I am freshly caffeinated just out of Starbucks where I received my first “dose” of Holiday Music on the stereo.
As I sat and listened I really enjoyed one of the Ella Fitzgerald tunes – I believe it was “Winter Wonderland”. Awesome, bluesy and swinging.
Following that, some syrupy more modern version of a Christmas song – sung by a female vocalist came on. Ugh. Someone went to the studio to “do their Holiday album” with no concept, no brains, no juice and no soul. I repeat: UGH.
All I could think was “where are the brains behind this music?”
It was perfectly executed, perfectly recorded and mixed…but when you heard it, it was simply a waste of time.
For music to be successful and truly good – it’s not the choice of tunes that counts, and it’s not even the technical perfection. Great music requires something more.
There’s a deeper communication in music, and that’s when the musician has dug deep into themselves, found something really special that really resonates with their core being. After finding this “core resonation”, a true musician practices, refines, crafts something worthwhile, and delivers this to the listener.
It has a great value for the listener, and was not acquired easily or by trickery. It’s like cooking from scratch vs “just add water.”
What comes to mind is the “breakdown” of the 3 musical stages of development:
The imitative stage can be seen in a talented child. One can become a highly evolved imitator yet never “get it”. Many pro musicians get stuck here.
You’ve probably heard many professional musicians, bands and producers everywhere playing a very slick and perfect type of music, but with little “character”. That’s imitative music. The kind you hear on TV ads.
The other 2 stages – “realization” and “maturity” dawn upon the musician who keeps digging and bases their music on sound concepts and principles rather than copying.
When you hear the sound of a musical personality, like the old blues singer croaking out a tune, or Andre Segovia’s guitar touch and tone, or Paul McCartney singing “Yesterday” you find yourself saying and knowing “this is great!!!!” That’s “realization” and “maturity” that you are hearing.
That’s self knowledge – coming through the medium of music. Kind of like…if Rembrandt painted you an apple…it would likely be a masterpiece!
That’s the good stuff. It arises from practicing deeply and honestly.
So now….git to work!