music is life, music is breath, music is us

Archive for September, 2012

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Primal Scream- “Movin’ On Up”

Primal Scream is a Scottish band that formed in 1982, and take influence from the indie rock scene, psychedelic rock, and garage rock. This song, for you gamers out there, was on Radio X of GTA: San Andreas, listen and let the song take over.


Why Do You Do This Music Thing?

Some people wonder why anyone would devote their lives to music. The percentage of individuals who “make it” seems to discourage anyone who loves music from trying. In my case, many individuals in my own family were against my pursuing of music, for in their eyes, a business degree would have been more advantageous (side note: my mom was always on my side, she raised me on her own and has always had my back). What is it about music that caused me to go against the advice of Forbes, members of my family and anyone else who was against this career path?

Music has always been my companion, as I am sure that such is the case for many people. It goes deeper than that for me however, as music was not only my companion but my source of sanity. Whenever I needed it, I would let rhythm and melody wash over me and calm my senses. Eventually I discovered that I needed to be involved with music, that I would never forgive myself if I at least didn’t try (this was around age 15). I found that I had an aptitude for music, as I had for many years played drums/percussion, and eventually I taught myself to play guitar after only a few lessons (a few years down the road being able to play works by Steve Vai and Joe Satriani). I developed a desire to compose, starting with pieces on my guitar and eventually writing for orchestra when I was 18 (without any lessons mind you). I had an insatiable desire for theory, for history, for cultural perspectives, all relating to music.

There was simply no other path that I could take; music was the beginning and the end of all of my pursuits. Have I fallen flat on my face in this career? Absolutely. I have failed, taken beatings, and been emotionally drained, cursing the very notes that bound me. At the end of the day, though, I could still pop in a Jimi Hendrix CD and feel love and hope. I suppose that is the most poignant statement in a way when it comes to my career, even when I hated music, I loved music. You will never be 100 percent happy in your life; you just have to find what makes it worth living. Even when I am mentally exhausted from all of the studying I do at my college, I know that I must pay my dues to have this career that I so desire. 

I do not know where I will wind up after finishing music school. I could fall flat on my face, or I could win a Grammy, either way I know that music is where I belong. There is no question in my mind about this, and that is why no one could take this away from me.  I encourage you to find this same passion that I have, it is never too late, and I wish you well in your pursuit of it.

 


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Kasabian-“L.S.F.”

Kasabian is an English alternative rock band. They are considered to be influenced by the Stone Roses and Primal Scream (two bands I will feature later on this blog). They have a certain style with which they carry themselves, I guarantee this song will be stuck in your head by the end of the day.


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Caesars- “Jerk It Out”

Caesars are a Swedish indie rock band with an ability to write great melodic hooks. I first heard this song playing FIFA Football 2004 (side note I am a huge football fan, Manchester United has always been my team so I hope this won’t cause any rifts with Arsenal fans that may read this blog), and was hooked ever since. Enjoy.


The Process of Music Composition (at least for me)

I have mentioned numerous times on this blog that I am a composer, namely a self-taught composer. When I started composing at age 18 (I am now almost 22), I really had no idea what I was doing. All I knew was that when I sat down at the keyboard, really incredible sound combinations occurred that made the electrical current in my brain fire like crazy. Soon I was piecing together a mosaic of sounds in my young mind, and feeling a power unlike any other. As time went on, I developed various influences, ranging from other composers (such as Philip Glass and Hans Zimmer), to various cultures (such as Chinese and Japanese), to various styles (such as rock and downtempo). With this blog post I wanted to give you all a little peek into my writing process, as it varies and could apply to various situations unrelated to music, thus proving to be helpful to your creative endeavors.

Ideas for pieces come in various forms for me, sometimes I am attempting to mimic a specific form such as a symphony, whereas other times I simply try to experiment with various instruments in certain keys/styles/time signatures. My pieces are usually a product of experimentation; I continue to work with various ideas in sort of a flowing chain and stick with the ideas that work. I really don’t like waiting around for ideas to happen, so I constantly push my mind to create, no matter how nonsensical. I once heard Ringo Starr say something to the effect of “the best music is an accident,” and especially in my case I believe this is true. Honestly some of the best sections of music I have ever written have been a result of random interaction of notes. I simply submit myself to a place without disturbances and accept whatever sounds my mind wishes to create in that space of time. I am not a genius, musical pieces do not simply appear in my head ready for transcription, but rather are a result of looking through a “musical fog” (in the terminology of Philip Glass) and finding a scenery worth writing about. Some days I see a flower, and others I see a mighty waterfall, but either way, I patiently wait for something to appear.

When I write, I can draw inspiration from anything at anytime. I have written pieces for tragic events such as 9/11 and the Japan Tsunami, songs inspired by certain metaphysical concepts and many other ideas, abstract and clear. I also, depending on the piece, conduct heavy research on concepts such as accurate composition (when I am writing a piece from a specific culture or period) and new techniques that may add to my existing creation. I find that knowledge is the greatest stimulus of creativity, as it unlocks various pathways in your brain, namely logic and creativity, and causes a synergistic interaction between them.

Writing music can be painful, but it is the most rewarding thing in the world for me. My biggest tip, and this could be applied to any creative endeavor, is to not strain. Creative pursuits can often be laborious, but you must carry yourself with grace. Your mind should flow like a gentle river, do not force ideas to appear when they are seemingly non-existent. Ultimately, the true path you should take will appear when you are in the process of creating, and then you will know the direction you must travel.


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Jimi Hendrix

 

Today we remember a light that left this earth far too soon. Jimi Hendrix.


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Matisyahu-“Live Like a Warrior”

Matisyahu is a Jewish rap artist with influences from reggae. He spreads a message of love and strength that everyone can use.