I have been on Spring Break from school this week, and since I did not have many commitments it gave me lots of time to listen to some great things while I attempted to clean my house. On a side note: turns out you can not buy CD players anymore at stores like Target, Wal-mart, etc. Since my car and computer both crapped out, I have had no way to play CD's, which apparently does not matter to mass consumers anymore because that technology has a foot in the grave. Resorting to a pawn shop to find a basic CD player/boom box makes me feel old. And also slightly confused considering Target had record players? "Hang on to those CD's kids! Some day they will be worth something!" Said no one.
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
I was reminded of this quote today and thought it was worth sharing. This so beautifully sums up what I try to tell my students, and how I feel about music personally. And all art, really. It is not about the result, it is about the process! The product does not matter, but if we do not love the act of making art, then the product will not be very good either. But when we take joy in the process and refine the craft, the result is not only better, but more satisfying.
Here are a few more fun things I have been listening to recently. Let me know what you think, and feel free to share something!
In the last few weeks, I have had almost the same conversation with every one of my students regarding what music they are currently listening to. Almost all of them were caught off guard by the question and would usually reply with something along the lines of "A few people." or "You've probably never of them." I even had a student tell me his favorite band was Nickelback.... I shudder at the thought of the rest of his playlist.
A few months ago, I would have struggled to answer the same question. After my hard drive crashed last year, losing over 50GB of music, I had a very limited selection when it came to my personal listening. Then when the CD player in my car and the optical drive on my computer both stopped functioning about the same time, I was left stranded in silence. While I do buy songs from iTunes, a 50GB library is just not going to happen on my budget, especially when I obviously need a new round of technology upgrades. For the longest time I would only listen to the radio in my car, but while Top 40 songs and Classic Rock are enjoyable and at times even desirable, they are lacking in musical depth. For myself, I found that listening to only Top 40 radio music was not as fulfilling and did not move me in the way truly great music has the power to do. So with my limited amount of personal music, I turned to YouTube.
Although I have always listened to music on YouTube, I never took full advantage of this excellent resource. With more and more people uploading their own performances including many recordings that are otherwise unavailable, it should be taken as a very serious resource for listening. What worries me about my students is that they are growing and learning in a world with unlimited music access and not taking advantage of their place in history because they do not know what to type in the search bar.
I think as a performing musician, or just a creative person in general, it important to continually be exposed to different expressions of art. I will post some more videos in the future of music (and other things) I have found particularly interesting as of late, but here is a sample:
Hopefully you will hear something for the first time, and whether you like it or not, I invite you to let me know what you think and to share whatever you are listening to!
Saxophonist, Artist, Listener, Thinker, Teacher, Performer, Curator, Veggie, Reader, Lover of Contemporary Music