Music is the River, but the Shore Keeps Moving…..

Recording at Home - 2019

jeffjuit / Pixabay

I have been casting about for a long time for someplace to focus my creative energies away from day-to-day and toward an endeavor that feeds my soul. I have tried a few different ones over the years, including some obvious ones, like:
  • reading
  • writing
  • movies
  • creating jewelry
  • drawing
What I found out about each of these is:
  • I love reading, but it’s not really creative on my part, and I don’t have the visual stamina (my eyes tire easily…) to crank into the volume of reading I aspire to.
  • While I like writing well enough, it isn’t enough of a compulsion for me to call it a true creative outlet.
  • Movies are fun, but, again, not really creative on my part.
  • Creating jewelry has been pretty fun for over 20 years now, but I do it only a couple of times a year. Again, the drive / compulsion to create in that medium isn’t there to enough of a degree for me.
  • Drawing….kind of fun, but basically I really suck, so not so much fun as it should be…
This leaves what should have been an obvious choice for me: music.
Although my parents didn’t play instruments, I grew up in a household that had music playing nearly all the time, and in which I was encouraged to play and explore. I started baritone horn lessons in fifth grade (our school district had the band directors giving weekly private lessons to every band student throughout the school year, which was a HUGE advantage…) and had decided that I wanted to be a musician by the time I was high school junior. I composed my first piece of music for a small jazz group at that time (it is entitled “Clams“, a nickname for a missed note when you play….seemed appropriate!), and haven’t really stopped composing in one form or another, ever since.
…However, the technology, broadly defined, has rocketed along. My early days as a composer / keyboardist had me using a Wurlitzer electric piano enhanced with a phase shifter, ring modulator and wah-wah pedal, recording to cassette recorder via a single microphone. Today’s default for a lot of composing is a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) of some kind, a controller (maybe…) and a lot of computer-focused work. This isn’t necessarily  a bad thing, but the shift from analog to digital changes a lot of concepts in approaching composition, and I have other ‘legacy’ equipment (synthesizers, sound modules, sequencers and the like) that I hate to leave in the box, as I feel there is a lot to be gained by incorporating them all into the compositional mix, and the sounds are more authentic to what I hear in my head than many of the virtual sound modules I hear….also, the sounds that I hear reflect the talents of the numerous monster players I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of playing with over the years, and no virtual module can model them. It is a dilemma….
Nonetheless, I am excited to dig into the new stuff, incorporate the older stuff, and see what I can come up with. It is nice not to have a driving timeline to be pushed by, other than my internal desire to get what I hear in my head out into the world in a  way that sounds more and more like what I’m hearing. As I remarked to someone yesterday, I was able to create a short tune last week that that sounded only moderately spastic instead of remarkably bad, which is progress!
This part of the journey is proving to be more fun and a bigger challenge than I was expecting, which calls me further into the journey.
Yeah, this is what I have been looking for…

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