Two Years Ago – 2005

02007-11-26 | Music, Musings, Touring | 4 comments

Conversation in the dressing room after the second show at B.B.King centered around the flow of awareness during a musical performance. I explained that in my view consciousness naturally flows and does not rest in one activity, that in fact concentration is not effective for a performance.

Attention flows from that harmonic is a little off – try to bend the note to the lights are hot in the back of my neck to I cannot hear the bass clearly enough to that cajon is funky etc. Now, if one were to concentrate on the melody only, one’s rhythm might be off, if one were to focus on the bowing of the string, the flow of the melody might be off etc. If one gets stuck on just one aspect of the music (rhythm, pitch, melody, sound-production etc.) the result will sound wooden and not musical. In other words, letting our attention naturally flow between all of the different elements of making music is better than concentrating. Concentrating is what we have to do when we learn to play an instrument, or when we learn a new piece – but it is not the way to perform music. This flow-concept is something I feel can be applied to everything from creating art to cooking to parenting.

Another example where we use this flow on a daily basis: when we learn how to drive we concentrate so hard on releasing the clutch without stalling the car that we might rev the engine much higher than is necessary – which we suddenly realize. After a while we learn to let our attention flow naturally between checking the rearview mirrors, looking at the distance to the car ahead, checking the RPM based on hearing the engine, shifting, breaking, steering… The worst thing we can do is stare at the blacktop ahead – that is exhausting. Much better to let one’s eyes and attention flow to where they are needed.

This morning I taped a one hour radio show for NPR called The Song is You. The host, Bonnie Grist, played some music from Winter Rose as well as some music she allowed me to pick – Jimi Hendrix, Brian Eno (from On Land), Bjork (from Vespertine) – and we talked about music. It was wonderful to talk with a radio person who loves music and is knowledgeable and passionate about radio – rather than a commercial radio jock who reads the name of the next song in rotation from a playlist on their computer screen…

4 Comments

  1. Carol

    And you are aware of the listeners who will enter into the flow. Your music does it all like no other.
    I love your explanation of the flow in all things. Right now I’m thinking of our Thanksgiving get together when no one was left out of the warm feeling of love. And the broader example of the relationships in the family throughout the years. and friends…

    Reply
  2. Carol

    and each person is treated in a special way, just like you treat each of your friends and we all feel the caring from you.

    Reply
  3. "Alice"

    ottmar, i feel so fortunate to have founde your music and writinges…it is so nice to knowe there are otheres who see thinges as we see thinges…you are far in person but not in presence of minde and i am findinge that helps me in my local worlde…so many different opiniones and i don’t feel so alone…what you are sayinge is how i have alwayes believed and my beliefs are challenged a lot and so it goes…thankyou for being you…i am therefore that much more able to be me knoweinge there are otheres like you arounde…alwayes, llindaskaye e.p. “Alice”*******

    Reply
  4. "Alice"

    ottmar, i feel so fortunate to have founde your music and writinges…it is so nice to knowe there are otheres who see thinges as we see thinges…you are far in person but not in presence of minde and i am findinge that helps me in my local worlde…so many different opiniones and i don’t feel so alone…what you are sayinge is how i have alwayes believed and my beliefs are challenged a lot and so it goes…thankyou for being you…i am therefore that much more able to be me knoweinge there are otheres like you arounde…alwayes, llindaskaye e.p. “Alice”*******

    Reply

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