Wednesday, February 03, 2010

One of my compositional tools (which I only recently realized was a too) is jamming on my own tune.

The way I do this is to take a new idea, hone the parts and then let the tape roll and improvise and jam with the parts and variations and let the spirit of the tune and the energy of the previous moments or hours of composition flow naturally onto a recording.

Best to let a little time go by before you listen and there will be even more than you realized you had on that tape. ie. all the little variations, improvisations etc. may well end up being intros, outros or even completely different sections (or tunes for that matter!)

After many years of taking some of this stuff for granted I am realizing I should share it as there was no one to show or teach me this kind of stuff when I started out.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

My fairly recent plunge into playing new stringed instruments is a mysterious direction, even for me. Today I realized that some of the emotions and feelings that drive this are similar to when I lived in Montreal and was trying to escape old performance and compositional habits in the spirit of my stay at the Banff School of the Arts.

Of course after playing guitar for more than 35 years I feel most confident and familiar on that instrument. At what point did anyone decide those are the feelings we are after.

I have always chosen to do things in my life that don't come easy and this is no exception. Playing the fiddle, the mandolin and especially the banjo brings me great joy and the amount I can learn in a short period of hard work is highly rewarding.

Potential to fail has always been an important part of art-making and this recent period of study has got lots of that.


p.s. How great was that Leaf game tonight!! Yah baby!

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Culture critic and modern thinker Noam Chomsky has suggested that professional sports are a distraction created to keep the public busy from other more important tasks such as overthrowing the government etc.

I like to think that I use hockey, both as a fan and a player in a much more positive way. I occasionally watch hockey in large groups, usually with other artists where we use the game as an excuse to gather. Of course there is much talk of hockey but often the discussion goes in many directions during or after the game.

Gathering at a hockey rink to watch our kids play has become a way to strengthen our community in a time when people more often than not choose to stay home.

Playing hockey has allowed me to get to know my neighbours at our local outdoor rinks and inspired dialogue and connections regarding art openings, upcoming live performances and more.

When I am tired after a long day of work and parenting I love to use a hockey game on TV as a way to relax. However, I often find the energy the next morning to be extra inspiring as I am anxious for a contrast from my last waking hours in the previous evening.

All in all, I feel hockey is a positive part of my life that I have come to a point in where I find it hard to imagine living without.

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