Posts tagged Ideas

Part of my work as a musician requires waiting. Reaching out to people I’d love to work with, reminding them I’m still alive. Working on parts of my administrative system for optimal workflow management. Or simply, reminding the great mystery that I still love composing music and it will make the world a better place

Sometimes, in the thick of these moments of stillness of projects, times when things aren’t exactly working according to plan (ha! Plans!), I’m reminded that it’s okay to be in the creative intuitive space where it’s more important to go back and reorganize things that desperately need reorganization. If you’re a musician and you’re reading this, I wanted to share a couple of ideas that can help make a slow time a bit faster.

  1. Join a performing rights organization and register all of your works.

  2. Copyright an album that needs that official stamp of ownership.

  3. Learn about something new, like synthesis, orchestration, or perhaps how to develop a melody.

  4. Reach out to friends who know you and your work ethic.

  5. Do some cold calling. Though this isn’t for everyone, I can say without any doubt that nothing stirs the pot quite like a blast of cold calls to people you’d love to work with.

As this period of stillness is coming to an end this summer, I wish you all the best and may the projects come rolling in.

FunD WIdeas
Maybe it’s just me, but…

Overheard by a musician working the cash register at a local Austin shop:

I hear the same old stuff coming from Nashville, all the time. Three chords, same old pile of garbage. I could write that in an instant and make millions.

I hate to point this out, and maybe it’s just me who’s thinking this, but what’s stopping you?

I was a little shocked and silent nonetheless. The person he was talking to stopped talking too; maybe we were thinking the same thing?

…that maybe it’s better to just engage and see where that leads?

FunD WIdeas
The age of character genre?

I was just musing: Is the fact that most musical territory has already been explored necessarily a bad thing?

The argument many people have with music is something like, “That’s not original. Someone else has already done that.” Well, no shit Sherlock.

Let’s take an obscure example: Coltrane practiced Slonimsky’s Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns towards the latter part of his life. He explored it deeply, and had he lived longer he could have explored it more fully. However, Coltrane applied this to his music. His group towards the later part of his life (after McCoy and Jones and Garrison) was his vehicle to bring that study into sonic format.

Now onto the thought experiment: What if a band with an established voice, like Radiohead for example, started to study the same text that Coltrane studied. Would Radiohead make free jazz? Maybe, maybe not. But undoubtably, it would sound like Radiohead. And yes, I’d buy it too.

The age where original musical ideas created on brand new theoretical ideas is pretty much gone, with exception to those lone classical voices creating music in academia. The age of original voices using the same established theoretical models is happening now.

In other words, pop and country and hip hop inspired beats mixing together to form bro country is just one iteration. All it takes is an original voice willing to explore something different to give us all something brand new, fresh, and exciting to groove on.

Originality is overrated. It’s better just to establish a voice and then take it on a musical journey from there.

FunD WIdeas, Creativity
The death of idea generating places?

Here’s a quote from Alan Fletcher’s book “The Art of Looking Sideways”: 

 Ivan Chermayeff does much of his thinking in taxies, Lon Dorfsman on planes, Steve Guarnaccia on the subway. Designers also talk of getting ideas when they are on the sleep borderland...”

Challenge: Can you successfully not pick up your smart phone in a taxi, on a plane, on the subway, or in that sweet transition from sleep to wakefulness? Can you do this in the service of idea generation?