These are some of the ideas that have meant something to me in recent years. I hope you will read them, think about them, and let me know your thoughts at email@example.com.
We live in a world of excessiveness. It seems to dominate everything, even the arts. Music is too loud, too fast, too ugly, too complicated. Performance isn't so much concerned with musicianship, but with the virtuosity of excess. More in less time is always going to get the standing ovation. Extravagance, Effect and formulas are more important than the simple relationships between sounds.
We should commit to beauty of sound above all else. Which comes from true love of the instrument, and a true understanding of the capabilities of the instrument. Be inside it's soul.
Search for and create meanings between sounds that have nothing to do with anything other than beauty.
Honesty: love the sound of your instrument more than you love actually playing it.
Is it the virtuosity of excess or the excess of virtuosity?
How much can be fit into how little time? Fast music gets the nod too often. Or medium to slow music played too fast. When music is played too fast, it looses it expression from note to note, which is where the beauty is music exists.
One of my very favorite sayings comes from Joe Locke through Pius Cheung:
"It is in our searching for perfection that the beauty of our imperfections are revealed."
From PASIC 2009
I love this!!
Tom Waits: We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge. Quality is being confused with abundance, and wealth with happiness. We are monkeys with money and guns!
Gordon Stout: We are buried beneath the weight of virtuosity, which is being confused with musicianship. Quality is being confused with speed, and interpretation with showmanship. We are monkeys with mallets and You Tube.
Steve Gadd: I've seen so many drummers who have chops and technique that would make your jaw drop to the floor. People are doing some really incredible things. To me, though, I find it just as inspiring on a whole different level when I see somebody who can play a groove and get inside it and make me tap my toes. If you can get people tapping their toes, that's it: you're playing music!
Gordon Stout: I've seen so many marimbists who have chops and technique that would make your jaw drop to the floor. People are doing some really incredible things. To me, though, I find it just as inspiring on a whole different level when I see somebody who can play with beautiful sound, get inside of the sound of the marimba, and make me close my eyes to absorb the sounds. If you can get people listening to the beauty of the sound of the marimba, not watching how you are technically playing, then that's it: you're playing music!!
Take Away: in recent years I have found that we have a problem of technical virtuosity being predominate over musical literacy in the marimba world.
March, by Gordon Stout (likely composed in the early 1960's) for solo piano. This is the very first composition I ever wrote. My mother had to write it down for me, because I didn't know how to do so at such an early age. Thanks, Mom!