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Inspiration.............

Mike

Senior Member
Messages
559
It's not something we can control. it's only something we can utilize when indeed
inspiration hits us and how it affects us at any given moment. I have found myself, once again, in the throes of saxophone neglect.
It's become a chore, once again for the umpteenth time, to pick up and blow into. I was never one of those saxophone players that persevered 'continuously' which is what the instrument requires in order to obtain a high level of playing. It demands practice which is something I always detested. I'd much rather break glass just to hear the various sounds emanating from the impact, to give you an idea how I feel. I'm very good at practicing nothing.


I've spent more years in composition than playing the saxophone and I usually go back to composition after a brief stint playing the saxophone. That has been my musical history for the past 34 years.
I'm in musical limbo because right now I'm not interested in doing anything musically. Inspiration of any kind has taken a vacation, or decided to venture into a wormhole, and that's perfectly fine because I've never tried to force inspiration to flow to the surface. I respect it enough that I allow it to happen on it's own accord. Music without inspiration, if we're the subject acting on it, is just cold sound and not worth pursuing, in my opinion.


These past 4 months recording with Chris have been more than I could have hoped for. He helped me to at least gain a little bit in my playing that I didn't have before and to help me fulfill something of a concept I had. But after awhile it becomes uneventful and I'd rather not continue and so we've reached the end of the road. And to say the least I've gotten a lot out of my system regarding playing jazz music in the way we chose to record it. I was actually amazed that I recorded this way for this long. Chris was like the golden goose of jazz rhythm tracks!


Out of 59 tunes Chris and I have recorded, I actually like 5! The wonderful thing about the whole process is that I now have 6 Cd's worth of jazz music documented. They're on record.
It was kind of like spending 4 months in a laboratory to see how various elements coalesce in various ways in a spontaneous situation and recording these experimentations as they occurred.


What to do next? I really have no idea. I pride myself on the fact that I've encompassed a lot as in various types of direction one can venture into musically, which has always been extremely important and vital for me as someone who enjoys taking two or more notes and seeing what I can do with them that no one else has.
I don't want to re-visit where I've been and this is the challenge. Not many options left. Possibly stringing everything I've ever done and create one long compostion based on my musical life? One piece morphing into the next in a chance operational sequence? Maybe........................I guess it would be interesting to do. It would become one long composition........I'd only be eliminating what takes place in life's chance operation from one tune to the next, which is what's taking place as I type this post. All that natural chance sound filler we all take for granted that continuously floods our ears.


For those few who have listened and openly acknowledged the work Chris and I have produced, I thank you sincerely.
The Cafesaxophone has a truly wonderful contributor in Mr. Chris Knowles. This forum is very fortunate!
He is a very passionate soul concerning jazz music and he has a lot to offer anyone who inspires to play jazz utilizing his compositions.
 

breathless

Member
Messages
270
Hi Mike, made for an interesting read however as a 4-5 month in beginner I'm not in the remotest sense qualified to comment on your conundrum.

But have had some experience in training (as a qualified trainer) it made me wonder if a man of your talent and skill could be put to good use teaching?

I found the period of my life spent as a trainer was the most self satisfying and enjoyable period of my professional life.

Just a thought!

Rgds Lee.
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
2,149
Not the first time you've gone through a musical funk, and won't be the last. But I'm also sure that we will hear from you again in the future. I'm looking forward to that and only wish that you were too.
 

Mike

Senior Member
Messages
559
Hi Mike, made for an interesting read however as a 4-5 month in beginner I'm not in the remotest sense qualified to comment on your conundrum.

But have had some experience in training (as a qualified trainer) it made me wonder if a man of your talent and skill could be put to good use teaching?

I found the period of my life spent as a trainer was the most self satisfying and enjoyable period of my professional life.

Just a thought!

Rgds Lee.
You bring up an interesting point Lee.


To be quite honest, I don't see that ever happening..........And that's probably a good thing because
all I would do was contribute a more inflated umemployment statistic.
Music is tough enough traditionally, which I would never want to teach. I wouldn't desire to create further dilemma in any aspiring musician who has potential to seek employment being taught by conflicting differences in ideologies.


I figure, let the status quo deal with itself on it's own accord.


I do appreciate your inquiry Lee and best of luck in learning the saxophone!
 

Mike

Senior Member
Messages
559
Not the first time you've gone through a musical funk, and won't be the last. But I'm also sure that we will hear from you again in the future. I'm looking forward to that and only wish that you were too.
One never knows, does one?
Thank you!
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
If you could turn it on lie a tap (fawcett?) Mike, we'd all be geniuses.
As an art and design pro I find inspiration comes when you least expect it, and from a direction you hadn't considered. Just open your ears mate and something will get your juices flowing. I'm still a sax novice even after all these years, and only came to the sax when I hit the wall with my guitar playing. Hope you get over the wall soon.
Andy
 

Mike

Senior Member
Messages
559
If you could turn it on lie a tap (fawcett?) Mike, we'd all be geniuses.
As an art and design pro I find inspiration comes when you least expect it, and from a direction you hadn't considered. Just open your ears mate and something will get your juices flowing. I'm still a sax novice even after all these years, and only came to the sax when I hit the wall with my guitar playing. Hope you get over the wall soon.
Andy
Thanks Andy.......Possibly my thread may have been misleading. I'm not saddned by this mental phenomenon. I was merely injecting potential conversation to share where possibly others might enjoy.
When inspiration doesn't flow I'm perfectly fine with that. I always have been because I understand and respect it's nature.
Yes, you're absolutely right...........It comes when we least expect it and from a direction we hadn't anticipated. I let it come to me and I certainly can't go to it so I forget all about trying to find it.


Eample.........A few years ago I was void of inspiration for quite some time. One night I was watching
TV and while channel surfing, which is another hobby of mine, I came across a documentary based on Pablo Picasso. I caught it in the middle and Picasso was being timed per illustration and when time was up he discarded it and he began another. For whatever reason I don't know because I didn't catch the documentary from the beginning. It didn't matter.


Anyway, as Picasso drew one after the other I began to 'hear' how he created his illustrations which were done quite fast because of being timed. I began to hear his rhythms, melodies and harmonies in what it was he was illustrating. A light(inspiration) went off in my head and I was very excited the rest of the night as I contemplated how I would write a tribute to Picasso's work. The very next morning I researched the man and his work. Once I felt I had enough to go on I began writing the music that depicted his four main periods. I think it took me approx. 10 days to write everyday as I was consumed with writing this piece. Art exemplifying art.


So, ya never can tell where inspiration can come from and sometimes it can create such a feeling of elation when it does. Nothing new to any musician/composer.
Conceptual writing has always been my greatest pleasure. Improvisation is definitely an exciting thing to pursue but for me it will always take a back seat to serious writing.
With improvisation, the way I always chose to exercise it, I see that as experimentation. For me composition is not because I know what it is I'm writing. Ya just never know how improv will turn out if we stray from a conventional means which I always tried to do. If we school ourselves into a traditional way of thinking, improv isn't so experimental because more or less the same passages will run over
the changes. Inspiration, when it arises, in both areas of improv and writing are limitless in this regard.
I've always found it non-eventful for inspiration to come into areas of predictability.


You're into art and design so you essentially understand where I'm coming from, if you're reading this.....Improvisation is another ballgame obviously, and it's just another extension of who we are as musician's and how we express the element of spontaneity as opposed to writing with intent to capture specifics.
Conceptual writing however, is taking sound and creating a parallel to depict the element of environment we choose to exemplify. Whether it be Picasso, stellar evolution, or Albert Einstein, or even writing a piece of music based on boredom. And so I'm usually very selective in when and how inspiration rings my doorbell.


Long post, I know.....Ah......It's a passionate subject for me and I sincerely thank you for your concern Andy!
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
2,149
For those who don't know Mike's composition works, like Picasso, some are available to be heard on his soundclick. They used to be all there, but you'd have to ask Mike where to find where the others.
 

Cobard71

Member
Messages
33
Hi Mike,

All I can say is Saxophone players like you are a great inspiration to us especially beginners like me. But you also cause me great frustration, because I listen to "Pros" play and I want to play like you guys. Having to walk first before I can run, which means practicing, the dreaded word.

However, it is comforting to know that even the professional's go through the musical wildeness, but without your talent, giving us inspiration, us "squeaky Saxers" would not have picked up that (dam!) piece of metal.

Best wishes

Squeaky Saxo player

Steve
 

Mike

Senior Member
Messages
559
Hi Mike,

All I can say is Saxophone players like you are a great inspiration to us especially beginners like me. But you also cause me great frustration, because I listen to "Pros" play and I want to play like you guys. Having to walk first before I can run, which means practicing, the dreaded word.

However, it is comforting to know that even the professional's go through the musical wildeness, but without your talent, giving us inspiration, us "squeaky Saxers" would not have picked up that (dam!) piece of metal.

Best wishes

Squeaky Saxo player

Steve
Steve, no musician should ever feel responsible for another musician's quest. That's just ridiculous.
I certainly do not.


Again, you're kind for writing what you wrote and I thank you for that.
The best advice I can give you is never try to get into the head of any musician except yourself.
The variables of thought and emotion pertaining to someone you do not know are fathomless.


The only frustration should come out of the individual in not being able to understand what it takes
to play any instrument well. It should never be about the motives of someone you have no clue what they're about who does not share in that love and passion you seek.


You picked up the sax because you and only you wanted to learn it. If you find you have a real love and passion for the instrument then in the course of your training if anyone falls by the wayside that you listened to, you should obtain good sense to not stop and wonder why they put down their horns. It shouldn't make the slightest difference because of YOUR love and passion. You simply blow right by them because they are probably not in your best interest. Only aspire to search out those who have persevered through the rough times and have endured every set back imaginable. Those are the players you need to follow! They won't frustrate you with their nonchalant style.


My best to you Steve, and I sincerely hope the saxophone brings a lot of happiness in your life.
I know it has for me but for reasons that may not be easily understood.
 

Cobard71

Member
Messages
33
Hi Mike,

I dont think musicians are responsible, that was not really my point. Yes, passion and love are the foundation for any hobby, profession etc.

My point being that wether in business, life or music we all have people we admire and aspire to. I have love and passion for the sax, listening to talented players, fire the passion and love to continue and progress even when things don't quite go how I want the to.

best wishes

Steve
 

Mike

Senior Member
Messages
559
I understand Steve. I was essentially only trying to be of some help for an aspiring saxophonist.
My point was that within the journey to learn an instrument, and learn it well,
take what you can without being too consumed by any one musician and how THEY go about treating their instrument. That's really not important.


You made it sound like I created a bump in the road in what I decide to choose, as an indication just how difficult it is to persevere year after year for decades, which is required. A multitude of musician's can do this (persevere) very easily. I'm certainly not one of them and I'm perfectly fine with how things go because it's obvious I have no real love for the saxophone. it's just something I find fun to do every now and again. If I had a real love for the instrument, then even in times of being uninspired I would still try and fight through it just like we would do if within a marriage there can be strife. We love our spouses and so it's definitely worth the effort to persevere until things can become flowing again. we do our best to work through it..............When no real love is present in the marriage, divorce is inevitable.
Being that I do not have this love, or passion, the sensible thing to do is to put it down. I don't have hopes of picking it up later. If the mood hits me, I pick it up. If it doesn't, it collects dust and my thoughts go elsewhere.


If your love and passion continues unfettered, you'll be rewarded with wonderful results. I can only wish you the utmost joy in your study and that goes for anyone who feels the same way.
 
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