After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” ― Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato
When describing my experience of writing music to a friend and my process, she insisted that I share with you about a phrase I used when describing my experience of writing music.
Creativity is a blessing in any shape and form. How I get into the creative zone are the following:
1) Let yourself express your honest emotions without a censor. Go where it takes you and don’t prejudge it. Your mood might take you through rocky terrain within yourself. Follow it through to the end. You will be rewarded.
2) Keep the creative channel open. Some people say you need to sit down everyday and keep the faucet wide open. Each of us knows how much is enough to keep the creative juices flowing and being tuned in.
3) Take chances, both in your work and in your life. Keep learning, taking risks, trying something new and going on adventures.
4) Be humble. It’s a paradox, so don’t take all the credit. It takes two things, you sitting down and doing the work and allowing something else to take over and then the “Something Else” takes over.
5) Be thankful for the gift and keep listening to your inner self and nudges.
6) Follow through and respect the creative process, taking care of yourself and your relationship to your Higher Self.
7) Follow your creative instinct and impulses. If you get a hunch to do something, do it. Your intuition is your greatest asset.
8) Be willing to step outside of your comfort zone. I remember a time when I told my husband that I didn’t know what to write next. He told me to go to my computer room and just go “wild.” I did this and the cutest, most unexpected piece came out. It was one of those effortless pieces, very simple yet effective.
The light bulb went on. I would put together my two greatest loves: World Music and Flute. I would compose world music and use my flute. Teaching and listening to world music for 10 years, I would use my two strengths, loves and talents and join them together. “Follow your Bliss”.....I had found my bliss!
I found a good microphone, audio box and midi keyboard, sound mixer and my studio was created. I knew what I was supposed to do, the stars and planets were aligned and my confidence soared as I would pursue my dreams.
My confidence and certainty helped me as I moved through a learning curve working with the Logic Pro program, but my desire to share and my passion was greater. I was now able to move ahead into my creative world, rich with inspiration from music from around the world and modern-day technology. I was able to enjoy exploring and putting my own stamp of creativity onto creatiing musical compositions!
With all of my interests in philosophy, art, religion, music and learning about all the world’s cultures and their people, I became excited and passionate about World Music. It was a perfect vehicle for me.
While teaching as an Adjunct Professor of Music, I saw the World Music course offered in the college catalog. I decided to bring it to life and make it available as a class offering. As I suspected, there was immediate interest from the students and the class was filled to capacity. The college had a diverse
population of students already from places such as Vietnam, Philipines, etc. and the course fit well.
In order to be appreciated, the music needed to stand on its own and be understood from different angles. I was able to inspire interest in the music that we studied as it was often very strange and hard to understand. It was sometimes necessary to break down the wall of pre-conceived notions and judgements. Some of the cultures were more shocking to the Western ears of the students than others and I had to do more to lay the groundwork so that they could appreciate the music and the culture for what it was.
The Japanese Gagaku orchestra was an example. It was the imperial court music of Japan featuring flutes, strings and percussion. The students were confused at first until we broke the music into smaller pieces, instrument by instrument, song by song, trying to understand it from the point of view of the people that created it.
Another music that was eye opening was the Native American music. The drumbeat was persistent and the melody was very simple, and it was accomplishing something very important—it was designed to alter the listener’s state of consciousness and when we put ourselves in their shoes it would do the same for us. It was an interesting phenomenon to enjoy and even start loving the music after such a
strong negative reaction beforehand.
It really was a beautiful reward to see walls coming down, hearts opening and compassion and understanding shining on their faces. A heavy weight had been lifted. They had stepped out of their comfort zone into something greater.
There was a relief when they saw that there was a common link and thread that joined them. They had come to understand that there were more similiarities than differences.
The storyteller as folksinger now had implications around the world for the students. It was an easy step to understand the purpose of the troubadour as well as the African shaman. These musicians played an important role of the oral historian who committed to memory the entire story of the culture since its creation and held a special or priveledged place in the culture. Sometimes the musician was considered to be a healer similiar to the power that we give to the doctor’s role in our society.
A beautiful experience was to listen to the music from Africa where the occasion of death was considered a happy one. The belief behind this music was one of celebration because the people believed that life was a continual process and that death was just one side of a continuing stream of life.
My World Music classes were a joy to teach. The classes were always filled to capacity through the ten years I taught at the community college. We had to open more and more classes because I believe the students felt at home here. We all felt understood and accepted. I run into some of these students that were in these classes from time to time and there is always a big smile of recognition between us.