Last night I was getting my daily dose of spiritual musings from one of my favorite thinkers, Alan Watts.
He brings up a point which I think is specially suited to musicians looking to “improve their skills.”
As (western) people we often ask “what’s it made of?”
We are taught to think that an object is made out of some dumb, lifeless material stuff and that there is an all knowing “maker” who imposes will from the outside to make this stuff.
He goes a step further with inquiry:
Q: What’s the chair made of?
Q: What’s a tree made of?
We wouldn’t really say a tree is “made” of wood. It IS wood.
It’s wood growing by itself, but it’s not “made” of wood.
Personally I do believe in a Divine Creator – but let’s not get into a heated religous debate here. The point is that the Creator is much more Intimate and Ineffable than a “foreman at a construction site.”
The Creator is in the wood, in the butterfly, the music – and in YOU.
This brings up the question, do we as musical creators “make music, melodies, grooves” out of “notes, rhythms and harmony” like cutting up veggies for soup – or is music, song and groove a naturally growing thing like the wood of the tree?
Any time I have really made or played music with a full mind / body / soul integration
it’s a lot more like the “tree is wood” rather than “the chair is MADE of wood.”
The music “happens” and grows on it’s own. It’s not “made” of these ingredients, at least conciously. It grows out of them.
Sometimes when I play around with notes, grooves, and harmony – a song springs out.
The takeaway for us all?
Lets have faith in nature. Maybe we don’t need to “improve” through pushing, adding onto, stretching and trying.
Maybe our music, technique and playing are like the wood of the tree.
Given the right environment (the guitar needs to be in our hands), the music may just grow on its own.
What do you think?