classroom before succeeding in doing so. Here is a link to my post from yesterday: https://adamreinhart.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/daily-meds-32/ and due to WordPress’s consistent belief that it is four to six hours later than it actually is in this time zone, it is falsely dated March 3rd, despite actually being posted some time around 8:30 or 9:00 on March 2nd (just as this post will say March 4th despite it actually still being the 3rd for several more hours). Here is the content from both posts:

    Daily Meds #32

    Creative Word: Create Conflict

    This morning I woke up with what feels like the beginnings of some type of sinus infection, being greeted immediately by a lovely little ache in my throat following each attempted swallow. It was with this perceived obstacle that I decided to record my favourite part of Radiohead’s Karma Police (marking three times in a row now that I’ve coincidentally chosen to sing the last few lines of a song) only I used a capo to lower the potential strain on my voice, despite putting the song in an audibly unfamiliar key for me. To create some conflict in my second take, I decided that my oncoming cold can shove it for a few minutes and I took the capo off, singing in the key that I’m used to but in a condition that I am not. Honestly, things certainly could’ve gone worse and I’m fairly surprised at how my voice held up given the circumstances (though if I had pushed it for a few more takes it likely would have been a different story). These recordings were made on my phone in the relatively empty room beside mine that will allegedly be converting into my step-dad’s office in the near future.

    Creative Experiment: Random Attachment

    Spinning around in my chair, my eyes landed on the poster above my bed for the movie The Thing. I can apply this to my band’s current work by realizing that we keep letting “things” stall our progress. By this I mean that whenever we seem to hit a wall creatively, it is usually due to trying to nail down or define our efforts rather than just letting them be as they are and seeing where they lead on their own. Beside my computer sits an empty can of Rolling Rock. These words can be applied by remembering that if we simply keep moving forward, unburdened by our misplaced craving to understand what we’re doing, we are much more likely to bring something to fruition. Lastly, the book “Revolution” by Russell Brand sits on my bedside table. We really do need a revolution in our way of thinking in order to progress to the next level of operation. Despite our relatively steady advancements, we have still yet to pull off a total reversal of our well-meaning-yet-self-sabotaging ways, like requiring some uncomfortable but highly worthy changes.

    Daily Dose: Creative Frustrations

    This is a very honest and constructive way of looking at things that many could see as irreparable bits of negativity that plague our creative works. As with many internal issues, the first step before confrontation can occur or even be considered, is the admittance of a problem. When we find ourselves repeatedly defeated by our own tendencies, the automatic response tends to be suppression or avoidance of these weaknesses. Though it unfortunately doesn’t come too easily out of one’s own volition and it often takes a compounding of frustration and annoyance to finally push someone to put all of their energy

    Daily Action: Growth Through Frustration

    It’s actually slightly spooky that “growth through frustration” is something that I’m consciously thinking about today because these words perfectly summarize the several unexpected little developments that have occurred in the past 24 hours. Last night at work, due to a number of arbitrary, nonsensical and highly frustrating changes to rules and practices over the past few weeks, I spent the first few hours of my shift fuming with silent anger. I decided in the first few minutes that I no longer wanted to deal with the ever-fluctuating world of pizza and pretzels and that, despite my constant compulsion to do what I see to be “right,” I could not follow rules that I did not respect. As a fairly respected staff member who has worked there from day one and as one of the more reliable pizza and pretzel producers, I knew that whatever I said to express my frustration could have the potential to cut pretty deep and at the time I was perfectly fine with that. I wanted my statement to be as harsh and as bitter as I was feeling. However, when it came time to express this to my manager, my truer self stepped in and suddenly softened my rage, effectively eliminating all of the caustic words that had been swirling in my head for the whole shift up to that point. We ended up having a very nice, open conversation and I unexpectedly had a bit of an on-the-spot epiphany. I realized through expressing my frustrations that I was coming to the time in my life when I should begin looking for another job and straying outside of my comfort zone to attain true satisfaction. When asked what avenues of employment I was thinking of exploring, I rambled for a few minutes about all of the potential possibilities for my future, none of which had ever crossed my mind until that moment. Afterward I was utterly elated, having accidentally stumbled onto a better mental path simply by being honest with myself and with those around me.

    Link again: https://adamreinhart.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/daily-meds-32/

    Daily Meds #33

    Creative Words: Critical Mass

    Out of pre-work desperation I had to make today’s recording right when I woke up which is apparently highly improper according to the advice of a high school vocal teacher as far as I recall (I should’ve apparently waited three hours after waking or something but I don’t think my coworkers would take too kindly to any screaming in the break room). To embody these words, I first sang the pre-chorus of an acousticized version of a metal-ish song called “Reinventing Your Exit” by Underoath and then tracked it again with the regular screamed vocals that the part is usually conveyed through, making the part the heaviest that it could be at the time, allowing it to reach its “critical mass” in somewhat of a literal sense. I also thrashed the ever-loving shit out of my voice trying to scream like the guy does on that song, which happens to be from the album right before he started seeing a professional vocal coach and becoming incredible, so to all the kids out there who I’m sure are just hanging on my every word here, warm up and practice safe screams.

    Creative Experiment: Removing Expectations

    At first, several of my expectations were rather sarcastic and self-deprecating, such as expecting to work on the song until I died, resulting in the massive disappointment of my friends and family when they listened to it and found it shrug-worthy at best. I then got a little more serious and wrote that I expected the song to sound interesting, to express my viewpoint and to be unique. The opposites of these would be an uninteresting song that doesn’t fully convey my feelings and that isn’t entirely unique. The thought of something being “the opposite of what was expected” sounds pretty scary on the surface, but honestly, pretty much everything I’ve ever made can be bent to apply to all of these seemingly negative descriptors. No matter how crazy something is to one person, there will always be someone who is unfazed. No matter how articulately I poeticize my thoughts, there will always be a tiny, unspoken something clinging to the shadows of my consciousness. No matter what, by simple virtue of writing a song with words, notes and chords, it will always sound at least sort of like something out there. Burdening one’s mind with this kind of specificity is hugely counterproductive to creativity. Though a properly conceived plan doesn’t hurt, one’s creative energy needs room to breathe and flow in whatever way it needs to. When we start labeling our final product before it’s even been brought to life, we limit the serendipitous magic that elapses along the way if we are open to it.

    Daily Dose: Not for the Faint of Heart

    This is something that takes some practice and a slight rearrangement of one’s thinking patterns, but through doing these Daily Meds I think I am starting to come into a more developed way of operating in this area. When writing in the same space in which one records, it is very tempting and seemingly easy to, rather than write ideas down in some way, simply record as one writes and make changes later on when necessary. The unforeseen problem here is that there doesn’t seem to be a reason to truly think ideas through or sometimes even attempt to play them before recording, leading to frequent and seemingly insurmountable road blocks. When encountering one of these obstacles, none of the attempted solutions ever seem to sound “right” because the project is inherently contrived from the beginning, so when the inspiration behind the foundational musical idea evaporates, all we’re left with is the wish to make something that “sounds cool.” While this type of ambiguous direction can be empowering in some instances, the freedom to technically do anything can be crippling. It takes deep personal trust and connectedness to get over this and to have faith in the wild purity of one’s creative spirit. The part that requires practice is lowering the lens of self-scrutiny and simply letting oneself be pulled in a direction. It is certainly a courageous action to submit one’s will to the greater forces that work through us, but one that is undoubtedly worthy of working toward, if not committing to outright.

    Daily Action: Follow Your Path

    This is very simple but quite inspiring. I often expend so much mental energy worrying about where my path may or may not take me that I forget that I am walking it every second. I sometimes lie awake wondering if I’ll be able to handle the sharp corners that I am convinced are waiting for me just over the horizon while ignoring the enjoyment that I could be experiencing on the smooth and pleasant terrain that I currently traverse. Just as with focusing on the past, trying to plan too far ahead is a great way to drive oneself bonkers while wasting what will never be had ever again: the present moment. As Henry David Thoreau wrote: “The millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred million to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face?”

    Link: https://adamreinhart.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/daily-meds-33/


  17. Creative Words: Critical Mass

    It’s too late for me to record anything tonight, but let’s say I did record a drum set.

    Critical mass refers to a necessary number of parts or contributors for a system to sustain itself. I would think of this in music as relying on a fellow musician to sustain a piece, or to rely on your own skills to know how to let an improvisation drive itself.

    To apply critical mass to my drums, I would think of adding another musician for one thing, but perhaps I would also get some kind of MAX/MSP program to run and alter the sounds I am putting into some microphones, changing the feedback to my headphones, and then changing my approach to playing in a live way. I think critical mass comes from this kind of experimentation and then tapping into this inspirational sonic well and holding there as you’re inspired by your own performance.

    When it comes to removing expectations, you often have your ear out for these things that open you up to a whole new style of playing.

    Again I apologize for not being able to do a recording tonight, but I don’t even have the skills to introduce the things I am thinking of here with MAX, and there is no way I can find someone enthusiastic to record with me right now.

    Creative Experiment: Removing Expectations

    Brass piece

    Be powerful – be weak

    Be rhythmic – arrhythmic

    This is kind of a problem because I already address my expectations in music. I try to remove them as much as possible. I try to satisfy the piece instead of myself. I stumbled on the main idea which happened to be powerful and rhythmic. I will be incorporating elements of arrhythm and am continuously considering opposing ideas. I am just not far in this piece as it is.

    Daily Dose: Not for the faint of heart

    I have been doing a lot of letting go recently. Petty matters have very nearly become non-issues because I just don’t lend that much time to them anymore. I try to think about the universe, think about music, and think about what I’m doing to be good to other people when I want to think about what’s good for me.

    When it comes to music, my whole philosophy seems to be based around letting go. Instead of defining myself as a performer, I am instead a method for music to pass through me. I don’t have perfect control of my instrument all the time. Mistakes occur during a performance. Whatever. But most times something really interesting happens with that. I don’t often have the foresight to know what I want to do with every aspect of a musical idea or performance, but it’s usually the mistakes that trigger the most interesting bits of sound.

    Daily Action: Follow Your Path

    I kind of just did class stuff today, but I spent a surprising amount of time contemplating my path and pushing to do everything that I need to do. Last year there was so much energy driving every musical endeavour. I was hungry to pursue each one to the end and start a new one, but I have somehow gotten a little comfortable with taking things easier. I was thinking about touring musicians who are on the road, sick as a dog but still playing every night and I’m trying to align myself with that idea. I truly have kept myself busy this year, but I find myself needing more time to have a finished project. I don’t know what to change about my approach, but this is on my mind.


  18. Daily Meds #34

    Creative Word: Security

    When thinking about what I wanted to sing today, I recalled drunkenly jamming “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” by one Mr. Robert Dylan much slower and in a higher key than usual at the work party that I attended on the weekend. When I had finished, my esteemed colleague, knowing a fair amount about my personal life, said, “Jesus, dude. Did you write that?” to which I responded with a cartoonishly emphatic, “OH MAN, I wiiiiiiiish.” When revisiting it today without a capo and singing in that slightly more challenging register with a reduced tempo, I saw some potential to hammer out a vaguely unique cover and recorded my favourite verse (which once again happens to be the very last part of the song). To apply the word “security” to my next take, I simply put my capo on the fifth fret (the original was recorded with a capo on the fourth, but I tend to tune my guitar a half-step down [if at all] due to the slight reduction of vocal strain with crazier songs) and played the song at its usual pace and in its original key. The result, though slightly less musical and a little bit talk-y due to the natural (and often struggled-against) low-ish timbre of my voice, comes off a bit more genuine and comfortable sounding, despite its rough spots.

    Creative Experiment: Fitting the Box

    Inside the box, my music sounds exactly as it does now: constantly bouncing back upon itself until the unique beauty of its original source has been completely eroded and lost. For me, the box represents the mundane echo chamber of my regular routine and the quietly hidden constraints that I subconsciously impose upon my own creativity. It’s as if I’ve convinced myself over the years that I’m super open-minded as a response to the ignorance and conformity I saw in others, yet while really just conforming to a personal bubble that I nervously float in, hopefully out of reach. It doesn’t feel particularly good to realize this but it’s certainly better than living a life of lofty delusion. I need to pop my bubble (or tear out of my box) and truly feel the influence of life, daring to step into the unfamiliar but while remaining confident that this will bring my potential to fruition. I am reminded of a quotation by Jorge Luis Borges: “A writer — and, I believe, generally all persons — must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.”

    Daily Dose: Here and Now

    This is absolutely true. A person who hasn’t felt loved enough in life is prone to seeking it out with a goal of maximum acquisition, just as one would (for the purpose of this metaphor) with flowers. While desperately scouring fields and forests, only occasionally finding anything worth picking, you might be annoyed with the relative lack of beauty that there is to reap. You keep imagining a glorious meadow of brilliant yellow flowers just over every hill, fully convinced that you’ve earned this by simple virtue of looking for so long. What one fails to realize in this mindset, however, is that if one is displeased with the lack of flowers around, the best way to gain more is not to look harder, but to plant them all along the way. Sure, many of those flowers will be picked and enjoyed by others, but there will be more beauty and love for everyone, including you as an individual. It is always worth the effort to spread the goodness that one wishes to see more of.

    Daily Action: Witness Love Around You
    This is a beautiful act and one that I am very much excited to actively carry out today. In fact, the morning after the aforementioned work party, I had a bit of a hungover revelation about how my mind perceives the love I am constantly surrounded by. In these mornings of post-party pessimism, I am often emotionally clouded-over and am followed around by a vague yet all-consuming depression. I have always chalked this up to a temporary chemical imbalance in my brain caused by my recent intoxication, but I noticed somewhat of a deeper underlying emotional theme that runs throughout my sober life as well. In my natural state, my mind is always striving for grand and likely unrealistic love, whether it be from someone who experiences my music or from the “girl of my dreams,” all the while somewhat glazing over the unconditional love in my life through shallow-feeling pleasantries. After a night of drinking, I find myself filled with a creeping, lingering guilt that surges up into my consciousness whenever I encounter things like the kindness of my parents, the smiles of my baby sisters or the simple excitement of my dog to see me. It was only last weekend that I attempted to explore the source of this sadness and I was surprised by its obviousness. I feel guilty for all those who love me because going out and guzzling poison until 4:00 in the morning is an extremely self-destructive act, as if I think their affection is somehow misdirected. From the perspective of the morning after, I am actively betraying all of the love that is given to me simply because of a nagging and ever-suppressed feeling of personal inadequacy. In truly appreciating the unconditional love that we have in our lives, we are essentially forgiving ourselves and accepting the mutually restorative power that is shared through these bonds. Everyone has thoughts and experiences that cause them to question their self-worth and the worst way to deal with them is by selfishly quarantining oneself away from the people who are reaching out to be collaboratively healed.



  19. Creative Word: Security

    I improvised some stuff on my untuned accordion for about a minute. The definition of security includes not only ‘safety’ but ‘freedom’. I explored freedom in the improvisation in general but to add freedom to the recording process, I decided to move around while recording.

    I suppose security is really based on how confident you are and thinking about security usually seems to call into question pushing boundaries. I am not terribly confident as an accordionist, but I am a confident musician. Most comfort levels have been challenged. If this was earlier in the day maybe I would have asked my saxophone teacher to improvise with me since older musicians are usually kind of intimidating.

    Creative Experiment: Fitting the box

    Thinking inside the box can be helpful, it depends on what you define as the box however. I define the box as the music. While people like John Zorn have pushed outside of sticking to a single musical genre, I find that I try to push outside of a genre in general and create a single sound world that I am somewhat committed to. This can still be classified as a genre, but I am moving within this in potentially infinite ways. It is pseudoclassical sounding without serious allegiance to those traditions.

    Even though I work in a box, this box is pretty nebulous and does not really restrict me. It is my natural boundary currently. I don’t consider it a wall, but the edge of reality for whatever the piece is. I think music has pushed so hard into atonality and arrhythm that it can’t really go further in that same direction. There will have to be a new and severe shift in music to awaken us from considering tonality/atonality as a scale and orient our minds towards new truths about music. The conversation about energy last Tuesday is potentially a beginning for this, but I think it still has to go further somehow. Going back to John Zorn, his music uses energy almost melodically (even though it’s not a very intuitive melody). Maybe a more intense version of this is the future, but whenever a new idea is found it is pushed to both potential extremes and then it maybe returns to a medium and then is either exhausted or continues that cycle forever.

    Daily Dose: Here and Now

    This is so hard it’s insane. I have been trying to do this over the last week and I keep writing about it. Some days it works for me and others I just can’t give love because of how these people treat other people. I am not personally attacked by these people (I think), but most of their interactions with me is rooted in annoyance or anger to another person and it is completely exhausting to try and be positive when these people don’t want to hear it. I do what I can to distance myself from the situation and I have even confronted these people on their negativity, but I unfortunately these are classmates I am dealing with (not Conestoga). I am trying to think of this as less hopeless than it has felt and I occasionally succeed by focusing outwardly on the world, other people, or music, but these interactions are persistent.

    I know I have to continue trying and not give up for my own sake. It is getting desperate and I hope to escape soon, but I cannot plague my creative spirit with misery like this. It closes down so many creative avenues.

    Daily Action: Witness Love Around You

    My past time lately has been to watch different people talk on the bus. I listen without judgment and enjoy the interaction from the perspective I imagine my grandma or grandpa might perceive. I notice they are high-spirited people usually and would probably simply think some of these things were just funny, rather than thinking about whether or not a person is being kind of loud or obnoxious or obviously trying to impress a girl. There’s so much potential to derive happiness or positivity from every interaction that it’s a waste of our short life to get caught up in the small things.


  20. Daily Meds #35

    Creative Words: Strip Down

    For today’s recording, while being somewhat still in the singing-single-verses-of-extremely-famous-songs-by-iconic-singer-songwriters mood that I was in yesterday for my Dylan recording, I decided to try out the first lines of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, a song that I originally learned to make drunk girls emotional and think I’m sensitive at parties in grade 10. This song has a constantly ascending and descending picking pattern on each chord throughout nearly the entire song and so, being the amateurish guitarist that I have still never taken the time to grow from, I often flub about 30% of these notes while hiding them under a heavily-muffling palm mute, which in turn effectively conceals the flubbed vocal notes, thereby keeping the whole cycle of mediocrity rolling unchecked. As someone who hasn’t tangibly advanced in guitar skill for nearly half a decade, such almost-intricate instrumental work can often makes my vocalization suffer. However, when I have someone laying down the instrumentals for me, I have the capacity to nail it and have my success not be an accident. It is with this knowledge that I “stripped down” this song to be just the root notes of the chords (which nicely highlighted how horribly out of tune my guitar was) so as to maximize my vocal freedom. Having never really tried this and given so much of my attention to singing these notes, I found I had so much control that I didn’t even know what to do with all of it. I have a bad habit of concentrating on the more focal, bigger-sounding notes of vocal lines while seldom paying enough attention to the shorter notes that lead up to or lie between them and I think that stripping down songs for practice from now on would actually be a very effective way of dealing with this tendency.

    Creative Experiment: Looking Out of Bounds

    This is another fortuitously perfect addition to the current events elapsing in my life. Last night, Jared and I decided to try our hand at a bit of free improvisation, with him playing a weirdly-effected bass and myself playing drums and providing grating distorted vocals (which were mostly used to discuss the ever-pressing topic of the concept of sandwiches). By the time we got everything set up the way we wanted and had tweaked it all to imperfect perfection, it was already past 1:00, thus only allowing for a test recording that went for a bit over fifteen minutes. Today, however, having left everything set up, we plan on trying different setups and effects combinations for as long as we can, hopefully creating some of our first-ever whacky improvised recordings. One thing that I personally have to keep in mind (or rather out of my mind, along with everything else) is that this is free improvisation, not impersonation. I need to stop absentmindedly falling into the motions that I usually go through in certain musical contexts. I need to let go even further and expel thoughts such as “how could I make this sound more random?” from my mind completely in order to let my natural creative compulsions take control.

    Daily Dose: Face Your Flaws

    This is a very enlightened viewpoint and one that I hope to someday be mature enough to fully develop. It takes a lot of courage to account for one’s lesser traits, but owning these characteristics and dealing with them is the only way to truly become a well-adjusted and responsible adult. As we grow, some will find that the world is already perfect and some will see it continually working against them. The latter type of person, which most people can probably relate to, is often one who feels victimized by change and adversity and who is frightened to acknowledge or understand what they subconsciously know to be faulty about their perspective. As Alan Watts describes, most see themselves as having “come into this world,” as if they came from somewhere else and that they are some unique foreign entity whose purpose is to defeat opposition and dominate as many earthly obstacles as possible. The other more nurturing and collaborative outlook is one that instead sees itself as having grown from the earth and is aware that the flowing of one’s blood, the cyclical pattern of one’s waking and sleeping, the changing of the seasons and the shining of the stars is all one continuous and indivisible process, moving outward from the original spark of creation or big bang. Part of realizing one’s perfect place in the world is having the humility to admit that the universe should be respected in its natural state and that any conflict we happen to encounter in life is not due to a flaw in our reality, but instead an internal incompatibility. It really does come down to a simple “one or the other” type of trait in one’s individual outlook. Either the entirety of the universe happens to have a me-shaped pothole in it or there’s something about myself that I need to fix. If one is humble enough, the answer is obvious.

    Daily Action: Come Clean

    First and most immediately obvious to me, my obsessive personality is a scourge on all aspects of my life. My mind is highly adept at rapaciously feasting on one tiny fixation so desperately and constantly that I don’t even notice this absurdity until I’m in a state of utter self-inflicted devastation over having wasted so much time feebly following that one random idea straight into hell. The second of my most negative traits that comes to mind is another bizarre mental gymnastics routine, only this one has the capacity to essentially turn those around me into the voices of doubt that swirl and storm inside my head. As I mentioned in a post from the past couple of days, I have the capacity to convince myself that I am some type of ultra-open and enlightened person while simultaneously blocking so much out of my mind and turning down countless opportunities to grow outside of what I find to be comfortable. In this state, I also have the tendency to give advice to friends through longwinded discussions on Taoism or transcendental meditation, quoting everyone from Lao Tzu to frigging Tony Robbins, and all without realizing that I have a hard time adhering to these healthy practices and principles myself. This essentially leaves me in a state of silent, solitary stuckness within my own mind. When trying to solve a problem, the same philosophers and shamans pipe up with their centuries-old wisdom that I lack the conviction to fully embrace, and if I were to go to my friends with these problems (though they have all been very polite and understanding in this regard thus far), they could very easily just turn to me and say, “why don’t you just follow the Tao and look within and all that other hippie stuff you told me to do?” Luckily, both of my worst traits stem from the same deep-seated apprehension to trust myself and the universe that I am a part of. I am fortunate in that this is a unified problem of perspective and while still being a massively negative influence on my life, it is one that I am aware of and that can be steadily reduced until I am free of it entirely. After all, if my over-thinking has caused so many of my problems so far, it’s unlikely that I’ll be willing to put up with it for much longer.


  21. Creative Words: Strip Down

    I played with an acoustic guitar I had at home, just improvising some stuff as usual and then provided an alternate improvisation with a stringed instrument that is not so easy to play. It’s some four string miniature ukulele looking thing that has no frets and very fragile feelings strings.

    I was going to approach the space that I was in as stripped down, but the results weren’t mind blowing so I decided to strip down a huge chunk of my knowledge of music by having to wrestle with a confusing instrument. I hit on some things I liked, and pushed through a potential ending to the improvisation, but it was cool playing with it as if it was some reduced version of a guitar.

    Creative Experiment: Looking Out of Bounds

    I feel this is something I am good at. The things I know I am afraid of I tend to seek out and address. Currently my fear is confrontation and I have addressed this a few times recently. I am working in particular on knowing when it is necessary to speak out and when the matter is not as important or deserves a different kind of energy.

    Additionally, I know I feel uncomfortable in some class situations. I don’t know how to be the person to take charge of the silence in our classes or other classes when there is not a lot of energy already in the room. I do not know how to face this problem as it doesn’t cause problems in my daily life. I think it is being in groups of people that makes it difficult. I will continue reflecting on this this week.

    Daily Dose: Face Your Flaws

    I am trying to understand my flaws. I fought with my own flaws for so long in such a negative way and finally attained a self love I hadn’t had before that it’s hard to figure out where to start again. As I mentioned above, I do have flaws that I know about, but I think I am comfortable enough with the idea of being flawed that I am not driving to change it.

    I say that, but I’m not completely convinced by it. This needs more reflection as well.

    Daily Action: Come Clean

    Today I have discovered that I might not be putting the energy into changing like I thought I was.



  22. Creative Word: Looking Up

    While on the surface this may appear to be a snidely literal interpretation of today’s words, this is actually a very important part of singing that many, including myself, tend to leave on the back burner. For all of the six or seven years that I’ve been playing the song “Yellow Cat(Slash)Red Cat” by Say Anything, I have never once bothered to see what this one particular lyric was. What’s additionally crazy is that I’ve performed this song live on multiple occasions and always just sort of stopped and ducked into the chorus a line or two before it, despite the fact that the climax to this buildup occurs immediately after the line in question. So not only did I never truly learn a song that I’ve “known” for years, but I have been intentionally cutting out one of the most thematically important passages in order to facilitate my continued ignorance. For my first recording, I simulated what it would sound like if I tried to play the song with my current knowledge of the lyrics. I then “looked up” the actual ones and recorded it as it’s meant to sound (and honestly it’s not the most comprehensibly phrased line in the world anyhow. The entire lyrical passage reads: “As I look back at countless crossroads and the middle where I stay/Right up the beaten path to boredom where the fakest fucks get laid/By the faux-finest finds It’s been that way and god damn you, how you stay/With every scummy, crummy hour of the scummy, crummy day [hey hey]” ). As somewhat of a lazy part-time practitioner of the acoustical arts, I am guilty of this many times over. Actually, the bridge in my version of my favourite Elliott Smith song (to sing anyway) has a straight-up guessed chord that doesn’t nearly do the original justice. I suppose the lesson here is that it’s not always a bad thing to have to do a little research to build up a stronger base of knowledge to build a hopefully unique cover on.

    Creative Experiment: Mundane Work

    My procrastination of the mundane affects my life in many ways, but when it starts to interfere with my personal hygiene I tend to draw the line (after a couple days). Often times, I’ll stack up a bunch of mundane things overtop of what I want to do, as an oddly masochistic way of punishing myself for putting things off by putting more things off. These monotonous tasks can actually be very stimulating, however, because, as you said, our minds become free to conceptualize openly and to drift. As creative people, our mind’s primary form of “work” is to invent and innovate which are activities that are near impossible to force. Our best creative work seems to come from our innate creative nature and this best manifests itself when the mind is put to a so-called mindless task and is able to wander. My mundane act today was trimming my nails. I didn’t have to or anything, they probably could’ve gone a few more days, but this allowed my mind to drift along through what types of things I felt like talking about for these here Daily Meds and this little pre-meditation has actually increased the rate at which my ideas are flowing. In fact, there’s an entire subReddit for these types of lucid, mundanity-spurred ideas called r/ShowerThoughts that I highly recommend [www.reddit.com/r/showerthoughts]

    Daily Dose: The Voice of Authority

    This is something that is likely true for creative people as well as everyone else in the world, but the difference is that most are likely unaware that they are stifling their truest voice. It is frighteningly commonplace to live one’s life in constant suppression of the “juvenile” desires that often speak to us most and provide us with true excitement and thereby the most motivation. Part of a creative life is realizing and connecting with this voice and having the guts to tell the physical voices of any naysayers in our lives to politely piss off. We must accept and be attentive to this voice because in the ever-shifting world we inhabit, sometimes this is the only truth.

    Daily Action: Listening to Intuition

    I actually did a bit of silent reflecting in this vein when I woke up today and it was very freeing to sort of escape “the cycle” before even commencing it. I’ve decided due to recent events that maybe my brain isn’t the best guy to listen to and I learned this from observing how much my brain interferes with how I interpret what my heart is trying to say. Slightly disturbed by this finding and a little annoyed that I’ve been letting this happen for so long, I’ve been trying to increase my synchronicity with my intuition, both in life as well as creatively. A strengthened bond here would greatly lessen the amount of erosion that my thoughts are subjected to by flying around so furiously in the convoluted channels of my mind and would allow a more direct flow of my most genuine self into the outside world.


  23. Creative Word: Looking Up

    I recorded myself improvising some banjo. Before I even got to the creative word I was feeling fairly satisfied with my approach to improvising today. I know truly free improvisation does not need form, but I feel that I have not been actually engaging my brain in some situations and been content with making noise and justifying it later. Today there was actually a central element to return to.

    I reimagined this improvisation just by looking away from the banjo. I route my playing on some visual relationships you an find on the fret board and tried to limit that. I noticed that I felt my way through a couple of frets to find the thing I was looking for.

    Creative Experiment: Mundane Work

    I actually allow myself to get distracted by mundane work more than I should. Sometimes when the creativity isn’t flowing I move to the mundane before I really give creativity a try. I have been pushing instead to actually work on my creative things when I actually don’t feel like it.

    Daily Dose: The Voice of Authority

    I spend a lot of time questioning my intuition because I perceive it as being the intuition of many. I try to be as contrary as I can to what I consider normal thoughts. I think my personal intuition is to challenge my own desires and alter my mental pathways so that I may push to new places. I have settled down and sought beauty that I find intuitive lately, but I need to readdress the things that got me to where I am. I feel that I have my unique outlook and want to challenge it even further. As I have said before, I have attained a certain comfort with the friends I have recently made because we are similarly minded, but I think I need to go further and consider challenging the things that I find interesting.

    A major consideration from today is to explore all view points seriously. I am not a religious person, but I appreciate the intelligence that it takes for one kind of thinker to explore his opposing view (David Hume and Dostoyevsky did this). I want to know the reasons other people have for holding opinions that I do not hold. Even though I don’t have faith in this way, I have learned fascinating things about the limitations of knowledge, formal logic, and the language of debate. I want to explore other cultures without being amazed only by their novelty, but what it takes for a person to believe what they believe.

    This train of thought came from a business mindset. Things came from conformity, moved to extreme individualism, and into multiculturalism (ethnomusicology, the collaboration between the West and Indian music or African music). I think the next step I want to think about is not only adopting new mindsets that I agree with, but to sample from mindsets that I don’t agree with and consider them equally.

    Daily Action: Listening to Intuition

    My intuition is telling me to orient my sources of entertainment back to things relating to philosophy and science. The shows I have been watching lately I feel have been negatively impacting the flow of my creativity because the humour occurs on a surface level, even the intelligence that drives it is somehow different than the debates I used to watch.

    I have begun watching a different YouTuber talk about philosopher Francis Bacon and Descarte and I already feel my mind returning to the way that made me so happy before. More creative channels are returning to me and fuelling ideas for my pieces already in progress.



  24. Daily Meds #37

    Creative Word: Light

    Due to my current lack of DAW access, I had to create one continuous recording to embody both the before and after aspects of today’s word. Luckily I realized this while in the middle of recording and left a nice, awkwardly long and hesitant-sounding pause in between the two different segments. Today, rather than doing another exploration of overall heaviness versus overall lightness, I decided I would attempt to convey how a “lighter” and less busy-sounding rhythm can change a song’s vibe. To accomplish this, I recorded an acoustic rendition of Sublime’s “Badfish,” with the first verse adhering to the regular off-beat up-stroke reggae chord feel and with the next being relatively arrhythmic and more simply shaped chords. The second, “lighter” attempt at the song really does change the song’s entire feeling and turns it from a fairly standard surf-ska party song into a more mellow, introspective piece, really highlighting how important rhythmic vibe is to the way a song feels.

    Creative Experiment: Tearing Down Problematic Truths

    Firstly, the truths: 1.) No one has any particularly strong vision or otherwise directional opinions 2.) We are afraid to be assertive enough with one another to get things done 3.) We have too many options 4.) We get ahead of ourselves too quickly 5.) We try to be too collaborative and inclusive. Secondly, the reconsideration: 1.) It’s not that our visions aren’t strong, it’s that we seldom take the initiative to push them through for fear of looking controlling, which nicely segues into our second problem. 2.) While we are apprehensive about personally taking charge over a group situation, we are still quite vocal when we have strong opinions, which is something that has been getting better at an increasingly quick rate. 3.) While we often blame our vast selection of potential projects for our lack of output, we should be thankful to have such power at our fingertips. It is not our massive amount of resources that holds us back but our indecisive nature. 4.) When writing songs, we lose a lot of steam by working out post-production elements too early into the songwriting process, but at the same time this hints at the type of decisiveness and purity of vision that we need to embrace in order to get some results. 5.) Yes, our want to have every member actively included in all stages of our process may sometimes take away from the development of an individual person’s strongest idea, but this fundamentally comes from a good place, just as most of these problems do. We simply want everyone to have as much fun and be as fulfilled as humanly possible and when you strip it all away, that’s not such a negative thing after all.

    Daily Dose: Tune In

    Taking time for a bit of a mental break every day is not only a loving thing to do for oneself but, as it’s becoming clear to me, a seemingly vital part of functional adult life. If we don’t take the time to properly attune our minds, our bodies and our spirits, we are not living as fully as we deserve, and deep down we know this. The most difficult part of forcing oneself blindly forward is the inescapable call from within that implores us to slow down and take some time to recharge. This is a troubling voice to encounter amidst a self-imposed stream of increasingly frantic overthinking because this voice is not only totally contrary to our auto-complicating way of operating but also because the wise authority of this message is almost unignorable. The seasoned frantic thinker is highly skilled at immediately repackaging this very human need for rest as laziness, pushing it back down within where it festers and generates guilt over one’s nature which bleeds into and infects other areas of life. This type of strictly-enforced disconnection and refusal to confront and collaborate with oneself then leads to decisions based on such perversely twisted tangents that we sometimes can’t even effectively trace where these negative impulses came from in the first place. These are all symptoms of a basic unwillingness to admit that we don’t have all of the answers and that running ourselves ragged is unlikely to coax them out. Once we get over and let go of these unforgiving personal traps and begin to value our spiritual health though, we can begin to liberate ourselves to a higher plane of self-acceptance and love.

    Daily Action: Tune Up

    This is quite a poignant metaphor for musicians to apply to their level of internal peace. Many creative individuals are prone to a perspective that focuses on maniacally obsessive work schedules and a bizarre compulsive honour that comes with one’s self destruction for this higher cause. Unfortunately it is often not until we’ve burnt ourselves out completely that we realize that on the fairly self-involved journey to bringing one’s creativity to life, the personal health of our creative spirit should be a much higher priority. Modern society has a strange way of viewing all forms of meditation as luxurious expenditures of time for people who “aren’t busy enough.” On the contrary, meditation represents a necessity for true, meaningful happiness that has been cleverly framed as a frivolity in order to maintain a more materialistic society. If people knew the wealth of serenity that waits just out of ordinary sight, they wouldn’t feel that their emptiness will be fulfilled by shelling out the money for the latest iPhone, which is certainly not very good for business. On the flip side, connecting with this inner beacon of purity is what transforms a perceived world of random and frightening possibilities into an eternal and elegant collaborative dance that one must merely step into and take part in.



  25. Creative Word: Light

    I started off with kind of a loud drum session. I just wanted to practice shaking up a couple of tendencies I felt I had been having and thought I would record that. After reading the word, I realized that my playing is consistently quite heavy, especially on the kick drum (my kick technique needs some work overall), and that this heaviness is a tendency I haven’t really considered addressing my volume as a tendency until now. I listened to and played with a song called Sheath and Knife. This is a traditional Irish song remade by a former professor of mine. The song is fairly soft and pushes me to stay in line with it.

    I noticed that I backed off of playing the kick drum and changed my sticks a couple of times (even though I intended not to be so obvious about playing ‘lighter’).

    Creative Experiment: Tearing Down Problematic Truths

    My current problems:

    Making time to write

    I can make more time than I have been. I have invested too much time in entertainment lately, but have been getting back on track with this.

    Committing to write for a long enough time to see progress

    I have been working on this as well. ‘There’s no such thing as failure’ applies well here. I usually see progress right after hitting a wall.

    Looking/waiting for inspiration

    For some reason I feel I have to do research to get my pieces going. Whether it’s internal research for what I think would be cool, or research on new philosophy or new science, I tend to put off the actual writing so that everything can fall into place mentally. I have been on a good streak of inspiration, but I seem to have triggered it by just sitting and writing anyway.

    Not practicing enough

    This comes down to scheduling habits I have gotten myself into. I spend far too much time at home instead of at school where I can be around my instrument. I also take the idea that I am an improviser as an excuse to not practice, when in reality I have specific weaknesses I want to overcome in a purely technical sense.

    My pieces/improvs are not achieving their full potential

    I have been spreading myself too thin, therefore not taking enough time with each piece. As I mentioned above, being an improviser gives me a certain sense of comfort when it comes to responsibility with some of my music. I haven’t really crafted a piece in a while (except for today).

    Daily Dose: Tune In

    I agree entirely with this, I have been tapping into the things that drive my creativity and cutting out the things that hinder them. I feel ‘tuned’ when my creative channels flow more freely and I begin to generate too many ideas. This has been happening to me for the first time in a while. I will only touch on the things I have been doing lately because I have listed them multiple times:

    Reading classics, reading/listening to people speak about philosophy in an academic way, TedTalks have been useful, listening to music that is more difficult to grasp in traditional ways, painting, making myself write even when uninspired, and attempting to properly consider every piece of information that I can. There is a world inside every word and concept I interact with, I just have to awaken to them and be willing to explore these depths.

    Daily Action: Tune Up

    I have been doing this and will continue to do this. Exercising is a method of tuning that I really want to stick with, but I find it is the easiest to sacrifice. I will attempt to do something slightly active every day. It makes me feel more confident, and feeling like a better person makes me want to be consistent in other areas of my life.


  26. I would define my Tune in/tune up ideas as meditation. I read Adam’s post and it makes more sense for me to consider them that way. It is peaceful and often allows my mind to extend beyond myself and onto humanity as a whole.


  27. Daily #38

    Creative Word: Discover

    Though today’s recording is just one take, it’s the truest reflection of the daily word that I have made to date. Being at my dad’s this weekend, I’ve been trying to find a way to incorporate my baby sisters in a recording while not straying too far from topic relevance. Today’s word provided the perfect opportunity for this. While I originally intended to try and sort of trick them into singing a song (my best idea was to somehow coax their frequently-said greeting of “HAAAI!” into the chorus of Radiohead’s “High and Dry” but thankfully it didn’t get to that point) but they ended up “discovering” something before I could even try to contrive something. They were automatically fascinated by my dad’s old acoustic guitar, just as I had been for as long as I can remember, walking right over for a closer look as soon as I brought it in the room. Within a couple of seconds and with a bit of demonstration, they had already picked up the concept of strumming. I then held the guitar so that they could both access the bridge area while arranging my left hand to form some simple chords. After getting a bit of a feel for the strings, they were even able to operate the pick by themselves which I didn’t expect at all and all I had to do was play chords and keep them away from the pointy bits on head of the guitar. Of course, the picking soon devolved into about 10 minutes of their new favourite game: the drop-the-pick-inside-the-guitar-and-laugh-at-Adam-feebly-trying-to-shake-it-out game. This was a beautiful experience and one that really surprised me. Just as with everything that I get to vicariously witness through them, it was absolutely magical to watch them discover the guitar, and especially on the very same one that I made my discovery on all those years ago.

    Creative Experiment: Progress

    This seems like a really nice and simple way to structure one’s process, which is something that I always considered to be a nice but unlikely objective for myself. It’s fairly easy for a creative person, being constantly immersed in the jumbled mess that is their own creative mind, to consider their process to be utterly incomprehensible, random and impossible to nail down. However, this is somewhat of a disingenuous over-complication and very much sounds like a production of the ego trying to aggrandize its own individuality. If anyone is able to realistically break down a creative process, it’s certainly the person who acts as its vessel. My goal for today will be recording our most insane and innovative free-jam yet. While we would usually “just kinda hit record and go for it,” there are some very important but seemingly small steps along the way that are very much worth acknowledging and carrying out: 1.) Listen to yesterday’s recording and make changes to our setup based on what we don’t like, 2.) Reconfigure microphones based on what we’ve observed in past recordings, 3.) Apply new filters, distortions, EQs, compressors and effects for guitar, bass and vocals, 4.) Establish and incorporate synth tones, 5.) Dream up a musically abstract word, phrase or image to “base” our improvisations off of so as to subtly add some vague direction to our energy 6.) Hit record, 7.) Let go, 8.) Listen to recording, 9.) Edit as necessary for at least slight sonic palatability 10.) Play with effects to make the recording even stranger

    Daily Dose: Serendipity

    It’s always beneficial to try and view events in our life from as much of a neutral standpoint as possible, especially if our goal is connecting with the richness of our creative spirit and using these experiences to express ourselves honestly. I am certainly guilty of misinterpreting and overdoing the idea of using one’s experiences to create, often resulting in redundant content or, in the best-case scenario, weeks of obsessively forcing myself to revel in the negative emotion that I am writing about. For many years I operated under the misconception that in order to create something that would evoke my specific feeling in the listener, I had to torture myself by keeping my head firmly stuck in the most sensitive and difficult aspects of the issue. I would spend as long as possible pouring over the details of a situation, subjecting myself over and over to the (most often) pain that it made me feel, all the while converting my thoughts and feelings into delusionally grandiose lyrics. When I felt I had finished, I would pull myself back up into reality and notice that all I had done was essentially reword the same couple phrases until I’d run out of paper. It wasn’t until slightly later that I began to properly experience and understand the relationship an artist has with the material that their life gives them. It isn’t about dwelling on the personal impact of an event and hoping that the listener will sympathize, it’s about extending a hand to someone else in a similar situation. No one turns on a song thinking, “I wonder how this singer has been feeling, I’d really like an in-depth look into their personal emotions.” Music speaks to people because it is written in such a way that it is honest and intimate but that is also just barely mysterious enough to allow for relation. It is a much more powerful experience to hear something that feels like total understanding than it is to be told literally about how something in someone’s life is relatable.

    Daily Action: Acceptance

    This is something that I try to work on as much as possible but is a process that I am prone to over-analyzing, thereby bringing myself back to cynicism. This is also a piece of advice that I am pretty quick to administer and is one that is very much easier said than done, all of which lessens its legitimacy whenever I call upon it sincerely. As with anything, learning to interpret one’s experiences differently takes time and persistence. It is a steady reversal of antiquated and self-destructive patterns and is about gently restoring a neutral balance. It is not one’s job or concern to change the nature of the world and taking on such overbearing and ultimately unfulfillable responsibilities only makes it more difficult to connect with the universe in a meaningful and healthy way.



  28. Creative Word: Discover

    I started by recording myself firing a trumpet at my Zoom mic (which was sitting on my acoustic). My beginning intention was to just pickup the strings that resonated after, so I overdrove the mic intending to cut out the trumpet part. I thought the trumpet sounded incredibly cool – I play four times, and the final shot is the best, it sounds like a record scratching. The mic clips hard and gives the trumpet a lot of interesting harmonic content. I added some distortion in the second play through of this to bring out that content, ‘discovering’ more of it’s constituent parts, and hopefully discovering a melody or musical line buried in it. It was still noise at this point so I threw an EQ on it for the final run to see what was hiding in all of the mush and found a small sort of cadence in it.

    First time is four shots with compression

    Second time is four shots with overdrive

    Third time is only the final shot with an EQ boost at 235Hz

    Creative Experiment: Creative Progress

    I just found out that this is a philosophy of Rene Descartes and took it as inspiration for myself, but hadn’t actually acted on it. In my current piece I need to:

    work out my harmonic breakdown

    reconsider my concept and how much I may break the concept to allow it to be music

    talk to french horn players and ask them if the pitches I have written are reasonable/sustainable for long periods of time

    sit with my accordion and work out some chords that I want to use after the breakdown occurs. the accordion is my easiest approach

    –> work out the rhythm of each pitch from these accordion chords

    reconsider my opening. I have an opening that at this point is severely outweighed by the middle. I am considering ‘assembling the machine’ at the beginning instead of just ‘turning on the machine’ (these are terms from my concept)

    the ending will probably begin to shape itself more clearly as I answer these questions

    work out how the harmonic series shall be used over the main melody

    —> how many instruments will be involved, high/low pitch

    —> will this indicate the breakdown is coming or happen following the breakdown?

    should the main melody return? How?

    Daily Dose: Serendipity

    As I mentioned yesterday, there is a world to uncover beneath every word and occurrence. When I am in the mindset of embracing every event as important and somehow meaningful, I am more ready to explore these hidden worlds. I can be triggered by simple ideas or words to explore some new thought.

    I picked up on some music in a video game my roommate was playing today which inspired a musical idea in me. It’s not that I just liked the melody, but the old genre that this modern artist was able to recreate inspired a new step for my brass piece.

    Daily Action: Acceptance

    I didn’t really have any bad stuff happy to me today. I found out my mom is going into surgery for her eyes sometime soon. It hadn’t even crossed my mind to designate that as good or bad and to consider from a higher awareness. I don’t fear for her, I have confidence that the operation will go well. I suppose if I was to dig into this I would consider the mechanics of the eye and maybe reinterpret some of these mechanisms over to hearing and try and work out some interesting things between these two senses, but I hadn’t really considered it.

    I have otherwise had a fairly good day. I had a successful rehearsal with some people I asked to meet me to run through this piece of music. It is heavily improvised, and I was worried that there was a lack of preparation on my part and that I might spring too much on my musicians, but they handled it incredibly well. The piece is just a single melody without many rhythmic indicators, but with a number of instructions to tell the player how to vary the repeats. I want to take this as a sign that beautiful things can come from simplicity. I hope to produce more melodies than I have and keep them as such. There is something about homophony that stands out to me among the very complex music I interact with and write.


  29. Daily Meds #39

    Creative Word: Gnawing Sound

    For today’s recording I am further exploring the concept of audible emotion in the human voice and vocal “acting” versus the sound of a genuine feeling. In order to convey a “gnawing sound,” I chose another Radiohead song, this time being “Fake Plastic Trees.” This song immediately jumped out at me for these words because of a certain personal connection that it has with a certain person of a certain significance at this point in my life, as well as its way of perfectly summarizing certain feelings about a certain situation (in short: “this song reminds me of a girl”). Seeing as the aforementioned situation has a tendency to relentlessly gnaw at my brain, I figured I’d see how it sounded to have it intentionally gnaw at my voice for a change. On the first take, I sang the song in a quiet and reserved manner, attempting to blend my chest voice with falsetto for smoother transitions into some of the higher notes while just concentrating on playing the song. The second time, however, I revelled in my most inflammatory and agonizing memories and kept my eyes fixed on an object in my room that often evokes these feelings, hitting the high notes harder than I know I should and just absolutely seething in selfish, overblown emotion. The results were audibly erratic vibrato, big and ugly-sounding voice breaks and the overall impression that the person singing is just moments away from both vomiting and bursting into tears, and that’s essentially what I was going for (except maybe with a touch of subtlety here and there). Today’s recording really shows the limit for how self-pitying one can sound without it being uncomfortable for the listener, a phenomenon I shall hereby be referring to as the “whine line.” It’s all well and fine ’til you pass the whine line (as they’ll say).

    Creative Experiment: Losing Perfection

    Honestly, it is likely this shift in thinking that would allow me to advance to a level of output that would let me feel more adequate as an artist. Things are easy when your work is somewhat of a secret and the pressures of perception are only a faint possibility on the horizon. After one has put something out into the world, however, those who have beheld it begin to wonder when more will be coming, and depending on their closeness with the artist, can begin to drive the creator fairly insane. God forbid people like the work; it is infinitely more difficult to overcome the psychological hurdle of making a follow-up to something beloved than it is to produce something that simply improves on what was previously created. It is in this final stage, just on the cusp of completion, where many artists teeter in anxiety, painstakingly overanalyzing every possible angle and assessing every potential criticism or disappointment that may be unknowingly woven into their work. Despite all this, there is comfort in the thought that art is merely a signal to be received and interpreted by the minds of those who experience it. Art can never be truly finished without that vital communicative act of having it be processed through the perspective of another, just as how there is no sound without an ear to hear it. As Paul Gauguin said, “Do not finish your work too much. An impression is not sufficiently durable for its first freshness to survive a belated search for infinite detail; in this way you let the lava grow cool…”

    Daily Dose: Anger is a Gift

    This silent and toxic inner-anger is likely one of the root causes behind many of the personal creative hindrances that so often hold me back. For too long I would dwell on the specifics of my negative feelings, hoping to imbue my music with strikingly representative pathways to my exact emotions. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts however, this has mostly lead to my writing of very long-winded and surprisingly diverse ways of saying the exact same thing over and over again. Sure, maybe they sound cool sometimes and maybe a few lines here and there are really attention-grabbing, but as a whole, such songs would ring hollow rather quickly for perceptive listeners and aren’t even overly satisfying for the artist to create. The antidote to this is being honest with oneself and letting the anger melt away as it is dealt with. Keeping one’s mind extendedly clouded with this frustration in hopes of making something more emotionally pure is, in itself, disingenuous. I once thought that musicians “got over” what they wrote about simply by practicing songs into meaninglessness, but I now realize that things aren’t so black and white. One does not have to be angry to perform an angry song, just as one does not have to pretend to be angry to pull it off either. Songs resonate with people because the person who wrote them simply put down how they felt without distorting or concentrating any aspects of it. The magic of a song lies not in creating a perfect emotional document of an experience, but rather in expressing something openly and in a way that is honest with oneself.

    Daily Action: Experiencing Healthy Anger

    This is a good time in my life to be considering how to deal with anger because, as part of the process of coming into adulthood, I am seeing that very little in my life is worthy of outright fury, but that many small things suppressed for long enough boil together into an overall negativity that then stains every other feeling one may have. Though I have become quite good at rationalizing my negative emotions, a petty part of me can’t help but cling to the little bits of residual rage left over from semi-recent experiences, as if it plans on spewing them all out at some vile target, instantly relieving me of the hurt that I have thus far accumulated and kept. I have to grow to accept that this is only causing me further frustration and that the best revenge is a relaxed state of gentle happiness. As Buddha is often misquoted as saying: “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”



  30. Creative Word: Gnawing Sound

    In my first track I recorded a short bit of myself playing an idea I want to keep for later in a stairwell. It’s some short snaps on my alto saxophone with a weird multiphonic trill at the end of the phrase. I intend to go back to this idea and flesh it out into a song or improv concept later.

    The second time I recorded, I performed a crunchier and ‘blockier’ version of the idea. I snapped out some short multiphonics and trilled a less delicate multiphonic trill. I organically added distortion to my sound, which is what gnawing indicates to me. A sort of gnawing away at the quality of sound like in recording when you reduce bit rate – digital sounds start to poke through.

    Another interpretation of gnawing would be the actual sound of me gnawing on my reed as I play (which really only has one result), and a final interpretation is based on this second one. Gnawing on my reed is almost entirely disgusting to everyone involved, people usually don’t like the sound and it also took a lot of getting used to before I could even deal with the sensation in my teeth. I would want to recreate this sound, but my exploration of extended technique and contemporary music has very much blurred the lines of what sounds good and what does not. I would love to be able to figure out something that I can’t stand playing and something that people can’t stand hearing, just to see what it takes to get there, unfortunately I have not found it yet.

    Creative Experiment: Losing Perfection

    I am letting go of expectations of my current work and finding that by allowing a work to linger in my hands for too long allows me to judge it differently than if I had pushed it to completion during my inspiration. Interests waver or grow as time goes on, and my pieces are an exploration of what I find interesting. I`m sure that is the case with all music, but I know my investigation of science and philosophy for the purpose of inspiring me is continuously informed by new philosophies and ideas that may remove or alter the inspiration that first drove the piece. The thing about music is that it cannot ever communicate the complex ideas that drive these philosophies simply like words can, I use these inspirations to drive music that I couldn`t think of without them, and once the philosophy that drives it wavers in my mind, the whole musical concept is undermined by a seemingly imperfect concept.

    I think I have to have a faster turnaround in order to preserve the perfection in my mind. It also helps to work with deadlines, it very quickly rearranges your priorities.

    Daily Dose: Anger is a gift

    I have allowed myself to stew in anger for a few weeks before I started addressing that in these posts. There was the negativity that pervaded my home life and professional life with certain people I was forced to interact with. I take blame for not making myself confront these issues and for allowing them to fester. I have addressed a major problem with a fellow musician today because I expressed anger at his negativity a week ago. He appreciated my honesty, and he gave me a chance to explain my anger with his behavior. He was disrespectful to a fellow musician (admittedly from a place of insecurity), and my reaction to it was fairly more positive than I expected my anger to sound.

    I still have to see change before I will allow myself to feel more trust in him than I have been feeling, but I at least feel that things have cleared up on this matter and several others.

    Daily Action: Healthy Anger

    Today I spent more time discussing anger than actually feeling anger towards anything. The meeting I mentioned earlier combined with the wonderful weather helped me feel some really inspiring positivity overall.

    In discussing anger, I realized that my own feelings on a discussion my improv class will be having about censorship and being offended is going to lead to anger on either side of this debate. I addressed that I will probably feel anger towards argument that appeal only to emotion (“I was offended by this rap song”), without discussing why that matters. By using their offense as a defense for their position, they are walking on this individuals freedom of expression and it must be handled with a more logical and thought out argument. I have decided that I need to not respond on my first reaction to something that I don’t consider a valid argument. I think my most respectful approach to responding to anger is by making a better argument, instead of addressing faults in another’s reasoning. This isn’t a debate class, or a philosophy class and I don’t think all of these people are versed in making logical arguments (in the philosophical sense).

    I need to consider my argument about the topic more fully to respond in a balanced and respectful way.


  31. Creative Word: Untangle

    For today’s recording, I decided to somewhat literally “untangle” a song that I’ve always wanted to be able to play efficiently. “Strangers” by the Kinks has been in my head ever since seeing it perfectly paired with the beautifully shot funeral sequence from The Darjeeling Limited [http://video.vulture.com/video/The-Darjeeling-Limited-Funeral]. Most songs that are based around simple chords are usually fairly easy to remember, but for some reason (likely the timing of the song) the order of these chords has never really stuck in my mind enough to be played naturally while concentrating on the vocals. The song is played in a weird folky type of swing and is most comfortably counted in 10/8 time which is particularly strange given its seemingly straightforward flow. In order to represent this on a recording, I played what I could of the song from memory and then trailed off where I stopped remembering the chords. I then pulled up the song on a tab website and hit the books. After a few play-throughs the song flowed a little more naturally and after a short time I could remember the order of chords without following along onscreen. Instead of thinking of the song in a line-by-line kind of way, I instead began thinking of the chords in small groups and pairs, focussing more on their relationships with one another for a deeper understanding rather than simple memorization. Whether I’ll be able to remember the song by the end of the day or not remains to be seen however…


    Creative Experiment: Graveyard Test

    This really speaks to every weirdness at my core that makes me who I am (which is a pretty bold statement, but it’s sadly pretty accurate). Ever since reaching the age of sentience, I have consistently held what the adults in my life referred to as a “death fascination.” I can even still remember wanting to leave my pee wee soccer games early to go check out the cemetery on the next property over (I’ll never forget the day that I was disappointed to find out that the grave stones don’t include causes of death). I’ve always over-believed in the paranormal and was always very good at convincing myself of ghostly encounters, all of which likely stemmed from a lifelong unwillingness to accept the cold mundanity of reality. When I got a little older, rather than learning that it’s all bullshit and that I should get on with real life, I instead learned of the human mind’s power to alter its reality and decided that I would happily continue my life of nonsense, which in turn nicely established the base for the creative mind that I try to exploit today. In terms of this experiment, I am very much interested in giving this a shot and will be able to do so in the cemetery behind the Central Fresh Market by the jam hall after class. It can be a profoundly reaffirming and empowering experience to consider the perspective of the dead. This point of view reminds us of what matters most on a very simple, obvious level that one can only truly see after life has passed by completely. We avoid the thought of death to an unrealistic point, giving it a disproportionately negative connotation when in actuality, it is just as important as life. There would be no meaning to life whatsoever without death, just as how there would be no light without darkness. Death can teach us quite a bit yet is something that has become almost a taboo. As Franz Wright’s poem, “Thoughts of a Solitary Farmhouse,” says:

    “And not to feel bad about dying.
    Not to take it so personally—
    it is only
    the force we exert all our lives
    to exclude death from our thoughts
    that confronts us, when it does arrive,
    as the horror of being excluded— . . .
    something like that, the Canadian wind
    coming in off Lake Erie
    rattling the windows, horizontal snow
    appearing out of nowhere
    across the black highway and fields like billions of white bees.”

    Daily Dose: Money

    My life and my perception of money’s value has run in somewhat of an opposing direction to how I imagine most developed this sense. At a young age, money wasn’t a thing that was discussed very openly in my family but was something that was treated with a slight reverence. My brother and I felt it was rude to ask specifically how much something costed, but were raised to appreciate the monetary sacrifices of others no matter the actual comparative cost. Without being immersed much in the literal world of what one thing costs compared to another, any expenditure of money on our behalf was an equally meaningful privilege and any amount sounded staggering. As I grew, my perception of “twunny bucks” being a massive sum of money started to level out into reality a bit more and I started to wonder why people spent money at all on a lot of things. By the legal working age, I was forcefully nudged into a dishwashing position at the uptown bar Ethel’s Lounge which was a position I held for about three months before quitting and not working again until I was about 18. In fact, the day I committed the cathartic act of quitting also happened to be the same day that I saw “Into The Wild,” which, as a collective experience with my “take-this-job-and-shove-it-ing,” firmly cemented the idealistic and hippie-centric view of money that I proudly carry today. This worked very well with being a musician too because it’s like I’ve already uncovered the entrance to my vast cave of wealth and unimaginable riches but it just so happens to be within my own soul. Now I can just carry out the rest of my days diving into massive dunes of metaphorical gold coins like Scrooge McDuck, happy as a goddamned clam.

    Daily Action: Give Encouragement

    Though many opportunities of this kind arise in the context of our mutual musical predicament as a band, I can think of many chances that I would have during an average writing/recording/stagnation session to offer some positive reaffirmation, and most of the time I try and do so. This is fairly ordinary though so to truly spread some positivity today I plan on doing this for my coworkers and classmates if given the opportunity. I spend a lot of time wrapped up in my own compulsive thought cycles which has the unfortunate side-effect of somewhat of a general detachedness from my present moment a lot of the time and especially during more monotonous activities like working. Conversations are usually pretty standard and inconsequential for the most part, but these moments of mundanity are the perfect opportunities to inject some optimism into our mostly bored lives. The smallest positive remark at the right time could set off a chain reaction of subtle inspiration that could lead to people that I don’t even know exist and that’s a truly beautiful consequence of one of the simplest loving acts that we can do for one another.



  32. Creative Word: Untangle

    I really like this word. It seems really rich with ideas and I’m glad I chose to do my original recording with a guitar because it seems perfectly suited to a stringed instrument. Lately I have been doing a lot of improv on guitar and banjo. There’s something about the random sound of a guitar that is so much more pleasing to me than a classical or rock method. Notes/chords driven by logic and tradition. Through my improvisations I have become very fond of a lot of finger movement. I notice that my fingers are almost tripping over each other because I reach to the least comfortable note in order to shake up my playing and I will more often accidentally find good intervals in this way. Because I am not an amazing guitarist, I am always kind of on the edge of my technique and at risk of ‘tangling’ my fingers up. The second recording is of me playing with only my pointer finger ever on the fretboard. The results were not amazing, but they were different than usual. It demanded more thoughtfulness in my playing. By allowing myself to get tangled up, I only rely on uncertainty to play for me (which is a wonderful tool, but it’s worth changing up now and again), by untangling myself, I take what uncertainty has taught me and try to do something particular with it.

    Not ground breaking discovery, but I am very interested in tangle/untangle concept.

    Creative Experiment: Graveyard Test

    I don’t know where any graveyards are around me, but I think the point of this is to compare the problems in your mind with reality. There was some heavy feelings hitting me last night for some reason. I think it’s probably to do with the end of school and the fear of moving on and who I am leaving behind. Normally I am pretty comfortable with moving on to a new thing, and I can justify it to myself all day long but not get past the feeling. I instead put my small challenge into the universe. I consider the lightyears of history pouring from the sky, the indifference of the stars and planets, and the reality of what will follow from pursuing my goal vs. not pursuing it. The universe is always useful for putting things into perspective for me. Surrounded by indifference, it doesn’t make me said but gives me a lot of clarity and appreciation for having these opportunities.

    Stay and finish my second degree at Laurier, or move to Montreal so I can try to find some success with my friends. I am not lacking the privilege to do anything, and whenever I have felt these feelings, it has always been followed by a positive feeling. Good will come of this no matter my decision. There is no right choice and there is no wasted time.

    Daily Dose: Money

    Money was the thing that drove me when I began. I began as a guitarist who wanted to be the next Angus Young, partly because he was liked and partly because he had such beautiful gear and I assumed a large house and lots of money etc.

    Priorities have definitely changed since then. I started moving into a phase that sounded more like ‘I just want to make enough to survive, if we got famous, that would be nice’, which was a healthier point of view, but not totally honest. Sort of a false modesty there. In the last few years, music itself has more simply become an expression of spirituality in a way. I find it difficult to define my spirituality except as something that reveres the great history of humans, Earth, nature in general. Music still is a dominating role in my life, but it is in some ways less of an end in itself. There is a lot wrapped up in these thoughts, and I don’t know how to explain them further yet, because I think I could just contradict myself over and over when I try and pinpoint what exactly it is for me, but in the end, it is no longer for money. I feel more genuine happiness with sharing my ideas to a receptive friend than just putting on a good concert. There is a lot of room to grow still, I don’t know in what way – maybe just to be even more genuine with myself than I am.

    Daily Action: Give Encouragement

    I encouraged a couple of musicians that played for me earlier today to feel free with what they contribute. I love when people don’t treat me like a composer, but as a fellow musician because then they just try to please me less and please the song more. I offered them my thanks and gratitude after the performance.


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