Focus, Music And The Big Picture

Anyone who knows me in a first person manner knows that I have a lot of first person stories.  When asked about that I reply, “When you go looking for an underground show, in a part of town not known for underground shows and go get Chinese food at 3 in the morning, you’ll probably end up with at least an anecdote.”

In other words – if you’re always seeking things out you’re much more likely to find something.  It might not be what you expected to find, but you’ll never find it if your eyes aren’t open.

A while back, I was reading Winifred Gallagher’s, Rapt (which is quite good) and being in a mode where I was seriously considering the issues of attention and focus I was reading a trade publication and came across this Jonas Hellborg quote which (in addition to being in synch with Rapt) rang with both an eloquence and a poignancy to me.  Perhaps you’ll agree. (Please note, the emphasis added below is mine and was not in the original article).

“In order to function as a human being, you have to be able to focus.  You have to be able to center.  Some people are into religion.  They pray or meditate or they do this or that.  Music is such a thing.  It’s a discipline and you use it for the purpose of focusing your mental, your spiritual activity in one direction and become whole.  As you do that you will get more and more capacity as a musician.  But if you can express what you need to express with just a limited vocabulary, you can still do that.  It’s not about the vocabulary.  It’s not about how many words you can use; it’s about what you can say.”

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This quote contains elements of my entire philosophy.  I’d like to modify it a little to adapt it more fully.

“(Music) is a discipline and if you use it for the purpose of focusing your mental, your spiritual activity in one direction and becoming whole, you will get more and more capacity as a musician. “

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I’ve modified this because Hellborg’s quote assumes everyone making music is doing that but personal experience has shown me that few people come to performing music with the purposeful process of becoming whole.  They come to it because they are looking for something.   Some people find it in a chord progression or a song and never need to go any further.  Some go deeper looking for something else.

Going deep is where you find the nectar.

Going deeper into almost anything with deliberation and focus will open your eyes and allow you to see more.

With that clarity, sometimes, comes the additional focus in what you’re searching for.

Sometimes the how leads to the why, but having a why will always lead to a how.

Yin and Yang.  You need both for a full circle.

Thanks for reading.

-SC

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