The Mike Post Area

Please post the rest of 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.


47 thoughts on “The Mike Post Area

  1. I didn’t see a new assignment posting for the recording part yet. Did I miss it somewhere?

    Creative Word: Congregation

    I accidentally posted this in reverse, but the idea for this is I got a bunch of friends to play on the banjo I had. Some people tapped on it, some people played it with a violin bow and some strummed weird parts off the fretboard. The congregation element is obvious but mostly it came from a recording opportunity that I missed five minutes before that when one friend naturally came to me and started playing on the banjo.

    It was fun, I love doing this stuff. When we were talking about multiple people covering the drum parts to a song, this is where my mind went. Multiple people bumping elbows like this over one instrument is always a blast.

    Creative Experiment: Creative Gardening

    I planted a couple of seeds yesterday. They burst out of this frustration for how much work I have had lately. Three ideas emerged. All were for improvising ensemble. Today I cultivated these ideas further with my professor who helped to hit key words that grew these ideas from beginning to end.

    I feel that this metaphor doesn’t help to drive the ideas any differently than if I had tried to think them through, but today happened to be a positive day for the cultivation and growth of ideas.

    Daily Dose: Little by Little

    I don’t understand the first part of this concept: ‘our higher conscious already knows the outcome’. It goes on to say that fear and doubt set in when we think towards the future. I find the opposite with myself, thinking towards the future of a piece gives me hope for the work that I am doing and reorients the goals I am working towards. I appreciate the concept of ‘little by little’ as taking small steps towards a goal, but I don’t work only with trust that my higher conscious knows something that I don’t. I know that I can see the end of any piece I begin and make beautiful music no matter what.

    The second part of this (magical bird) clicks well with me. I was thinking of this the other day. My frustrations with my current work or feelings of inadequacies when considering other composers’ work are diminished when I consider I once (many times) felt inadequate on my instrument, or felt inadequate in some other way that is insignificant now. It’s very refreshing to see through those eyes again and consider how much more confident I am with these things now.

    Daily Action: Trust

    again I think I work in an opposite way from this. My mind gets most fired up while I am working or engaging with something creative. One creative endeavour sews many seeds, and the cultivation of each seed sews more. I appreciate the intention with this thought, but this is not for me.


  2. Creative Word: Enveloping

    Instead of rerecording the first one, I recontextualized it with a second recording. I started with a drum beat. The gain was high on my zoom mic and sitting on the tom so it picked up a lot of resonance from that. I played fairly soft and got some cool results, but after reading the word, I made a recording of my silent house and got a good room sound. I made the first recording envelop the other one by using EQ to place the recording outside, as if it was some gigantic presence passing over the house. I don’t think it was done extremely well, but that is probably my lack of EQ ability. The concept is there, and I like the idea of reimagining first recordings within the second recording.

    Creative Experiment: Charting a course

    I am doing this with a piece based on Sir Francis Bacon’s concept of the ‘idols of the mind’. There are four idols, things ingrained in humanity that prevents understanding of actual truth and promotes the colouring of truth by investing human concepts on the universe. I used the actual philosophical ideas he used in each idol and used another paper to bridge the gap between philosophy and musical ideas. One of the grander musical concepts is misinterpretation of the solo guitar line. If a guitar plays an ascending scale pattern, a trombone may interpret it as glissing from bottom to top of a certain range because that is a special character of the trombone. A flute may run just a major scale or a different scale, or only fixate on the final note of the scale because it is at the top of the range for the guitar, but in the sweet spot for the flute – like when we hear a key word in a presentation that perks us up and makes us grab onto the topic again. More work to go, but I’m feeling good about it.

    Daily Dose: Hate

    I was going to start by saying I don’t feel hate for anyone, but there are people I would not be glad to see in my life again. I was going to base this on the fact that I don’t give these people the time to bother me because they are out of my life, but to be completely honest, there are ex-girlfriends and friends from the past that I don’t even want to think about because of how they mistreat people or lie or whatever the case may be. I want to say that I am open to the thought of them changing, but I don’t think that I am. There is usually a hot pang of hurt that follows hearing their names or seeing them, and this is something I really don’t know how to overcome. I cannot force myself to forgive them, or act like things are okay around these people.

    I don’t think this is what you were getting at with this specific post, but I wanted to face an honest look at whether I actually don’t hate anyone. With all my push for positivity, there are negative blips in my past that I don’t feel ready to overcome. I don’t think that this is unhealthy, I address problems and confront negative behaviour from my other friends who I want to maintain friendships with (I did this like 3 days ago), but these go into feelings of betrayal and some really firmly rooted things that would take a strong desire from both people to want to fix, and that’s just not the case. There are 7 billion people on the Earth, I’d rather carry the lesson on from history than spend all my energy on particular friendships/relationships that don’t work.

    Daily Action: Forgiveness

    I am trying to forgive myself for an improvisation concept I am sort of beating myself up over after a bad rehearsal. It wasn’t well received and it wasn’t played very well (mostly lack of instruction or lack of being engaged by the concept). It has led me to ask questions about what I am trying to accomplish with each piece, and to ask what kind of communication is lacking. These ideas are fully formed when I talk about them, but something is lost along the way. I think I have come to the realization that I write these pieces with myself in mind, as if I am every player of the ensemble. I know how I would respond to these ideas, but I don’t think towards the musicians I am using as much. This is the positive discovery from this failed attempt today.


  3. Creative Word: Opposites

    For this recording I clapped my hands in a small room with reflective walls and a buzzy delay. I clapped a few times on different parts of my hand to see how the room would respond. To fulfill the ‘opposite’ aspect of the assignment, I found out that I could clap my hands in reverse by creating suction between both hands and pulling apart quickly. It’s a bit gimmicky or silly, but I had difficulty thinking of this in terms different than just reversing a concept. The sound was very quiet and so I experimented with ways of amplifying it without boosting the gain (I did this recording on my phone). I put a glass tube next to the microphone about halfway through and caught some interesting sounds with it.

    Creative Experiment: Stereotypes

    I like looking into the definitions of these words sometimes to get me going. The definition for this one is:

    a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.

    Oversimplification is important here, the reduction of some major philosophical ideas to something akin to sound bites is only useful for people who are aware of the full concept in the first place. In the same way, I find that new/experimental or free music is easy to stereotype as weird, or music that a child/non-musician could make. My instinct is to dig into that idea and see what a child would actually play. There’s something different about somebody playing new music with high technical skill and confidence that makes it sound purposeful. I am going to look up videos of new musicians playing an instrument and see how I could musically notate it. I will investigate this next week when my orchestra piece is out of my way and I have time to discover this new approach.

    Daily Dose: Love those we do not like

    I practice this a lot and see the most benefit from working with musicians who have different musical direction than I do. In the first place it will often introduce new concepts or techniques that I never would have encountered through practicing my own genre.

    Secondly, it has helped me to build confidence in my own ideas. By working with people I don’t expect to get along with, I have come to the realization that their opinions are as valid as mine. It took a lot of thinking to come to the realization that a person expressing an idea is not infallible. Better decisions might be made if a person was willing to step up and offer their own solutions. Through embracing other people that I did not expect to like, I developed a lot of confidence in how I could personally contribute to a situation.

    My friend will also be coming up in a week. He and I very rarely get along on specific matters regarding music. I found that I would dislike most things that he said he liked in a certain album we were both listening to, yet I have used this as a measure of my own growth – if I can make myself find something pleasant in the things he liked, I would grow personally and musically. I still find many of his opinions counter intuitive, and some downright weird, but I appreciate attempting to love this gap, especially since we have an oddly good time making music together.

    Daily Action: Acceptance

    I got to hear a leak of a new Modest Mouse album with one of their weirdest songs ever fairly early in the album. Pistol challenged my opinion of Modest Mouse’s direction at first, but I quickly grew to love how bizarre the song is. I haven’t embraced many other situations for acceptance today, but I will keep thinking in these terms.


    • I reread the creative word and realized it was opposition, not opposites. To reconsider my clapping recording, I may have instead incorporated some muffling techniques to oppose the rooms natural response to the claps. The definition is resistance or dissent. My intention would be to resist the natural sound of the room. Or to be more interesting, I would alter the reflective qualities by putting up large mirrors and taking out furniture if I could have.


  4. I don’t like making excuses, but I’m not ignoring what you are asking of me. I’ve been continuing my streak of writing until 5 am to get this piece done and I’ve come so close to completing it without finding much time to sit on a park bench and observe people. I have done different kinds of meditation to keep in line with my current goals for this piece while not totally burning myself out. Taking the time to read Frankenstein, for example, has been a huge help in letting me complete this piece.

    I hope you’ll go slightly easy on these for the next couple of days just because of where my priorities have to be right now. I’ll show you what I’ve been working on when it’s complete or you can see the student composer concert on the 25th of March at 8PM.

    Creative Word: Use an old technique

    I am applying this to my composition: I had large lengths of repeating ideas that didn’t do anything very interesting, so I used this botched bounce of my piece from Sibelius as inspiration to drive the ‘mechanical breakdown’. It seems sort of an old technique to take inspiration from random, non-personal things like this. Sort of a typical composition technique, and I had pretty much ignored the recording until day and it’s giving me a pretty nice feature in the piece.

    Creative Word: Luxuriance

    I am doing a second one so that I don’t avoid looking at the daily med until I am ready to record something. Everyday will now be staggered a little bit to keep me honest about not looking at the word before I record.

    The most useful definition of luxuriance for me is “the property of being lush and abundant and a pleasure to the senses”. I am taking cues from composers like Gabrielli who my trombone friend referred me to today and incorporating an abundance of horns. This was the plan for a while and then I was less adamant about it, but in my first attempt of doing the daily action, I listened to some Gabrielli, and the brilliance of such a collection of horns really inspired me to round up more musicians and give this piece the quality of sound I think it deserves.

    Creative Experiment: Watching

    I could not do this one exactly. I spent my day not really observing anyone except at one point my friend liberated me from this lonely day by helping me decide if my piece was worth performing. The interesting thing is that it didnt’ even give me that much insight into our differences. He actually was pretty positive towards my work and didn’t give me many suggestions for how to improve on this piece. I thought maybe that I could incorporate the creative experiment into our interaction but it didn’t really help me.

    Daily Dose: Disposable Music & Musicians

    There’s always a weird feeling I get at the thought of being a session musician. I think the change is valuable and good and leads to new things, but session work only gives people a chance to scratch the surface of that particular musicians value and for that musician to scratch the surface of the song that he/she is working on. Having a steady working relationship is important to the creation of a piece for me. If I know that I’m just some throw away player for a gig/recording, I don’t really care what happens. Alternately, when ever some sort of partnership feels as though it is dissolving or thinning out, it feels like a great loss to me. Even if the band was never going to see success or a very long future.

    I appreciate the 5 words that you posted with this. I have written them down in my composition book, and will probably transfer them to other places that I can see them daily.

    Daily Action: No Expiry Dates

    I am listening to a piece by Rachmaninoff because I don’t really know his music. I want to comment on how much more engaging symphony work is now that I have worked on something with a similar grandeur (but a sliver of the content/length/complexity). Suddenly I see it as a fellow craftsman and it’s almost painful to realize how simple I am. I think I have done good work and I am listening to a professional orchestra play this far better than the musicians I have picked might play my piece, so it’s okay. It’s just interesting how I now hear every note as being so deliberate.

    As for the timelessness of it, all I know is Rachmaninoff’s name, I don’t know anything about his second symphony or even that it expresses anything extremely unique. It is a well crafted work but it doesn’t speak anything very nuanced to me. I think that Rachmaninoff made use of these tremolo shimmers quite a bit, and I find it striking, but I’m really bad at commenting on the value of things like this.

    I will say that I do tend to listen to classical music with this kind of detachment from monetary value. I listen instead to their supposed legendary status and find myself trying to either find out what makes it masterful or why I think that it is not, and if it is not, is it because the composers who followed him made works that sounded so similar that I tend to think of these composers as nothing new.


  5. Creative Word: Bound

    I just recorded some simple improv again on guitar. To follow with the word of the day, I grabbed some painters tape that was sitting near me and strapped the mic to the guitars headstock. I walked through my house while playing hoping to influence the sound with the rooms I travelled through. I heard the difference as I walked but not so much as I listened back. I would redo this in bidirectional to catch more room next time. I liked some of the tones that came from the mic actually touching the strings at a couple of points

    Creative Experiment: Framing the Point

    This second piece I am working on needs more definition than my current brass piece. This is a piece I already have some ideas for, but I will work them out further here.

    Perfect Transmission is based on Francis Bacon’s four factors that hinder truth from being known by humankind: idols of the tribe, idols of the cave, idols of the marketplace, idols of the theatre.

    These are things inherent in humanity, in each other, in our words, and in our society’s regard for tradition/institution.

    The guitar will be the central truth that the other instruments will consistently get wrong in one way or another. Ways I can support this idea are:

    1. mingle the nature of the instrument who misunderstands with the basic message of the guitar. (brass are based on the overtone series and would ‘prefer’ to play notes based on Bb, flutes enjoy are known for high melody and for being very pretty, perhaps they will embellish a guitar line when it is inappropriate)

    2. in movement four the ensemble will generate ostinato patterns based on small aspects of the guitar line, the ostinato will be overbearing and inaccurate to the original guitar line, the guitar line will try to emerge in moments of silence, but quickly be silenced by only a slightly modified ostinato. This is the movement based on traditions/institution

    3. In an effort towards communication, all instruments misinterpret and argue the central truth (presented by guitar in mostly chord form). They start with notes in the guitar line and build melodies from them. The words that will help to drive this are “glassy” and “tangled” (I told you I liked that word).

    4. Beyond words, and so I don’t have to notate the thing perfectly, I think I will incorporate elements of graphic score to trail after a starting note. Improvisation here would be perfect.

    5. I will share musical elements from the guitar in each movement and make the instruments interpret them incorrectly in different ways through each movement. Movement one will be about the physical nature of their instrument, movement two will be about who they respect (a genre their instrument is famous for, like classical for flute, Grapelli style violin stuff…), movement three will be removed from addressing truth itself and become an argument amongst themselves, the guitar will fuel this however, in the fourth movement will be an agreement among the other instruments: they build up an ostinato dedicated to their first understanding of the guitar line.

    Daily Dose: Out with the old and in with the new

    For my daily inventory, I recognize that I tend to work particularly well under pressure but I add a lot of stress to my life and force a number of other things to suffer. I recall several occasions where I have put myself in this situation and always intend to break this habit, but it never happens. Something needs to change, and it’s not just improving my work habits, but also that I never follow through on my intentions to change these work habits.

    Daily Perspective: Noticing Change

    My music is flowing more naturally I think. Sometimes I think there is a lack of communication which hinders the success of my work, but the ideas are flowing more freely and are being recorded in writing more easily.

    I also notice my slow movement towards professionalism. I recorded the new music night at the Boathouse for Andy Dolgin and Not the wind, not the flag. I think that my ear is improving quite a lot. I got a pretty solid recording of these musicians and I also took note of the way that these musicians (especially Andy Dolgin) spoke and interacted with the audience.


  6. Creative Word: Cluster Together

    I patched all my inputs to my outputs on my 8 channel interface and recorded the feedback while adjusting gain and then I inserted a guitar. There was about 13 minutes of noise and cool stuff happening and then it crashed. The only time the guitar emerged was by creating gaps through beating in the other sounds that were happening.

    I did not know the word would be cluster, and kind of shot myself in the foot with this idea because it’s hard to take it further, but I think the idea of clustering comes from forcing ideas which do not work together. I took all of the recordings I had available of my other compositions etc. and forced them into the same recording. Once in a while saxophone sounds and voices or accordion will poke through the muddy texture I made in the first place. This would maybe be a good way of exploring EQ in order to carve out room for other sounds.

    Creative Experiment: Helping Others

    This will be a weird response, but it kind of goes somewhere.

    I listened to someone talk about Spinoza’s writings on God last night. He argued that God (in the traditional sense) was man made. He argued for pantheism (in which God is all things) and that the idea of God being omnipotent human-shaped creator of all things indicated that this version of God was clearly an invention of mankind.

    I mentioned a piece yesterday about the inherent desire of people to project human opinions/characteristics/qualities onto other things.

    I spent some time today on the bus thinking through these concepts, mostly to relate it to my piece to make further progress with it, but then I started relating it back to myself and my music in general and I realize that my personal approach to my most successful ideas, embody a lot of characteristics that are not intuitive to me. My pieces are usually hugely social through improvisation, and it usually demands a lot out of me when it comes time to actually wrangle up the players for the piece. I don’t love doing that, but the music seems to demand it, so I have to do it. I just mentioned that the music demands a lot of freedom and improvisation, which seems counter intuitive to calling myself a composer, but I do it because it demands it.

    I hadn’t realized how different my music is from my own approach to life. The music I make seems to be a vicarious life for me. I think that I’ve heard this expressed similarly by other musicians before, but it didn’t really click until now. There’s a lot of aggression, loudness, social, and outspoken aspects in my music. My music seems to go to these places before I would as a person, and then it makes me feel a little weird when I ask people to play for me. I feel almost like I have to apologize for it, I’m in a very vulnerable position all of a sudden. I do what I can to push through it, but handing people a thing and asking them to treat it with any amount of respect is difficult. There’s always this suspended moment of fear as I hand it to them and ask them to give a damn.

    Back to the point: the way that I view the music I write makes this whole God-invention thing of Spinoza’s important. Music is one thing that I would treat closest to God, mostly because I revere the intense influence it has on me when I am creating and because I do what I can to consider it apart from human invention and human consumption. It ultimately will be influenced and defined by myself (just as I have heard that Cage did not make true chance pieces, that he must have exercised the smallest amount of influence on it) but it is not informed by tradition or pleasantness to human ears. The truth of music seems to be as an unpurposeful, not entirely enforced organization of sound.

    I am not trying to liberate sound into free music, it’s already been done. I’m not trying to revive anything either. I don’t even think that I’m doing anything entirely new right now, but I’m probably on the right track.

    I can remember the moment today where and when an epiphany along these lines struck me, but I can’t articulate it well here. I’m going to have to call this response in progress. It has to do with the social side of things, and to a lesser extent helping people. But this is where my mind went based on this creative experiment.

    Daily Dose: Serendipity

    This is a really good way of explaining the way that things tend to take off in my projects, but they only seem to do this when I invest multiple hours of staring at hopeless looking fragments. The ideas compound and make the work become something special. I usually feel glimmers of excitement, but am too rapt up in the creation to really sit in satisfaction for any length of time. I am never really satisfied until it’s done. By then I’m usually onto the next project anyway. Building this website has been a way of feeling pride for my work actually. It forces me to look back, collect the best parts of a work that I think the world would want to see (interesting graphic notation, or large looking scores, or interesting titles etc.) and compile them into one area. It helps to create a pretty image, although it usually feels like ages have passed.

    Daily Action: Look for the miracles

    I think it is miraculous how fast this score has taken off and how many people are jumping on playing parts for me. I am appreciative of how willing people are to help. I suppose the miracles on an inward sort of level are the changes I recognize in myself, but I am more in awe of the miracles I am finding around me. I met a new person today who immediately gave me a great vibe. I intend to interact with this person after the completion of this piece.


  7. Creative Word: Make Comfort

    I took a simple recording of a busy hallway after a rehearsal was let out. I then recorded the same area from just a few feet away after a few minutes. There were still sounds present, but there was a different kind of feel just being a couple of steps away. I appreciated the 30 seconds of just standing and doing nothing but listening in what I considered the epitome of comfort at that moment.. It’s been an exhausting week, and I need another coffee.

    Creative Experiment: Different environments

    The experiment says to only choose 10 different places, not to actually venture to them. For that I am appreciative because today is just not the day to do it.

    A bar, a park, on a rooftop, collaborating via dropbox, in someone else’s practice room, at a diner/café, in a variety of houses, at an airport. If I am gravitating to places I wouldn’t want to go, my first instinct is a club, but I think that just would not work out at all. There’s not really a place to work. For unlikely performance spaces I would think a library just because it demands quiet and would force me to think differently.

    kind of a hard experiment to work through today for some reason.

    Daily Dose: All Alike

    We are all alike in a general sort of way. We have the desire to make music and to see it through and to be thoughtful about our creation of it. But it’s interesting how we all get there. We obviously do not all strive towards the same body of knowledge, even if some of our paths to this creative body look very similar. We take proactive paths towards realizing our ideas, and that is sometimes the end of our similarities. I am sure of the individuality of my own work, but I am also sure of how it may hint at the sound of other composers. I don’t expect people to understand every single nuance to my own sound until perhaps they encounter their own struggles with individuality in the face of an audience fairly well versed in many sorts of music. People want to classify you, and that makes sense. It makes your work easier to digest.

    My points is that I think people’s tendencies towards classification/simplification makes us appear more similar than we actually are, and that the reality is very individual and personal.

    Daily Action: Share a feeling

    I shared my feelings of apprehension about going to Montreal with my musician friend. I expressed some worry about not knowing what the working situation would be like over there. I am confused by his response and intend to carry this conversation on more. He essentially expressed to me that music isn’t about making money, which I mostly agree with, and that he doesn’t want to work 9-5 for someone he doesn’t really care to work for. I respect this person, so I am considering what he means carefully, but I can’t find the practicality in what he is saying. I don’t know how he expects to get rid of student loans and pay for rent. My student loans are not awful, but I think the lesser evil is working 9-5 so that I don’t owe stupid amounts of money to the government. Any amount of money is too much money to owe the government. I don’t want to work 9-5 either. I really don’t want to work on the oil rigs again. I don’t know what to think about this response. I’ll respond to this email tonight and see what he says about it


  8. 40 pages of semi-orchestral music finished. Still recovering. This probably won’t be an inspiring post.

    Creative Word: Conjoining

    This would be such a good word for any other day. I really want to be lazy about it and just force these sounds together. I’ll start by saying I could think of conjoining methodologies (theory meeting method/tendency, raw recording footage trading off with more produced sounds etc.) I instead tried conjoining two room sounds. I got a pretty distant recording of a band rehearsing and am mixing it in with a recording of something the space of a closet.

    Creative Experiment: Working in Light

    Working in light today is just making me fall asleep. My working time has been spent near the glow of a computer in a dark room lately. I am pretty exhausted from giving most of my working days over to the night. The sun is a nice presence though. The relaxation I feel from it is nice, but usually inspires me to look around and find inspiration from my surroundings instead of focus on work. I find I have to take away outward stimuli in order to be able to focus in. But the presence of these stimuli help to inspire creativity in the first place.

    Daily Dose: Gratitude

    My days have been spent immersed in my work. As I mentioned above, there’s not a lot of thinking dedicated to outward things such as where I came from to arrive here, or what other people think. I become extremely practical in this state and feel free from my own judgment and considerations of others.

    I find that I have been feeling less genuine gratitude towards my past/fellow musicians. I think I have been a bit self absorbed in trying to build my own name as a composer instead of my collaborator identity that I had established last year.

    I have spent a lot of time focused on my work and not a lot of time meditating on these things, but that is just the busy period I am in. As you know I am usually pretty reflective, but I’m not really able to tap into that during this time

    Daily Action: Give Thanks

    The friend I mentioned yesterday deserves a big thank you. He usually helps to liberate me from my own complacency and because of it has changed my life over the last two years. I feel the complacency returning and am having difficulty actually challenging myself to be better. But I will thank him for his affect on my life.


  9. I actually did a recording too, sorry it didn’t show up here, I don’t know why it did that. go to my link. For some reason I posted an early draft for my creative word instead of the one below. I didn’t use the sound of the band rehearsing, but silence after mixed with silence from a smaller space.

    “This would be such a good word for any other day. I really want to be lazy about it and just force these sounds together. I’ll start by saying I could think of conjoining methodologies (theory meeting method/tendency, raw recording footage trading off with more produced sounds etc.) I instead tried conjoining two room sounds to keep things simple. I found a cool bump in the sound file that clicked well together. I panned each track all the way left and all the way right and started doing a trap kind of approach. I made a rhythm out of the noise in each file. It doesn’t really have to do with conjoining so much, but it was something that came of it.”


  10. Creative Word: Excess

    This was pretty fun. I started off just practicing making sounds on my trumpet – I’m a shitty trumpet player. I made something that resembled a riff and recorded it on a microphone I don’t normally use. I learned that I liked the microphone decently well. I don’t know if it’s particularly better than anything else I own or if it has a character, but it can at least reproduce some decent sounds. I’ll do a shootout someday.

    After I read the word I went to town on layering more trumpet lines and some trombone on top of it. I just improvised as best as I could with my utter lack of brass skills and caked on some reverb. It made a cool sound at the end, but it was all too blurry I think, they are able to sustain too well and so it’s not as easy to work with as guitars which attack and decay quickly.

    After I built up this crazy sound I added some acoustic guitar on top of it. Not for the sake of excess, but to see what all the horns sounded like as an underlying texture instead of the feature. It sounded okay. I improvised with the track, then dragged the guitar part back by like 30 seconds to throw off my actual responses to sounds and make them appear random.

    Creative Experiment: Yoga

    I don’t intend to return to working on this piece today, but I have been doing the exercises throughout the day. Closing my eyes, even managing to sleep on the bus, staring as far as I can. Breathing deeply seems to give me this mental cue that things are relaxed, that I am at a point where I am able to be aware of my body and that breathing isn’t just a background action for sustaining my own life. It means most heavy responsibilities have drifted away and the lesser things can reenter my awareness.

    Daily Dose: Reach Only To Let Go

    This music needs a rest. I will work on it tomorrow before the rehearsal if possible but I need to take this day to catch up on business stuff and returning to a life that has a moment of real contemplation to spare. I love working myself like this, I probably sound like I’m complaining sometimes, but in the context of school it forces me to divert attention from so many important things: important people, other important work, communication in general, and time for meditating. I enjoy the intense pace of things when I do this, but I realize that I sacrifice a lot of stuff while I’m at it. I enjoy the reclusive life sometimes, emerging after weirdly silent periods with a lot to show for it, but I can’t expect other people to wait around on me all the time. Relationships will suffer, my mental flexibility will suffer, peace of mind always suffers – I find myself having to make so many apologies during busy periods like this.

    Daily Action: Renewal

    I appreciate this one at the end of a very busy period of composing. I am now in rehearsal mode which is much less strenuous. There are some edits I still have to make to the score before it is rehearsed again, but today I took the quiet moment I found. The weird thing was that I had to activate the quietness of that moment by telling myself it is a chance for peace.


  11. Creative Word: Ascending

    I was trying to get my guitar amp to work today and recorded a short bit of playing a Born Ruffians riff. After reading the word I considered raising the pitch on the guitar and went with recording the tweeter of my amp rather than the woofer, but I had a more interesting thought that I didn’t really have the space to put into practice. I considered taking the first recording, blasting it through my car stereo while driving by the recording device, but I have no stretch of road that I can do that at this time of night and without worrying about my recording device being stolen. The reason this works with ascending is because of the doppler shift that would effect the recording as I drove by. The pitch would rise and fall as I drove past the microphone. I am going to try a more full experiment with my trombone friend to see if he can maintain the same pitch with a wireless headphone setup running to my zoom mic. The pitch will wobble slightly, but I am interested how smooth his glissando can be and if he can maintain a constant pitch.

    The guitar recording was not fascinating, but it had more effect than I had ever personally experienced before. My ear is improving. I’m glad to be incorporating these recordings in my daily thing now.

    Creative Experiment: Superhero

    I would ask for the ability to stop time. I acknowledge that stopping time would lead to infinite possibilities in being able to achieve anything I could ever want to do, but I am more interested in the ability to pause the requirements of a normal social life. I have a feeling I will get a grip on the true value of social interaction some day, right now it almost feels in the way. I think that if it was taken away I would become much more aware of it’s value to not only my mental well being, but my composition. I know that people help to influence my choices and interests, but I don’t feel it very strongly. I seem to have a bit of a cynical view on interaction with other people I guess. This comes and goes and depends on the people I surround myself with.

    Back to what my music would sound like, it would sound much more refined than it currently does. Maybe the time that I have would also give me more time to read and influence myself differently to make different music, I can’t really anticipate that, but the craftsmanship of my work would improve. The finer details, the very specific dynamic markings. I don’t invest as much time into these fine details as I do the concept and ideas.

    Ultimately this question comes to what changes I want to see in my music. The answer is finer attention to details for the purpose of giving more professional looking parts and scores that are easier to read.

    Daily Dose: Power and Control

    I don’t have a problem with this concept, but I’ve addressed it multiple times. For the sake of analyzing myself, I think my willingness to let go ought to be challenged instead so that I am not entirely powerless to every suggestion that is tossed towards an idea. Confidence is respectable, without it you potentially seem uncaring towards the work you are doing and you don’t inspire people to give much respect to it. Over confidence is not entirely admirable, I also know that I have issues with wanting to maintain control over my own piece. That if someone offers to contribute, I don’t want to accept too much advice before the piece becomes a collaborative effort instead of my original piece. I have done this before, and I do enjoy it, I just know that I have certain hangups that make me wary of sharing entire creative control.

    Daily Action: True Collaboration

    I rehearsed my piece with the ensemble today. Like I said, I didn’t get extremely detailed with my parts so there was some confusion in the reading. I spent some time individually collaborating with the musicians (particularly french horn players because they are an utter mystery to me). I got them to start investigating the idea I originally laid out and they came back with a more specific idea of how to play the part I requested of them. I spent the rehearsal not just leading, but communicating and learning from the people who have to read my score.


  12. Creative Word: Small

    I began by recording my friend strum a few guitar chords with a condenser mic up close. It picked up a lot of bass frequencies so I EQ’d some of it out. To introduce smallness I added distance between the mic and Cam. The microphone was behind my closet door essentially putting them in different rooms, but on top of this I started walking around and making background noise, opening and closing the washer/dryer in the background to make the guitar sound unimportant and that the recording was a recording of the sounds in the house. The guitar became a component of a larger body.

    Creative Experiment: Maybe if I…

    My photos aren’t loading properly on the squarespace account, but there’s a solid gray back ground which looks really nice on my phone. Maybe if I go with this idea and make my website entirely based on solid, striking colors with bold text instead of nice images it will be more interesting to people.

    Maybe if I try writing songs again something new will come of it. A lot of fear has been removed from this now that I have explored orchestral sized works.

    Maybe if I start recording with the intention of outputting work instead of stuff for grades I can begin seeing a body of work develop.

    Maybe if I spend a day in a room with my equipment and no commitments to anything but my own satisfaction I will create trigger something that inspires me

    Maybe if I spend time working towards my other project (Perfect Transmission) before any urgent deadline comes up, I can spend my sleepless nights fine tuning dynamic markings and other fine details.

    Daily Dose: One Note at a Time

    I was just trying to find a page in my philosophy book that talked about this. It says that whatever your mind has decided will determine your fate. If you are stranded in a desert and decide your situation is hopeless, then you will stay put and surely die. If you decide that you think you know the way back, even if you are wrong, you will eventually encounter something. This is a bad paraphrasing of the argument, because you could still die in this case, but you have an infinitely higher chance of surviving by just committing your mind to believing in your survival.

    A few weeks ago I mentioned a situation that really brought me down. Some musicians were being really lousy towards another musician. We had played a really great set, but their minds could not be turned from their petty conflicts. I left, pretty furious at them for being so dominated by their negativity and became aware of my own participation in it. I became aware that I shared these frustrations with my girlfriend or other friends when these moments struck and I was just spreading misery. That night I chose to acknowledge my own happiness independent of the situation that arose just 15 minutes before and I truly felt happy. I wasn’t fooling myself into thinking it didn’t happen, but I acknowledged the smallness of that problem in comparison to the happiness I felt for my music.

    Daily Action: The bright side

    Music offers me a chance to meet new people and discover an entirely selfless side of people. It’s been pretty wonderful to see 26 musicians come together to help me rehearse and perform this piece.


  13. Creative Word: Follow

    I sort of took a cheating approach to todays, but only because it worked well. I had a recorder on me and recorded a youth ensemble I heard rehearsing. I recorded them again because they were rehearsing the Jurassic Park theme and there’s some ongoing joke between my friend and I so I wanted to capture it, but I did so as I got in the elevator and quickly lost their sound. Seeing that todays word was ‘follow’, I sort of did the exact opposite of it, but I was curious about what would come of reversing the sound and if it would sound like I was actually following the sound. It doesn’t really, but I liked the sounds that came from forcing this situation to work for me. I also reversed the first part to keep the sound consistent throughout. If I had used the sounds of nature first, I would have used follow as a cue to go chase every sound that grabs my attention and see where I end up.

    Creative Experiment: Blindfold

    I just started working on a short film for my cousin today, so this is a good experiment. I usually don’t have much problem with putting music to images and pulling at least some of the feeling of a scene out with the music. Today I am because there is a specific kind of goal he is going for with this which is almost entirely directed by the music. I actually have to lead the visuals with the music here and it’s not as easy so I need some guidance with this one still. He will be calling me tonight or tomorrow to give me more guidance.

    I also experimented with imagining the sound of KSP tonight. It’s probably empty and dark with some ventilation sounds in the background. I was able to put myself there and think of not only trying to replicate the ventilation, but what the space would best respond to. I used the interval of an octave on my guitar, occasionally filled in with a couple of other notes, but I always let them ring out and gave the space a chance to use the sound.

    Daily Dose: Role Models

    Positive role models for me have been people who have helped me to discover my own power. The power to think for myself for example was not always something I was really aware of, I felt like I woke up for the first time in my life a couple of years ago, only by really discovering how much of my learning and my happiness and my life I am responsible for. My role models made me aware of my own value and the value of other people and their ideas. It doesn’t seem like there is a simpler way to live for me and I would hope to awaken this sort of thing in other people: the desire to investigate their own interests and listen to others with openness and honesty.

    This gets the teacher in me fired up, but it’s not so simple to execute. Some people aren’t really ready, or they need to hear whatever it is in just the right way. When I say it, I don’t mean my way of thinking, I only think that everyone has something that can break them away from their automated lifestyles. I don’t even think that this ‘something’ is only one thing. I mentioned in one of my really early posts that I could have ventured down one of many different paths if it had been introduced to me at the right time and in the right way. Music was my first expansion of awareness, I would say astronomy and philosophy were my second, but the order (or subject) could have been different if the right person had communicated the idea to me effectively.

    I am aware of my duty of setting an example, but don’t know how to do it besides living in an honest way with myself.

    Daily Action: Setting an Example

    I was going to say that I don’t normally consider the example that I set, but in the middle of writing it I discovered that it wasn’t true. I try not to spend much time considering how others perceive me, but lately it has been important. I found a philosophy yesterday that says ‘there is no deep down’, the things we do on the surface are the only components of our character. This has made me consider that it is almost impossible to understand who I really am.

    I carry with me years of past traits that I imagine are still present in my mannerisms. I carry with me contradictions of old, bad traits that make me think I am living as a better person than I used to, but ultimately the people I interact with now didn’t know my bad traits and don’t necessarily see these counter-traits as ‘good’, but maybe just normal. I also imagine that people can see the root of my actions when in reality they appear quite detached from anything and are the only thing that people see. I perceive myself far differently than I think others perceive me and I am spending time reflecting on this. Like I mentioned above, I just have to be honest with myself in order to be consistent, but there is an infinite amount of things inside of each of us that will never be perceived by each other. This is important to me because it is a measure of self-honesty.

    Hopefully this makes sense, this isn’t yet a fully formed idea because it’s pretty fresh, but I’ll keep working at it.


  14. Creative Word: Forward Progress

    So, today was a bit more of a risky attempt because that seemed to suit the word. I first played banjo, I then sang over the banjo part I laid down. I know I am not a good singer, so I’m not stoked about putting this online, but I’m trying to make myself do it and address whatever fears I have with hearing my own voice. This to me is forward progress considering the self-exploration and challenging I’ve been doing all year. Singing is still a weakness for me and so I tend to hide it. I think it would probably sound a lot better if I just work at it.

    Creative Experiment: Borrowing

    I didn’t play an instrument today, I was at a computer working on improving my parts for my players and I really dove into adopting methods from other composers in order to make their parts simpler. I realized that I was interested in the presentation of the piece instead of making it easy to read, so I was able to adopt a few techniques that helped me reduce four-page parts to two pages.

    I mostly borrowed from Adam Gorb, a composer for wind orchestra who I know from my time as saxophonist in the Wilfrid Laurier wind orchestra. There was so much more simplicity to my piece than I wanted to admit, admitting it seems like it may have been a big step.

    Daily Dose: Integration

    This is something I have spoken with my roommate about several times. We would spend some time considering people who believe everything in music has been done and grapple with this for a while. The idea that everything in music has been done is pretty short sighted in my opinion. To say that it has all be done before and then spend your days just living out the glory years of great jazz players for example and not putting forth any unique effort of your own makes you completely toxic to future generations of music. I am willing to believe that their may be some truth to what they are saying, but I very much doubt we are seeing the end of music. There have probably been countless incredulous people before this era in music who have similarly decried any more advancement.

    Because we can’t think of how to change the future of music, that means we can’t? That only means we don’t have the imagination. Perhaps we need to see the next era in civilization before we get to glimpse the new direction music might take. Arguing from your own incredulity is not meaningful. People like me and my roommate, however, insist on pushing forward and trying to make something new, even if we never achieve anything groundbreaking in our lifetime, we may lay the smallest piece of groundwork for some future composer/artist/engineer/cabinet-maker? Just as folk-music inspired an important advancement in compositions in the 19th-20th centuries, we may or may not be contributing to inspiring the next musical era.

    We will keep working and beating our head against a wall, because one day that wall has to give. It is foolish to say that you know it will not.

    Daily Action: Actions

    Actions… my day was again sort of spent in recluse. I was fixing up people’s parts for my piece in front of a computer until I rehearsed with them. During the rehearsal I showed my appreciation for them coming to the rehearsal, but I don’t know that I really got a chance to be very compassionate or particularly loving. I focused on performing my responsibility because conducting is difficult. Maybe these actions spoke to other musicians poorly. I attempted to be personable and funny so I didn’t come off as completely cold, but I just don’t recall having the opportunity to give off a loving vibe.

    I suppose I was compassionate to the difficulties they were having with their parts and that I improved them and will hand them out tomorrow.


  15. Creative Word: Fullness

    I recorded an SM57 touching the surface of my desk and with the gain pretty high. I had a variety of objects on my desk that I started manipulating. The fullness in the second take comes from redoing this in stereo and adding pretty strong compression. I really enjoyed playing with this and discovered two things:

    1. My SM57 seems to have a grounding issue. I may need to resolder something

    2. My Pearl mic picked up the radio sound extremely well, it surprised me each time I listened to the recording.

    Creative Experiment: Releasing the Pressure Valve

    The pressures in my life are mostly coming from school work. This is a big consideration I am facing lately about whether to see this second degree all the way through, or if I should move onto real life and work at being a musician in the real world. The real world has it’s own pressures, but they are very different from school. In the working world (depending on the kind of job of course), I can stop thinking about the job once I am off the premises, unlike school where I have to stretch myself in a million ways and have no room for exploration of my own interests. That may sound like I am not interested in expanding my mind, but I am able to guide myself much better when driven by self interest. Even though I don’t care about grades, the concept of failing or doing poorly weighs on me, so the grades in a way have muscled out a lot of room for this exploration.

    This year hasn’t been nearly as satisfying as last year was because I am so encumbered by other classes and I am feeling fairly positive towards getting out of school, but there are still considerations – I won’t just follow this book to tell me drop out of school because it’s a pressure on my life.

    Daily Dose: Human After All

    Tonights rehearsal went well, but I’m realizing that I am acting like the puppet master here and marking exactly where notes need to go, when that doesn’t really make it sound successful. I think it stresses people out and makes them tentative when the structure feels loose but I am still marking downbeats like a tyrant. I realize that my failure was pushing too hard to mark the tempo properly rather than demonstrate the kind of feel I am going for. I will correct this tomorrow before the concert and give them a little bit more confidence in themselves.

    Daily Action: Imperfection

    Right now I am just having a blast conducting this thing. The hard work is out of the way and it sounds almost perfect, even though it’s not entirely what I had in mind.


  16. Creative Word: Take Apart

    I started by recording playing around with a computer keyboard. I took apart the sound by listening to the background noises in the first recording. There was heavy room sound. A beep in the room. A pianist next door. I recorded all of these and made a goal of pursuing each noise until I couldn’t hear anything new. Unfortunately this game ended after I recorded the sounds of the ventilation in the piano room and I followed the footsteps of one person who left the room. I’d like to try this game again though.

    Creative Experiment: Positive Attributes

    I listened to the recording of the rehearsal last night and felt slightly negative towards it. It just didn’t quite have some of the power I was looking for, but I’ve chosen a positive outlook on it because there is so much good happening. The ending was a little sloppy, but since this is based on the concept of a machine breaking down, it doesn’t exactly ruin the piece. I have made some decisions based on simplifying some of these weaknesses and am going to give them encouragement to take what I’ve written and enjoy themselves. Tentativeness will kill this piece, so I just need to keep up their spirits about how well they are doing and that they can push it even louder.

    Daily Dose: On Obsession

    I have noticed that a lot of my writing flows best when I forget myself. It is exciting because it feels honest and external even though I am definitely exercising my own influence on it. I usually feel that I have to reign it in just a little bit to make it readable for other musicians. Maybe I should push this style of writing as far as I can and ignore my instincts to tone it down or make it more legible? Perhaps I can open it up to new freedoms by just leaving this open to the whims of my creative spirit and ignoring the human element of it?

    Daily Action: Look

    I applied this to a few private moments I had today. I didn’t seem to be in a particularly good mood about a couple of them for some reason. I picked up on a weird sort of vanity from some people I watched today, so I failed at this action a couple of times. I did pick up on some peace by getting weirdly focused on the layout of a café I was in today. This is something I don’t expect other people to understand, but something about the simplicity and organization of their working space made me feel strangely calm or happy. I sank back into this feeling for a few moments and realized this was sort of an old feeling I hadn’t felt in a while. I think it makes me think back to my old job in a fast food place and the sort of calm I would feel on rainy days as there were no customers and very little to do around the store.

    That was a weird take on this one, glad to know I connect better with restaurants than some people I see daily..


  17. Creative Word: Wonder

    I started doing some vocal stuff. It’s not singing, just seeing what my vocal cords can do. There was a lot of cool stuff even though it’s generally hard to see the beauty by listening to the full take. This makes me wonder if it is actually beautiful, or if I can only see the beauty in something I let repeat multiple times in short bursts. Obviously it’s subjective, I just wonder if it just takes multiple listenings before it’s accepted as pleasant/beautiful? Anyway. I’ve isolated and looped some moments that were cool and also highlighted some differences tones that emerged in the low range of my voice.

    In case it wasn’t clear, the wonder aspect is not saying “I wonder” a couple of times. The wonder is in exploring the sounds in more detail – the definition is something like ‘feelings of surprise from an unexpected beauty’

    It kind of allowed for me to wonder about the entire process of making sound with my voice. It’s pretty fascinating when you can reduce it to just pulses and creaks.

    Creative Experiment: Removing the Next Step

    This sounds like it’s referring to just sitting on an idea without expectations of making it move anywhere. When it comes to improvisation I sometimes have difficulty doing this. I want to move onto the next thing a little too quickly without taking time to explore an idea that I have just setup. Today I got a chance to do this in a lesson by doing 15 minutes straight of solo improvisation. This forced me to expand on ideas so I didn’t exhaust my entire list of techniques and so I could think through building some continuity. I didn’t so much remove the next step as I did construct an entire unit of sound that I kind of bumped around in. It was a single world with a lot of contrast, but didn’t push into entirely strange territory. I stuck with the world I had created.

    Daily Dose: Yours for the Taking

    I still don’t accept that the universe wants anything from me or for me.

    There is a different level of consciousness that is activated, (not higher or lower, better or worse) in my music making. I achieve this different consciousness when I am more open to experiencing pain or embarrassment in a bad performance and not when I remain fixated on things that work well for me. I feel a sort of adrenaline from committing myself to playing live in every moment.

    I don’t really know how to respond to this one further. Sometimes I am more open to the spiritual thing, but I’m not into the way this one is worded. It doesn’t feel like it applies for me. I respect the core of the idea that there feels like a separate self that takes over the music making, but that is not where I think this actually comes from.

    Daily Action: A Deeper Connection

    Today was a pretty relaxed day for creative endeavours. I played some bari sax, relaxed after the performance of my piece, thought about my improv recital that is coming up. The deeper connection for me would be my acknowledgement of scale of the cosmos. This helps to put things into perspective, and it feels as though it has been a while since I have tuned into that awareness. I really didn’t feel that I had to call on this today. I’ve been pretty pleasantly tired and relaxed for most of the day. This does raise an important reminder that I should not get rapt up in my own small affairs like I have allowed myself this year.


  18. Creative Word: Grounded

    I played some simple stuff on drums. I kind of rushed it to see the word and record something to follow it up, so the recording technique wasn’t very special. I “grounded” my sound by jamming the microphone against my floor and bringing some main components of the drum kit onto the floor. It got a cool sound. I liked the kick sound I got. I added some compression to the sound which gave the ‘kick’ a nice sound.

    Creative Experiment: Different Clothes

    I am sorry to say I didn’t do this today. I had too many things lined up to go and purchase new clothes. On reflection I could have worn a suit or something I don’t usually wear, but I also did not have the time to pursue anything creatively besides doing photos for Torq. A suit may have been a better choice than my current outfit for the sake of professionalism, but it would have been pretty limiting and distracting to myself. When it comes to wearing suits I get very self-conscious. Not necessarily in a bad way where I think I look bad, but where I get too distracted by trying to look good. I will definitely do this one in the coming days and hopefully post an update on this.

    Daily Dose: A New Attitude

    I am noticing a sharp increase in creative tendencies after I have gotten finished with my major projects and with the reduction of the workload in either of the KSP classes. I even feel inspired again to commit to longer writings and see an idea through until it is something I care about.

    I get my miraculous sense of peace quite consistently when there is a chance to find peace. I love my busyness but always find myself longing for the creative impulses that overwhelm my day to day interactions with the world.

    Calmness seems to be my only road to a creative path that I can deem successful. I think it is important to my future that I preserve this and not get into a funk of just working and pushing and doing without taking the time to relax and think.

    The last paragraph holds a sentiment I never thought I would see myself say/write.

    Daily Action: Spiritual Attitude

    Today was a bit busy, but I was tuning into some of my creative side during the groggy waking moments of my day since that’s the only creative moments I could squeeze out of today. I’m even writing this in a haste as I started my day at 10AM working on my business stuff and have been working straight until 11PM. It seems to be returning and I’ll have to claim my daily dose as my breakthrough of the day.


  19. Creative Word: Disperse

    I recorded myself playing piano in a large room. I recorded myself a second time playing on two spaced pianos at the same time but only now realize that my phone doesn’t record in stereo. It did achieve a slightly interesting depth of field but could have been used better. The lower notes came out clearer because the piano was resting on the piano where I played those notes. At one point I also recorded myself alternating pianos.

    Creative Experiment: Back to Analog

    My day was full of stuff again, kind of appeasing my girlfriend since I haven’t really seen her for more than an hour in a couple weeks. I am thinking about a sound installation that involves moveable speaker sets which generate repeating sounds based on where they are placed. They sample and repeat whatever noise they hear when they are placed and repeat. It would take some programming and I need to spend some time drawing this out and visualizing it. The concept is called “The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy”, based on a person who shoots at a barn, and paints a target around the largest grouping of bullets to make it look like he is a sharpshooter. There is something somewhere in this idea, it may change. It may even become some kind of twitter installation like I was talking about. It has the chance to be self generative.

    Daily Dose: On Materialism

    I am aware that music itself is not really good for making money or commanding respect or any of the things listed in this section. This was the way that I saw it in high school, people get interested in you when you play an instrument, the availability of iconic, rich musicians make it seems like you will have the same glorious career, etc. I think I have some pretty reasonable expectations with music, but it does bring up some not so great feelings about if I’m going to have to live my life toiling in awful jobs and hope that I have the energy to pursue music at the end of the work day. I have some bad images of this in my head: a convenience store worker who goes home to a small apartment to work into his old age in obscurity. This image is centered around the lack of fame/success, which I don’t really want anyway, but is this the life I am heading towards? To think more positively, there are saxophone repair guys in Toronto who are sweet players and they have a good life gigging and working. This is a life I could hope for myself. A good quote I came across from Seneca is ‘why should I demand of Fortune that she give rather than demand of myself that I should not crave?’ Maybe this life demands a willful poverty. Living comfortably with less. I am lucky that I have accumulated most of the instruments I could want at an early age and base most of my new acquirements on the selling or trading of the old gear. At the most expensive I may buy new mouthpieces for 200 dollars or so, they can go into the thousands but that is usually for custom/vintage pieces.

    Daily Action: Spiritual Interests

    Really nothing to report today on this. No material wants really came up, and my creative interests were relatively well taken care of. I spent a lot of my day fairly tired, but I spent my time thinking of the ‘texas sharpshooter fallacy’. It seems to have potential for becoming a sound installation of some kind, but I can’t see what it is yet.


  20. Creative Word: Openness

    First I sat my phone on a drum that was sitting on top of a turntable thing. I spun the phone and thought it might sound like a Leslie, but it sounded more like a slight phaser effect on the guitar.

    The second sound came from jamming my phone in a PVC pipe that was hanging from the ceiling. I figured this would open the sound up a bit even though it closed it down in a number of ways. I figured openness would come from adding distance between me and the mic and I thought it would really amplify the directionality, but again it sort of failed on this front. Cool sounds in either recording, plus I have a turntable I can use for tuning my drums like I had seen in a video by DW.

    Creative Experiment: Ask More Questions

    I have an improv concept I am working on to be presented on Thursday. The concept is a game piece. I started it in this crazy haste to give my professor some ideas for concepts for our class performance. I am trying to make a game that generates excitement and energy and includes a bit of tactics. I write best when I have absolutely nothing on my mind except the current piece – this happens best when I am really down to the wire on a deadline and work on it to ridiculous hours of the night. I am not really trying to say anything with this, I am trying to accomplish a different sort of goal with music. Something potentially educational for younger kids perhaps, but enjoyable for the serious improvising musician as well.

    Daily Dose: Surrender

    The point here seems to be that accepting failure is the best method of learning and discovering. I very much agree with this and am only rediscovering it in my improvisations. Improvising in a class setting is pretty nebulous when it comes to justifying a grade. Because of this I have permitted myself to use this class as an opportunity to simplify my workload when things have gotten heavy. I didn’t willfully do this or acknowledge it until the past week when things have settled down for me. An important phrase that pervaded my musical decisions last year was “what can I contribute to this idea”. In my complacency I instead opted for “let’s see what will sound good here”. There are benefits to trying things you are not sure of, but it is easy to think less and try more and more often ruin the improvisation that is happening. Although I was willing to take chances, I was attempting a form of heroics’, where I did some really risky thing that had a chance of succeeding or failing terribly. Again, nothing wrong with this from time to time, but I didn’t consider accepting my place in the ensemble as much as I did last year.

    Daily Action: Acceptance

    I accept what happens, but I don’t feel that it cannot be fixed. I assume we are talking about music here. The performance of my piece on Wednesday was not amazing, it could have done with some refinement and I accept that easily, but I do not predispose this piece to eternally sound mediocre.


  21. Creative Words: Show Maturity

    I recorded the drum part first. I used a mismatched set of hi-hats that produced a cool low tone every time I hit them and recorded the whole kit with just that mic.

    To follow, I ‘showed maturity’ by trying to employ a few techniques and concepts I have learned, not just from this class, but in everything. I was extremely satisfied with my drum take and thought I would build a horn section on the hi-hat hits. It was hard to watch the wave file and be able to tell which ones were hi-hats and which were snare so I kept guessing at it and tried matching my instincts on the sax to what they were on the drums. Sometimes it would align, a lot of the time it wouldn’t, but it was cool. I added some trombone which was really sloppy a lot of the time and sometimes very good and I probably would have kept some of it if it wasn’t such a complicated editing job, so I made it more of a background sound – almost like a Lanois shimmer thing.

    I would say that this shows a maturity in my ability to listen and play. I am willing to accept mistakes, and this is mature in general I think, but not really a new level of maturity for me. I think the way that I began my improvisation on the drums was more mature than some other improvisations I have done.

    I plan to come back to this piece and do a better mix or record some things differently, but I am satisfied with this for being a 3 track recording and being put together in about a half an hour.

    Creative Experiment: Natures Voice

    I went out to where I thought I might find a forrest and could not really find much. I spent much of my time walking and contemplating trees in general. I would have loved to bring an instrument, but it was too cold so I listened to my “maturity” recording from above. My thinking throughout my adventure kind of went like this:

    Trees were the first ways of occupying a three dimensional space. There was only living on the ground originally: forward, back, left, right. Trees worked against gravity and provided the first upward occupation of space. So I’m thinking spatially. My mix obviously lacked depth, I didn’t do much to pan it or give it much depth of field. The trombone adds some really great features to recording and it does add a little depth, but I did not explore a whole lot of space in my recording (even the distance from the mic, my saxophone is pretty flat sounding).

    I could probably be considered prejudice for assuming the trees would enjoy the quiet moments with the sticks clicking and rubbing together. If I was to imagine their reaction, it would only be mimicry of the sound. I really enjoy these parts.

    * I just stumbled onto a thought. I didn’t get to sit in a forest and project my music at a bunch of trees, but I wondered about the emptiness or excitement I would feel about it. Obviously I am projecting my own emotions onto how I think the trees would react. A part I am particularly proud of may result in the adrenaline exciting my ears into being more sensitive to the sounds around me (this isn’t real science, but it’s a feeling that I know), trees may sound loud or excited somehow based on my own excitement. If I have an audience and something I play flops, I may be sensitive instead to the lack of sound. The coldness that would follow. I think perceiving anything as an audience is valuable. You are more critical of your work in an audience situation than you are when you are alone. Justifying is easy on your own, but with a perceived set of second ears you feel that you have to explain something. *

    Overall the project feels a little rigid (trying to mark those hi-hat hits on sax and missing) and alien (especially the saxophone). I pushed some of the effects a bit far and did not preserve much of a natural sound. This fact is even more exposed when I am at least imagining myself sitting in a forest.

    Daily Dose: Secrets

    I have been working on this kind of sincerity for a long time now and I believe that I am honest with myself. There’s a few things that are potentially difficult for me to think about that I would bring up now, I just can’t remember them. I believe that there’s no question I won’t face, but I guess there are other kinds of honesty and secrets that aren’t as easy to feel so confident about.

    Honesty to how I feel towards other people. I am honest with myself about this, but I often don’t express it. This can be positive or negative. Sometimes I have the urge to tell a friend that I love them, or to thank them for being reliable, or some other genuine expression of gratitude. I regret not doing this in December, because I found out that at the exact time I was dissuading myself from following through with saying it, it was at a time where he could have really used it. I am not entirely honest with expressing myself to other people and sometimes assume that they know these things.

    I think that I am honest with myself and am not afraid to share my secrets with other people. I know that I have weaknesses and I try to address them honestly. I don’t usually try to hide them with humour, I get in there and dissect the problem and try to understand if other people have the same weaknesses/secrets/whatever. I try to speak my mind as clearly as possible (clarity is more of a difficulty than my attempts at honesty) and get to the root of my thoughts. I am confident that I only have secrets from myself in ways I haven’t yet thought of exploring.

    Daily Action: Share the love

    I sent a message to my friend who I mentioned in the above section. I thanked him for being a good friend and went into more detail than I’ll get into here.


  22. Creative Word: Dwell

    I decided to play around with bass today. I have one sitting around that I don’t usually use because the pickups are busted, but after you mentioned being able to mic it raw, I thought I would try it. It actually came through a lot stronger than I expected. It’s a pretty cool method of miking it.

    As for “dwell”. I didn’t dig too deep with this one, I jumped on the first thing that came to mind which was just to dig in to the low sounds and sit with them. On reflection I could have dragged this out even longer than I did, but it sounded cool to me as it is.

    I think I need to start turning these into song type things. I am fine with the musical experiments, but I’m afraid I may never put them to work. I’ll see if I can start producing more stuff from what I’m doing here.

    Creative Experiment: Asking A Senior

    I called my grandma earlier, it was a bit weird. I’ve never really talked to her about creative things and think I came off a little too weakly. It was hard to sustain that conversation, so I think I’ll try again. It reminds me of a good ‘test’ I heard of: the ‘grandma test’. If you can’t explain it to your grandma in 5 minutes, you don’t understand it well enough. I’ll call her back another day with a better idea of what I’m talking about.

    Daily Dose: Mistakes and Blunders

    Even though I accept my mistakes, it is still sometimes hard to completely ignore them and not expect that it just sounded terrible to another musician. There is a weird thing that comes from completely ignoring your mistakes and acting confident about it – sometimes it sounds intentional and good, but the part I am interested in is when people mistake your confidence for being oblivious. Some people will actually react poorly to such a thing and try to encourage you to do a certain thing. More people need to be open to mistakes and accepting of their contribution to the music, too often I have to explain that I am just trying things out and that is about as frustrating as trying to explain a joke.

    Daily Action: The Beauty of Imperfection

    This is something that I accept already. Once something is committed to recording I find it fascinating how much the mistake becomes a part of the song. In jazz classics, the recorded solos are pretty much accepted as composed material and it is kind of forgotten that these recordings were originally improvised. I feel the same way towards small clicks and imperfections or even broken MP3’s.

    I have a track by Queens of the Stone Age called Lightning Song that skips in a way I have come to expect because I have been listening to it this way for 10 years and just never bothered to find it again. This case is out of the hands of the musician but applies in a similar way.

    I will make mistakes today, I knew and accepted that before I read this, but I will attempt to be more aware of it somehow.


  23. Creative Word: Polarize

    I sat my zoom mic on my bass and played it while it was laying across my desk. The polarize idea wasn’t great but got a cool result or two, I just switched the bass around so I was plucking and playing backwards. Plucking with left hand and fretting with the right.

    Creative Experiment: World Flipping

    There are a number of interesting things that come from this and I like the general idea of just inverting ideas. It works well in a lot of ways and has the potential to generate answers within dead ends, but something different dawned on me today when I was speaking with my friend about trying to figure out this crappy idea that some guy had for building a kind of elitist college within Laurier. She got me to agree that it was a bad idea, I’ll say that she may even have planted that idea in there at first because I don’t know that I would have noticed it if she had delivered the whole idea to me with confidence. Through our discussion I started feeling parts of my brain firing that I felt had been lying dormant for a long time now. Throughout the semester there have been occasional posts about something clicking on in my mind and getting me to think in a way that I used to. That happened tonight and I’ve been thinking about it and what is so different in these moments.

    I have been getting more relaxed as I have seen my piece get performed, I’ve finished major projects, the weather is changing. With this, I have noticed a higher ability to enjoy and concentrate on things that busy-Michael would normally deem uninteresting or unnecessary (even if I attempted to dig into it). In this state I steamroll through ideas by carrying the beginning of the idea to the end without growing or changing it, or allowing it to change me. In this state I find world-flipping to be a place holder for the kind of creativity I stumble on in my more relaxed days. Overall I find that my relaxed state makes me pick up the original goal and analyze it from my own starting point. I think this is the key. In my more busy times, I will only pick up an idea where it has left off, I am fairly unwilling to throw out the work that has already been done because the work inherent in doing that makes this option unacceptable in the context of the rest of the busyness I face.

    I took this concept in a less light-hearted direction than was probably meant, but this was important.

    Daily Dose: Humor and Service

    I definitely have a narcissism to my work. I think my ideas are great and it is only until a rehearsal runs that I really get put back in my place. It’s usually a performance issue with the players that makes it sound different than I expect, but I know that I also get carried away with the ‘artistry’ of my work and sometimes make it more difficult for them to read than necessary. I try inventing small directions or notations that are beautiful to me, but entirely unpragmatic. There’s a kind of unintentional humour to this.

    This game-piece I am writing is somewhat important for me. There is narcissism in that I think it will be a fun game that people will enjoy, but I am attempting to borrow ideas from composers who write such things with seemingly pure intentions with permitting this fun piece of music to happen, as opposed to me forging this work.

    This is a difficult topic to dive into, I have two other paragraphs written (posted below) that I am really struggling with how I feel about. They go on to say that the grandness of my pieces are sort of indicative of my own narcissism, but then I recall all the moments I want to make enjoyable for my players. I could be negative about it and assume that’s just for the longevity of my own work, so people play my piece for a long time to come. But I don’t think that’s all there is to it. The things I’ve written on this blog about removing myself from the influence is present in my work, and my respect for composers like John Cage is real.

    All I can say is I don’t really know how I feel about my work in terms of narcissism/humor. I don’t want fame, but I still want to impress people somehow. I don’t write without entirely removing myself. I get downright impressed with my own work sometimes.

    I feel like I could argue these points back and forth with myself all night long. So I am going to move on for now, I don’t know if I will come back to this. I will try to be aware of it in the future.

    These are the paragraphs I wrote

    (I would like to think that the grand concepts that I address help to contextualize my smallness, but in reality they may just accompany the grandeur I desire. I don’t even mean fame, I just mean grand sound and grand scope of my work to convey a grand artist, as if there is this interesting universe of things going on in my mind.

    I think that I am only conveying these things to myself. It is great fun to unfold such huge seeming ideas into a musical work, it is satisfactory to me and I take pride in being able to show my musicians that I have accounted for their instruments. I am humble enough to admit when I don’t know their instrument well and would like some guidance with writing for them.)

    I abandoned the writing there to write the above paragraphs

    Daily Action: Service Call

    I didn’t actually ask another musician if I could be of service, but my musician friend came to me and started asking my opinion on this elitist college program that Laurier wants to run. It really fired me up and I am grateful that she got me thinking like she did.


  24. Creative Word: Gathering Support

    So I did another singing one. It started off as a drum and shouting chorus thing from a Born Ruffians song “I need a Life”, I was attempting to get less shy about singing, not because I think I am good but I think it’s a big confidence challenge.

    With ‘gathering support’ I decided to recreate the big tough guy chorus as best as I could on my own and I even sang with the thing. A little embarrassing but I attempted to channel the lesson from Tuesday’s class and just sing.

    It turned out better than I expected, I maybe overdid the chorus shouting a bit but I like that my voice can do that.

    Creative Experiment: Child’s Pose

    I finished that game piece today and I spent my time writing it more engaged in this child perspective. I didn’t really enjoy a lot of classroom games as a child. There are some eternal ones like heads-up (or 7-up? I forget), but I think mostly I felt their sterility and their intention to be fun. I ended up building this game which I imagined had a lot of strategy and sneakiness involved, which is more adult than I would have thought back then, but it had silly elements that kept you out of pure tactics.

    I’ll explain one element of this:

    In the game players can only move while they are silent. I flash cards at them to stop them in their tracks as they try to enter my conductor circle. I mixed in a bunch of recurring cards that screwed me over as they indicate “silence” or “person A Solo”. Since these involve silence for most or all people involved, the conductor screws himself and must stop everyone from rushing towards the circle by drawing another card. Occasionally the conductor will draw another silence card

    Daily Dose: Esteem

    I don’t have a problem with this in principle, but it gets difficult sometimes. It is quite easy for me not to talk poorly about another persons work, even when (perhaps especially when) other people are ganging up on whatever song or piece of music is playing. Writing off any piece of music in an overly negative way after first, second, or even the tenth hearing is almost completely useless, but for me there is something important to learning how to criticize your own opinions and understand what you like and why you like it.

    It took an overly aggressive stance at first to set my mind into being critical, which I refined and back off of. I found it easy to have no opinion on some music because I was so worried about people’s feelings. After I gave myself some personal license to be critical of other people’s material, I started to recognize the things that I liked or didn’t like.

    This is potentially limiting for me as I tend to want to go all in on a lot of decisions I make, so I have to stipulate that I will try to find something enjoyable to me. Even if it’s a country song, there has to be a reason people like it and there has to be something I can take from the experience – if I can’t, it’s wasted time, and I’m not really into thinking like that, so I’d prefer to actually try getting into some element of it.

    The most important contribution you can make is to share your criticisms. I agree that it is gross to just rip on a song and that the only real call for it is when attempting to better understand your tastes, but I think it is harmful to commend a musician for work that you don’t enjoy or have some comments to make. Criticism is insanely valuable, deluding each other is useless.

    Daily Action: The Good In Everyone

    I love people today. We had our last improv class which makes me a little bit sad and kind of gives a clean slate to people who I may have had difficulty with during the year because I know that I will soon miss them. Everyone brought in some kind of structured improv today and they all went really well. They were better thought through than last weeks and I was thrilled that people had a good time with my game-piece. It happened a lot quicker and got much more disorganized than I expected, but it was definitely worth the laughs.


  25. Creative Word: Exceed Greatness

    Exceeding greatness is more about moving beyond the desire for greatness. The recording I did were first a brief jam on this new instrument that I made with my friend.

    The follow up recording was not a really a new style for me, but it made me think about what it is to be beyond greatness. As I kind of stated, I think it is just getting over the hype of slowly refining your abilities within a tradition or doing something that is satisfying to other people. Exceeding greatness is detaching yourself from the desire to be great, whatever comes after that is not “super great”, but beyond the concept of ‘greatness’.

    I used the recording device as a method of playing the instrument. I strummed the string with the grill of the microphone and manipulated the instruments sound by quickly changing perspectives with the microphone.

    Creative Experiment: Back to Analog (redo)

    I didn’t really do this a couple weeks ago so I am addressing it here.

    I spent some time today with a friend building a shitty instrument out of a few things around my bed room. There was an old violin bow with no hair on it so we strung a guitar string across, stuck a cymbal between the wood and the string and taped a contact mic to it. It had a bunch of cool properties that were fun to explore. It was fun finding ways that the unrelated objects fit together and experimenting creating weird sounds.

    Creative Experiment: Geographic Solution

    I notice the influence that different spaces have on me. If it is a large space, it pulls me into playing more and playing confidently unlike a small room where I feel I have to try so hard to get such a simple sound to come out.

    As for the non-physical impact of a setting, I find that I don’t notice much between cities that are short distances from each other or ones that are culturally similar (between here and Edmonton for example, there is not much difference). I do know that if the space demands attention (through cultural significance, off-putting decor, etc.) I would probably allow it to influence my sound but I don’t really know. I am feeling very tired tonight

    Daily Dose: Worthy of Love

    I try to keep loving feelings towards other people, and I more often find that I am beaten down by the day more than I am started off in a bad mood. It is far easier to sustain bitter feelings than it is to sustain loving feelings because loving often demands challenging my thoughts on who is right. The simpler instinct is to think of things in terms of right or wrong rather than trying to achieve happiness.

    I am on board with loving each other and as much as I try to ignore it, I think I am faced too often with negativity and ignorance of each other for it to be reasonable to preserve.

    Daily Action: Flip Over from the Bad Side of the Bed

    I woke up in a pretty good mood I think. I tried to sleep in, and I was a little annoyed that I couldn’t, but I didn’t take that out on anyone.

    I am finding these journals heavily reflect my mood more than pure truth. Occasionally I am onboard with what you are saying, but if I am even slightly out of it I am more willing to disagree without really thinking of constructive alternatives. These reflect personal truths for the day, and I don’t know what to believe. I think above all I would prefer to choose the peaceful road, but many times I find that it isn’t truly practical. Considering my roommates for example, to watch them thoughtlessly pass out negativity with an oblivious smile is not healthy. I can’t juggle relationships like this, I can’t just put it away because it’s always so prevalent in the house, and they don’t seem to accept my attempts to tell them to stop. Maybe this is just a particularly horrible situation, but my solution is to find happiness and peace elsewhere, not just to love them more.


  26. Creative Word: Eliminate

    I simply played a guitar riff in a fairly noise environment and then I did what I could to eliminate it by forcing my way into an extremely tight closet. My guitar does not sound choked off because there are a lot of hard surfaces in there, but it removed most noise from the TV and upstairs area.

    Creative Experiment: What About You?

    Today is not really about me, it’s about family and relaxing. As much as I would like to say I’d like to spend the day relaxing, it isn’t reasonable to do so. I live my life for me in Kitchener/Waterloo and I can’t expect absolute simplicity today, there are dishes to do, there is cleaning to do. Relaxation is partly available to me, but the way to it is through working.

    Daily Dose: Intelligence Only Goes So Far…

    I strongly disagree. Intelligence is the path to so many emotional connections for me. The only way I touch upon spirituality is by glimpsing how unbelievable life is. How lucky I am to be alive, how short life is, and how vast the universe is gives me this extreme emotional/spiritual reaction and I only reach these discoveries through intellectual investigation. Intelligence gives me something to say in my musical life, though I am comfortable with expressing only energy and not verbal, spiritual, or scientific ideas through music, I feel that intelligence opens a wide range of musical opportunities, because no matter what concrete concepts I try to express through music, I know it will not be communicated. The concreteness of my ideas helps me to create a unique form and challenges me to invent new musical techniques, but it is fortunate that no one will translate my musical interpretation of activity in the universe into what I intended. Perhaps they will interpret it in a purely emotional way, or see something reflective of their religion. It doesn’t matter to me. Olivier Messiean was sure he was interpreting colors and mystic Catholicism truths very accurately, but we are very fortunate that it is not as concrete as he perceived it because it is entirely accessible to anyone with an open mind to new music.

    I believe that the intelligence approach doesn’t apply to everyone. Some people get fired up off of religious spirituality, naturalism, community, etc. The point is that intelligence is actually the thing that works for me. It is one of the best ways of getting me to an emotional/spiritual place.

    Daily Action: Rich in Emotions

    I don’t have a lot of musical opportunities available except that I hopefully will get a bit of writing for my cousins short film done. I will try to be emotional about it. I have to inject some sense of sympathy into the project.


  27. Creative Word: Begin Again

    I was improvising on my bari sax and played until the improvisation felt like it approached a conclusion. As it wound down I read the words “begin again” and so I wound the improvisation down in a way that mirrored how it started, and then I built it up the way I had started again.

    The true ending was a bit lacking because it was really starting to hurt my back and it wasn’t worth pushing through the pain because of back problems I have already.

    I restart around the 3:55 mark.

    Creative Experiment: Shrinking the Problem

    The problem that I am having is involved in this improvisation recital, but I seem to have shrunk it quite a lot in the Daily Action post. The original problem is that I am a little annoyed by the amount of structure that the school seems to expect of it. I don’t have a whole lot of reverence for this recital, the fact that I did a 40 minute solo performance earlier in the year has kind of dwarfed the significance of this performance.

    This isn’t to say I don’t care about it. I love to play and I have been looking forward to this one because there was a more natural feel to it, but I am becoming aware of these hoops I have to jump through for this project and I’m not really thrilled about it. The school diminishes this performance by imposing it’s own structure (or demand for structure) onto it.

    My problem is that I don’t just want to meet the program’s expectations, I want to meet/exceed my own. I am thinking of ways that will satisfy my expectations and the school’s, but it usually falls short on one end or the other.

    The conclusion I seem to be circling around is in the Daily Action: expect to abandon your favourite techniques and habits. I go into more detail about how practicing can be a bad thing if you are in the wrong mindset, but I am thinking that practice is mostly useful for developing as a player with the potential to execute any ideas that might come to them instead of developing a bag of tricks to burn through.

    This reminds me of a philosophy Joe Sorbara brought up in a performance. “Improvisation is taking a note for a walk”. He contrasts this idea with the bag of tricks option and I feel myself aligning with this idea. This is one of the main things I will have to express in my explanation of my piece.

    I find myself wanting to dash in things that I don’t normally do (including vocal sounds), but intending to include something presupposes what the piece will be.

    Improvisation seems to function best as a kind of conversation, if I go into it with absolutely nothing what will the piece be and what will inspire me? I don’t mean to answer this definitively, but I am curious about where improvised music comes from if it seems to be invented on the spot.

    I notice that space influences me a lot, it seems to pull me into my sound and that resonance gives me material to improvise against. A large spaces ability to preserve my musical thoughts may be why I seem to have better luck improvising in large rooms, but I don’t always fail with small rooms either.

    I have best luck in small rooms when I am doing long form improvisations, which I intend to do tomorrow.

    It seems that I am okay with some kinds of structure: long-form, expecting that actual structure of the room to influence my playing, conversation, imagery. But I am not as okay with others: coming in with prepared concepts, techniques and special effects as an engine.

    I love translating non-musical concepts into music especially in my composed work, but they are only barely realized by my improvised playing and don’t translate to anything very fascinating outside of my mind so I think it is worth avoiding.

    My conclusions: the easy way makes for poor music, the hard way doesn’t makes convoluted (potentially bad) music. The natural way is the most interesting way to respond. (“Natural” encompasses responding to conversation, space, and your own sound.)

    Daily Dose: Everyone has been there…

    Speaking from a technical approach, I have found this beneficial in my teaching. Instead of agreeing with a student that a technique is hard, I just tell them that it is new and that it’s no harder in reality than how they once perceived tying their shoelaces to how they perceive it now. It’s a new concept and takes a small commitment to overcome. I think this has been a useful approach and it’s an approach I wish had been used on me when I was learning. I found it easy to take cover in excuses when they were built into the explanation. It is my own fault if I am bad at practicing, but these overly sympathetic moments from teachers/fellow musicians gave me an opportunity to continue hiding in my own excuses.

    As for encouraging the creative process, I am looking at undertaking a pretty large summer project that encourages musical creativity in young kids who are not technically proficient. I am hopefully going to work with NUMUS to promote music making in the most general and unrestrictive way that I can. It will available to younger kids and won’t necessarily promote ‘free improv’ as much as it will ‘music making’. I have considered a number of ways to remove the daunting technical aspects from it and incorporating the kids activity as much as possible. I love working with kids on improvised music because they tend to really enjoy it and like to incorporate funky sounds when they are not so distracted by being “good” (as per my grade 9 definition of good). They are often fantastic at generating stories for their music to follow and once they get rolling with creative ideas, they usually end up touching on important concepts. (This concept goes on but I don’t have it fully realized. I will be writing this project out so I understand it better, but I am encouraged by the people I have gotten into more depth with this about).

    Bottom line, when kids aren’t forced into traditional methods they seem to flourish.

    Daily Action: Say no to no

    I am rehearsing for this recital tomorrow which feels stupid since it’s supposed to be improvised and all it feels like I am doing is building up techniques that I can show off tomorrow. I am not into this faux-improv thing, I would rather crash and burn than play a lifeless improvisation. I am resisting saying no to practicing, but I am saying no to structure in this recital. Last time I got into trouble by getting locked into a framework that I conceived before playing. I am taking a risk by having no safety net, but I think that I am good enough to handle it well even if is not an amazing improvisation. I won’t crash and burn, I know myself and I know that I can handle any musical situation that I get myself into well enough, but the only thing that separates the good improvisations from the poor ones is a feeling of adrenaline.

    I don’t disagree with practicing when you are an improviser, but I think when it is not clarified that it easily means “practice tricks that you can pull out for tonights improvisation”. I’m stealing that thought (not a direct quote) from Gavin Bryars, but it clicks with me. Practicing is important for an improvisor, but I don’t think it ought to be the same kind of practice as when you refine a piece of repertoire. It should instead be a refining of your playing, working out fingerings or patterns you have never tried before – not so you can play them tonight, but so your fingers are limber enough to have any pattern available to you as you need it. You should not only be prepared to abandon your favourite techniques/habits, but expect (perhaps even demand) to abandon them during a performance.

    To get back to the theme, I don’t think you should forget your favourite techniques when the opportunity comes up to make good use of it, but don’t keep your brain in your fingers/hands/feet/mouth. Keep it listening and thinking.


  28. Creative Word: Tame

    I improvised some stuff on banjo today. I thought it came out really nice. I was impressed by how simple and musical it ended up sounding.

    As for the word: I removed the back from my banjo and shoved my condenser mic inside of it for the first time through. The second time through I placed the microphone (Blue Spark) over the 12th fret of the banjo, pressed this ‘focus’ button and draped a blanket over me and the recording area. I tried focusing on the recording technique here instead of influencing my performance with the word of the day, but I found that the playing was a little more tame as well. Some of it verged on traditional sounding (Re Do Ti Do at one point), and other parts relied on my more common ‘free improv’ sound. It didn’t have the same kind of vibe because I also attempted to reuse melody/ideas from the first recording and came out time simply because I had played it before and was more comfortable with it already.

    I ran out of space on the other soundcloud so I have to use a different one.

    Creative Experiment: 90 Seconds

    I would consider my current musical project to be this short film score that needs to get done soon. It is about a minute and a half long and basically a public service announcement for the henchmen of various comic book villains.

    do a small intro/outro jingle
    base thie jingle on a minor/minor7 chord like used to be used on the old twirly moustache villains
    make the music upbeat/ but naively upbeat
    the villains will be writing the music for this psa, it ought to be a little poorly done
    probably a simple recording, the guy wants it done on piano
    perhaps a dry and shitty sounding recording to emphasis the diy
    I have leftover music from an earlier project that was never used that I think will fit and at least spark some ideas
    I didn’t end up coming up with anything too new except for realizing number 6 and 7.

    Daily Dose: Inspiration, not Procrastination

    I am aware of my problems when it comes to procrastinating on inspiration and usually only give into procrastinating when the inspiration comes during time with a friend or on a date. It pains me to let the inspiration go, but it is important that I give attention to these people because art making dominates my life most days.

    On a smaller scale (various moments in improvisations) I notice that sometimes I am hesitant in contributing to the improvisation because the idea may not work. There was at least one time where that happened today. I don’t necessarily regret not acting on it, I think it risked missing an ending, but it may have worked out well.

    Daily Action: Act on Inspiration

    This was the goal for the entire day. I did my improvised recital and reacted exclusively to inspiration that came from the echo of the space or accidental motives.


  29. Creative Word: Fullness

    Headphone tambourine is where I took a pair of headphones (plugged into the input of my interface) and filled the ear cups with coins and messed around with shaking them. In a sense I guess that addressed fullness, but I experimented with making it sound fuller – somehow musical or at least purposeful. I added some compression and a peculiar reverb to it with some EQ and got a really cool result.

    I recorded the sound by laying the headphones down and tapping on the desk. You don’t hear much the first time through, but the second time (with effects) is awesome.

    Creative Experiment: Pre-production


    Listen the entire time, be sure your space isn’t being invaded by unwanted external noise (traffic, roommates, construction, creaky chairs, sympathetic vibrations in the room) and figure out how you can handle it
    Out of the box:

    Make sure all gain knobs are down all the way on the interface – there is weird bleed on my interface that makes noise if it’s not kept in check.
    Be sure speaker output volume is down (or at least reasonable)
    Power things on – speakers last in the signal chain
    See that everything actually came on, my setup has a slight risk of my firewire falling out – make sure the light on the interface is BLUE
    Be sure you have cables available, they ought to be wrapped up already and easy to get at
    Note whether phantom power is on already
    Mic stands – I don’t have a lot, but get ones that are appropriate so I don’t have to swap mics and clips because I didn’t think I would need the tall stand later
    Put on mic clips if they’re not already on
    Clip in mics, plug in mics (based on what needs phantom power, my interface groups them in 4’s)
    Do all the “in the box” stuff (below) first, then do mic placements and sound checking.
    In the box:

    Close as many programs as possible
    Check that the interface is selected as I/O
    Check channel strip to see that channels are feeding from correct channels (also mono/stereo)
    Soundcheck to see that mics are working
    if not, check phantom power if applicable
    check gain level on interface
    check mute/solo/record/monitoring in DAW
    check mic cable
    restart DAW
    Check that metronome isn’t going to trigger when you press record (unless I’m going to use it). It’s loud when you don’t expect it.
    Out of the box (again):

    Mic placements, sound checking.
    Daily Dose: Control Kills

    I agree that education is an exercise in control. I have been focused on this a lot lately as I have come to realize that as the semester demands more of me, I get lost in how much there is to accomplish and I ignore what is important to me. I have talked about this enough to have made my point I think..

    As for exercising control on an idea too much: when it comes to improvisation I find that complete abandonment of expectation and starter concepts make for the best solo improvisations. The same kind of abandonment in a duo (or more) leads to some carelessness and not listening. It takes a different mindset than solo work, because solo improvising allows the musician to get away with thinking in a box. Duo/group work opens up a whole new relational parameter of unpredictability. Both people have to be on the same wave of abandoning expectations on new levels that are not applicable to solo work such as: who is the leader? or should their be a leader?

    When it comes to composition, I really like the compromise between giving musicians a framework to work within. I understand this is control, but it is not as much as is conventionally assumed of composition.

    Daily Action: Watch It Unfold

    I got to spend quite a bit of time improvising today. I felt that it was a good day for giving up control.


    • Ok Adam and Mike, for the last 40 days or so you two are to shoot a video everyday explaining what you did and why you made the creative choices you did. The video can be as long or as short as you see fit. Start a new account in Youtube or Vimeo and begin to post those links along with the rest of the links you have already been posting. Let me know if you have any questions, DAve


  30. Creative Word: Influence

    I started off beatboxing. I found an interesting mix of effects to use on it so I took some time to learn how to hold the mic without getting the sound of breathing through my nose and then recorded something. It sounded pretty cool, really like the effect still, I used a version of it on yesterdays recording.

    I thought of what influence could mean. At first I assumed I would try bringing in my own influences into the beatboxing, but I realized I draw heavily on all of my drumming influences most of the time, so I tried to influence the song. It had an industrial feel so I wanted to influence it towards a slightly different feel. Some kind of electronic dub thing. I don’t know a lot about it, but the thing that put me on that track was holding an SM57 against my camera with the gain cranked. There’s a lot of digital noise and motors and beeps going on. These all sounded pretty cool, so I added a ton of reverb which for some reason reminded me of electronic dance music. It was hard to record in time, but it made for a cool effect.

    Creative Experiment: Bathroom Cathedral

    I sat in there for a bit, but the sound of my roommate having sex next door made it an awkward moment instead of a peaceful one.

    Came back later, not much better. The walls are paper thin here and the source of so many of my frustrations this year.

    Daily Dose: It’s okay to be afraid

    I just finished explaining this to a trumpet player I am working with. She’s not feeling very confident about her playing and feels that she needs to know the key in order to improvise. She seems to feel a lot of fear around me and the rest of the band because we all seem so confident and good at our instrument. She’s a good player in general and any time that we can get her to bring out her sound it sounds awesome. Hopefully this bit of encouragement will help her. I realize now that this is kind of different than saying ‘it’s okay to feel afraid’, and more like ‘I too feel afraid, but you just have to accept it and embrace the wrong notes as correct’.

    I don’t think I personally needed this, but I’m glad I could share it with someone who is afraid in a way like I used to be.

    Daily Action: Finding Strength

    I am mostly finding difficulty discovering the unknown. If I find anything that I haven’t tried, sometimes I will hesitate but I quickly acknowledge that I should try that step. Recently I included my own shouting voice into an improvisation which felt weird, but I’m glad I did it. I would like to work it into my stuff more and keep developing my voice like I have been trying to through the creative word lately.


  31. Daily Med 70 – Day 93

    Creative Word: Piece Together

    Creative Experiment: Check Out and Zone In

    I spent a few moments today working through the performance I’m going to have tomorrow night. I am extremely excited for it and am visualizing the movements, actions, and overall strategy to the event tomorrow. It’s a little silly to explain some of them on here because I don’t know that they’ll actually happen and also because it’s a little bit like explaining an action scene, it’s quite a let down compared to just seeing what happens. It pretty much involves crowd interaction and being sort of flashy about my playing. I like doing this a day or two before a performance and really visualizing how it will go down, but I prefer not to think about it too much on the day of – I prefer to just ignore it, focus on my playing ability and let the mood take me wherever it wants to go.

    Daily Dose: States of Mind

    State of mind is very important. I am able to, every once in a while, demand myself to shake out of my anger towards my other roommates and ignore the blaming that I tend to do. I always know that it is a crappy way to live, but I can’t always escape it this way. Last year was when I realized this and executed it best, I could escape any problem by looking to the bigger picture and finding comfort in whatever that was.

    Sometimes I think it is not so easy to simply wish your way out of a negative state of mind. As I’ve said I am well acquainted with outright rejecting negativity and thinking more positively, but it doesn’t work nearly as often in this place. I have committed my mind to thinking this way it seems, I think I have somewhat given into it and have just resigned myself that things will improve when I move on, but the only way things will improve is if I surround myself with more positively minded people and less gossip oriented ones. I can make any situation a decent one, but not always for long periods of time.

    Daily Action: Look for Creativity

    Today was a very creative day for me. I did a photo shoot for my friend Alexis and I rehearsed with my band Black Santa. I was inspired by the ways the other members of this band play, we’re pretty new together so I haven’t gotten entirely used to what they can do. Besides this I am inspired by Moon Hooch and Too Many Zooz lately.


  32. Creative Word: Create Fellowship

    Creative Experiment: Switching Hats

    Today I played in a few pieces for friends who were recording their final projects for conducting class. When I first sat down I played through as I often do with these low pressure gigs and just read the chart without putting huge priority on blending or being incredibly musical. I read the dynamics, I read the notes, I read the articulations but I did not really put a huge effort into communicating.

    Having done this class before, I tuned into how the conductor must be viewing this whole experience. Though I wasn’t playing poorly (not more poorly or better than any other person in the room), I was not really lending my ability to the ensemble, nor was I helping to make this a piece of music.

    I revisited some concepts that came up in the conducting class, things like how notes on a page are not music, it is a representation of something that is temporal and living. After tuning into the conductors point of view I feel I began to perform a little bit better and like the piece had improved a fair bit

    Daily Dose: Don’t Forget to Look Around

    I find when I tune back into what’s going on around me with the intention of ‘harvesting’ some kind of beauty from it (that’s sort of a contradiction in terms, or at least in intensity), I tend to pick up on something that I wasn’t aware of in my more common state of my mind.

    Daily Action: It’s not about You

    This is something I have struggled with a lot. It took a lot of willpower to force myself out of being so shy and pushing away any attention that came my way. I finally came to terms with the fact that I am actually interesting and that I shouldn’t have such a low opinion of myself, but I think I maybe overshot the mark. I came from a really introverted/introspective place, and maybe that’s all I felt I had to contribute for a while, but there’s sort of a habit that has come from this. I tune into when I speak about myself, but don’t yet know how to push it off naturally.


  33. Creative Word: Attending

    Creative Experiment: Doing Nothing

    I don’t go crazy in these situations, but I have trouble with feeling very genuine about my purpose there if it’s a public space. I enjoy sitting places where I am not feeling other people’s eyes on me because I feel less of a struggle with committing to my own thoughts than when I am in spaces where I wonder how I am being perceived.

    That was the case today when I found a chance to sit on a bench for a few minutes vs. when I took the chance to sit in my empty kitchen.

    Daily Dose: What You Are

    The bit about bragging about a performance before performing it makes sense to me now. I normally don’t have these crazy high expectations for my performances but the high of last nights performance preceded the actual playing.

    Sometimes I get caught in these loops of comparing myself to other musicians or analyzing other people in order to understand their success and occasionally I strike what I think is the root of it and I snap out of it. When I analyze people I tend to notice that their uniqueness can only stem from their personal genuineness and personal reflection.

    I know that we are not as distant as I sometimes like to think, and I know it is useless to enforce disconnections when I don’t want to see art/music as personal property, but as a collaborative effort for cultural advancement.

    Daily Action: Connect – Don’t Separate

    Last night/this mornings performance could have benefited from thinking more like this. For some reason there was a lot of strangeness in our performance. It wasn’t a bad performance, but it was only okay. We were too careful and disconnected from each other and from the audience, there didn’t seem to be the right kind of energy.

    As for today I will take a cue from yesterdays creative experiment and use my empathy towards the conductor to make a better connection with my fellow musicians.


  34. Creative Word: Argue

    Creative Experiment: Conscious Tempo

    It’s crazy to think of how many opportunities might be missed by forgetting to take a bland idea and reversing it, or playing it on a different instrument, or playing it faster or slower. I experimented with a banjo riff that I had built particularly fast for 10 minutes. Cool things came out of slowing it down, but nothing too groundbreaking, I just added a little rhythmic interest during what is normally a lull in the riff.

    Daily Dose: The Task is at Hand

    Today I worked a lot on photography stuff, I find it extremely hypnotic to do this as I get focused on the smallest details. I am in a pretty good habit of being immersed in the present, but I sometimes I catch myself wishing for the future. Something my high school English teacher said to our class usually keeps these thoughts in check. In response to a student saying they can’t wait for winter to end or school to be over (or something) he said ‘you are just wishing your life away’. A pretty simple response, but resonated pretty strongly with me for whatever reason.

    I attempt to put as much activity towards my photography and music career as I can. This doesn’t always translate directly to new ‘product’, but usually means that I have read something meaningful or encountered something new that stirs my imagination towards new ideas. Sometimes the problem is being aware of some of these more casual ideas as viable artworks.

    Daily Action: Get Set…

    Today I invested huge amounts of time into my photography work. I have had multiple gigs come up in the last couple of days and have made huge progress with it. It unfortunately involved a lot of sitting during this nice day, but I took some time to step outside and enjoy the weather.


  35. Creative Word: Storage

    Creative Experiment: One Liner

    I did this with my last project “No True Echo” – the piece could be stripped down to the word ‘Reveal’. That word rang through the later half of my composition time and greatly influenced the piece.

    My current piece “Perfect Transmission” could be reduced to ‘Mingles its own nature with truth’, or ‘Man is not the measure of all things’.

    The writing of the piece could give preference to the instruments tuning, most natural/easy fingerings or positions when interpreting the main guitar line.
    I could mingle the players personal ideas into the music by giving them graphic notation and improvisational concepts.
    Inject traditionally ‘beautiful’ concepts onto fragments of the ‘whole truth’ (as portrayed by the guitar line).
    Incorporate passages from literature or well known speakers/academics by which I can indoctrinate my musicians
    Inverting the scores themselves, hindering the scores somehow – asking players to remove their glasses (depending on the severity of their prescription), placing music stands at heights or in positions that make their instrument hinder their sight.
    Construction of their instrument over time, players refine their confused interpretations into even better established confusions. The clarinet player adds the bell to his/her instrument, the violin player begins using a bow, all begin to play more proficient, elaborate passages, driven by their own understanding that is built on false premises.
    This was quite productive.

    Daily Dose: Two Voices

    It’s easy to push off blame in a situation, but it is something I am aware of. I am glad for the weaknesses I have faced and for when I face them so often that I am forced to call myself out on them. I remember a time where I would shift a lot of responsibility off of the outcome of whatever project I was currently working on (or not working on), and I also remember the approximate time that I became aware of this outward blaming. I was finding so many excuses that it became apparent to me that I ought to be exercising more personal honesty, it suddenly didn’t matter if I could convince other people that I would get my work done eventually, it suddenly mattered to me that I actually did see a project through. It’s something I continue to work on and have made great strides towards accepting.

    Between the two voices (ego/creative spirit), I permit myself to accept all ideas as potentially good, but I suppose I use my creative spirit and intuition to reevaluate the idea and if it is self-serving or genuinely good for the art.

    Daily Action: Listen to the Right Voice

    I am actually challenging myself to go beyond my comfort zone. I am writing an artistic statement for my composition portfolio and am finding myself inspired to write and think at a different level than usual. The work load is generally subsiding and so I am feeling a better capacity for extending myself beyond pragmatism. Maybe there is ego driving this, but I know that I will edit in the mindset of the creative spirit. To rely only on my creative spirit is to be comfortable with my personality in isolation, I think that the ego encourages some positive traits. Growth from challenging yourself to meet someone else’s heights. To rely entirely on competition will leave your artistry malnourished and you will only serve as a kind of interpreter (which I am not interested in). But to live in ignorance of external influence is to stagnate and remain ignorant of your own tastes and your own potential for advancing ideas.


  36. Creative Word: Incomplete

    Creative Experiment: A Quiet Place

    This is the way I work best. Once I commit to an idea without potential to be derailed by YouTube, e-mail or texts the ideas surrounding it flow very easily, but the only time I am really able to access this time is by being up late when no one wants to speak to me anyway.

    The closest thing I did to take time aside to create and relax in isolation was messing with that mixer in class. I kind of put on the blinders and only thought outwardly when you or someone came to talk to me. I spent time in the library to just sit and listen too, but strangely I found more inspiration during my drive today as I picked up on features of the architecture of a building I had only seen from the other side as a visual cue of where I was. The idea of ‘landmark’ started becoming really important to my Perfect Transmission idea. Using aural landmarks beyond the conventional return of ideas. I don’t remember exactly where my head went, it’s something to do with localization using timbral cues which is probably way simpler and more conventional than it sounds.

    I consider driving a quiet space, especially when driving home. I spend most of the drive in my head because there are such long stretches of road where no one else is really around.

    Daily Dose: The Past is the Model

    Making decisions on fundamental beliefs is incredibly difficult. I have for a long time understood that many people have strong opinions about who they are, what they believe, what is right and what is wrong and seem really confident about whatever it is there saying, as though they are definitely right. I noticed my lack of opinion on most topics at a pretty young age and also that I am quite diplomatic in my answers to most things.

    I felt this was a weakness for a long time, but only recently as I have amassed a few opinions on morality I have come to resent the confidence these people expressed at one time. I feel like I was misled.

    Lately I have been diving deep into various philosophical questions and finding people who express utter sincerity and belief in their own completely opposing viewpoints. Both arguments are good and cause me to wonder if I really do have freewill, or if I am just a brain in a jar and my whole life really is an electronic projection, or if I have a soul, or what it means to be a good person. There are arguments on either side of things for everything and I hate the thought of being defined by one side and ignorant or hateful towards the other.

    The only basic moral value I can stand by is to always be open minded. It encompasses so much and allows you to benefit from literally twice the experiences and ideas. Of course it comes with it’s negative side which is a sometimes frustrating agnostic ambiguity on topics that most people are ready to give an answer on.

    I don’t sit in passive contemplation at every situation, I tend to be inclined towards doing what is best for my fellow people and other living things. I acknowledge that I am human of course and feel responsibility towards helping others more than I feel inclined to outsmart my lack of freewill.

    I don’t think that I care to take my moral values from the musicians that come before me. I started on that path, but I was stuck in a fanaticism towards famous people as if their word was gospel. I feel more inclined to listen to scientists and philosophers speak on our duties to each other. There is this fortunate surge in humanitarianism coming from these people because most of the people I read and listen to are atheists or promote philosophies that seem to involve shedding of personal responsibility (such as “we don’t have free will”). These philosophers/scientists are people I idolize and risk a fanaticism there too, but I listen to them debate people who oppose their ideas and I listen openly. This is the kind of thing I can’t get from musicians being interviewed, and most of them don’t touch on anything terribly meaningful in the grand scheme of things.

    So. My central belief system consists of open-mindedness and humanitarianism.

    Daily Action: My Influences

    BLiND – band I’m currently sort of affiliated with but full who have people who have had profound influence on the direction of my music in the last year

    Colin Stetson – Saxophonist who uses extended techniques and incorporates them into beautiful textures. Gave me a new drive for getting better at my instrument

    Modest Mouse – Took me a while to get into their weirder sounds and Isaac’s weird voice. I don’t consider his voice weird anymore, but at the time it took me by surprise compared to some of the music I listened to. It also was difficult for me to enjoy because I was in this weird judgey phase where I think I acted like I knew everything about music because I started playing guitar.

    I realized that I would like to include teachers in this list even though I am past the 3 – Linda Catlin-Smith and Martin Arnold. Also profound influences on me even with my minimal personal contact with Martin Arnold.

    It’s really weird to me that I chose these 3, I kind of went with the Indie/hipster choices when I normally think I align myself more closely to rock and roll (Queens of the Stone Age, AC/DC).


  37. Creative Word: Humble

    Creative Experiment: Begin Again

    It’s something I am considering for Perfect Transmission. I am noticing that my musical ideas don’t really grab my attention on their own merit. They don’t generate anything striking despite my pride in the concept and arrangement thus far. I think if I were to abandon a lot of these ideas and come back with a fresh take on this, I will definitely get some good results.

    I have been getting some okay guitar ideas, I think when I get a chance to try this again I will attempt to write something on another instrument to change up my approach (and then reinterpret it for guitar because I really want to use that instrument).

    A valuable line that I heard this morning was to write as if it will only be seen posthumously. Remove all of the current demands of appearing successful to a particular publisher, impressing a certain person or writing with otherwise very short-sighted intentions. Write as if this won’t be seen until after you are dead, will it be relevant then? Will it communicate then like it would today? Does it stand on it’s own or is it obviously written for the sake of a job opportunity or something.

    Daily Dose: Don’t Wait

    I have been doing more of this lately, my mind has become more available again to the daily beauty in the smaller things that inspires me most. The spirit is so fickle when the real world imposes order on the mind.

    I wish I had better control on this kind of thing, but taking time out for spiritual awareness always feels like pulling in for a pit stop on a race track. Watching the reality of the race pass by as I try to force myself to become aware of the simpler things. I know that I should not force it, but it can only be described as a embracing a large weight rather than embracing peace of some kind when the rest of the world is still so demanding.

    Daily Action: Don’t Wait for Trouble

    I revisited a time when my spiritual presence felt stronger. I wrote this piece last semester called Ancient Light. It is my proudest work so far and makes me very happy to listen to. I revisited the writing that I did at the time and was fairly blown away by it. It came from a different place, almost a different person. I feel that I have kind of been able to don that mindset for short bursts today and I will continue to practice doing that.


    • Is this the last one? If so then do your 101 day do a video and writing of your experience. A testimonies kinda thing. Let me know I you have any questions. If this is your last day or tomm a big congrats buddy you did a killer job!! I am Really proud of the work you have done and watching you with the mixer the other nite showed me all this work has paid off for you.


  38. Creative Word: Gradual Process

    Creative Experiment: Purposeful Writing

    I am working on a film score for my cousin and it is not flowing at all. I am burying myself in the DAW trying to find the right sound for it. I know he wants piano music, so that’s decided already, and the piano sound I’m using sounds fine, but the music itself is completely directionless.

    I have no ideas in my head to begin with except to use a certain chord that I like and that should fit the problem.

    The first problem is making me work with live instruments first to try and get something cool from that. I ended up trying accordion and it got me thinking a bit but I couldn’t find a useful sound from that.

    The second thing is just to keep trying, don’t try and look for ideas but simply watch the film and imagine how it ought to sound based on the images instead of musical ideas that are detached from the film.

    Daily Dose: Vulnerable

    The thing that most resembles this for me is when I ask some a genuine question that is about that person. I was thinking about it recently and realizing this is the thing I have most difficulty with. When I ask questions that interest the person more than they interest me and I come into that conversation without expectations of one upping their answer or giving my own uninformed interpretation of the situation, I feel good. It took until a few days ago to realize this for myself. I understood that things weren’t clicking very well in some conversations or that I didn’t feel the same about conversation and socializing as I once had, but I think there’s this assumption that I know it all underneath my apparent inquisitiveness.

    In my musical life, I mentioned before that I have this underlying desire to be responsible for the entire creation of a work. I am not inclined to share ideas that I think are valuable and interesting until I can stamp my name on a finished product and let everyone get excited about the idea after. I want to start letting people in on the ground floor, be vulnerable to the fact that the people I work with may have better ideas than me on an idea and that I shouldn’t hinder the potential for a good piece of music to exist. Collaboration always has led to a happier piece of music in the end, it’s stupid to fight against that.

    Daily Action: Open Co-operation

    I haven’t worked with anyone so far, but I am going to the Lanois class tonight to do some silly things with a mixer, so hopefully I can get some musicians to join in and find something cool.


  39. My opinion of the daily med is a good one overall. It opened up a lot of new ideas and a lot of old ones, which helped me to reconsider old mindsets.

    It has been an important journey overall, but it certainly demands a lot of work in this class oriented style. I could have spun out just as much writing each day on one of the four topics that were written, which gives an idea of my limitations with time. At some points I was forced to compromise on how genuinely I was responding to the question because I had massive responsibilities to my other university courses.

    Adding the element of recording to the daily med was awesome and I wish I had been doing that all along. I want to improve at this video thing but I am glad it didn’t show up in the midst of all my rehearsals and busyness.

    I stick with my thought that I would have been able to respond better if I was the sole evaluator of my progress. Obviously you need to see something, but it changes the process when I know that I am submitting something to someone. I have bits of poems, journals and songs that no one will ever see and it allows them to be purely genuine.

    I most enjoyed responding to the daily dose since they essentially played out like thought experiments, but it was good to see myself forced to actually try doing the prescribed experiments and things that I’m not naturally inclined to do.

    Everything was great, even the times that I really disagreed with your point because I better explored my reasons for disagreeing. I was only limited by the time that I could put into it this year.

    It’s hard to respond to this entire process in a clear way since it covers so much and because I still have responsibilities I need to take care of tonight and for the next little while, but if you have certain things you would like me to address I would be glad to in another post.


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