Saturday, November 22, 2014
The Spirit of Music
Where does music come from? It could be said from the musician but, I question this. While the talent of a musician is very important, the question still remains where dose the music come from?
My own experience as a musician and songwriter has shown me that my songs & music come from a place beyond just knowing how to play my guitar.
I first experienced The Spirit of Music while living in Hanakapiai valley on the island of Kauai. I was in my early twenties and had been playing guitar about six or seven years. I still wasn't very good at singing along with my playing.
I used to sit next to the clear flowing stream while strumming the strings. After a short time I noticed how the flow of the water was like a metrodrome and gave me a sort of constant to play with. It added a grace and rhythm that I had yet to develop.
Over a short period of time whole songs would just flow through me. It was amazing to me because I really hadn't written any songs before this time! I consider this The Spirit of Music because it was beyond my known abilities.
A friend, who I met while living in the valley, got a bamboo flute someone made for him. In about two weeks he went from barely able to make a sound to sounding like Ian Anderson, from Jethro Tull! Once again I consider this The Spirit of Music.
Through the last nearly fifty years I have had many experiences with The Spirit of Music; mine and many other musicians. Here are some of the highlights.
* I helped a friend take his guitar and equipment to a annual gathering of local bands they called, "Jam Fest." We got their mid afternoon on Friday so there weren't many people around at that time. Wil started to play his guitar and get his gear adjusted. While he as doing that I sat down as a drum set and banged the sticks a bit. I quickly put them down because I ain't no drummer. At little while later I felt inspired by Wil's playing so I tried again. I was able to get into a simple grove with him. Meanwhile other musicians began arriving and setting up. Before I knew what was happening I was kicking ass on the drums to a full band! Friends began to come out of the house and were amazed at my playing. The Spirit of Music!
*The next day I was listening to a band and one of their songs sounded almost exactly like one I wrote with the band I had in Phoenix! The lyrics where totally different but the music was mine, or so I thought. How could they have stolen my song when they never heard it. The music was really different so it wasn't merely a reply of basic rock. The Spirit of Music!
*One of my favorite examples is a time when my son, Jason, and I where jamming. He had been playing for only a handful of years at that time. He and I used to do well at taking turns with playing rhythm and then switching over to lead guitar. We had jammed to some basic blues a few times before this. HOWEVER, this time, Jason, took off with the lead guitar like I had never heard him before!! So, I just held the rhythm and let him soar. When we finished I looked at him and told him that was great. With a surprised look on his face he said, "I don't know where that come from!" The Spirit of Music!
These are just few examples of how I have seen and experience The Spirit of Music. I have heard a number of great musicians tell of similar experiences where they did not know where their work came from. I remember an interview with Bob Dylan talk of a song he wrote back the sixties that was a bit hit. (I forget what song it was) He said he had no idea where is came from and he couldn't do it again, like that song.
As musicians all we can do is develop our basic skills so that when The Spirit of Music is ready it will flow through us and shine brightly. And that is really way fuck'n cool!