Monday, September 26, 2016

Mindfulness in Music

[I posted this 'Monday Musing' (below) on my Facebook page, and was encouraged to share it here as well. So here it is...!]

Something I've noticed over the years playing jazz is that conviction & mindfulness go a long way:

You can have all the hip vocabulary or technical facility in the world, but if you don't deliver that music from a place of calm confidence and apparent ease, it's going to sound stale or shaky or forced.

If you internally second-guess your note choices during a solo, or judge what you just played, or commit to a phrase with only 99% conviction, even just that missing 1% is really felt.

On the other hand, if you choose one simple idea--even just one note--and play it with 100% conviction (own it), that's going to resonate with the listener.

I like this idea, because it's all about staying in the moment, and keeping the mind from wandering. As soon as you start judging the music you're making, or doubting yourself - you're no longer in the moment, and the music won't be either.

Staying present is TOUGH, to say the least. It's something I'm always trying to work on, musically and otherwise. I love that music pushes me to develop these mental habits.

Mindfulness is tough, but I don't mind. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sus7 Chromatic Climb

Here's a little chromatic thing I stumbled upon one day at the piano. I like it because you get the smoothness of chromaticism (obviously), but also variety via slightly different chords.

The chords here alternate between a sus-7-with-9th and a sus-7-without-9th.

That 9th or 7th in the top voice in itself creates a satisfying shape and is a nice contrast to the straightforward half-step climb in the lower voices.

Here it is with the voices separated, which makes it easier to notice some of the intervallic relationships between each voice. In this image, I described each voice's movement and made note of each voice's relationship to the bass.

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