Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Count in the quiet when the music goes out and learn to trust the beat. Your heartbeat, your breathing, your footsteps, your instincts--trust them.
There might be a band backing you or you might be out on your own, but there will inevitably be stretches of nothing when it is only you and your pulse. When the monitors go out, when your ears begin to buzz, when the world becomes so overwhelming your senses shut down, and you are faced with measures of silence.
Count in the quiet.
Count in the quiet and keep your song moving, keep yourself moving, trust your beat. Always keep playing, though it seems by yourself, keep to your chart.
The music will start.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
When things get crazy--and things have been getting a little crazy lately--the most beautiful part of the day is lying down to go to sleep for the night (or morning, as tends to be the case). Getting off your feet, closing your eyes, feeling all the muscles in your back and shoulders relax. It's glorious.
I know some people think about their day or what they have to do the next day or all their shortcomings or all their achievements or imagine what their future will be, and while I do think about what I have to do the next day as I lie in bed, I do so mostly to set my internal alarm clock--what time do I need to be up so that I can accomplish everything I need to accomplish? But after that, I let everything drift away.
All the stress, all the worries, all the excitement won't help me recharge. And recharging is an important thing to do. Your body benefits, your mind benefits, your spirit benefits. It's so easy to believe that we must be always working, always in action, and while yes, we must find ways to continue to move forward, we must also take care of ourselves. So during the day, I will be in motion, but as I lay in the darkness, I will let myself be still, let myself recover and let myself get ready to take on the next day.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
One day, when I have my own house, I will have a room like the one I walked into with giant speakers hanging from the wall and a nice rug under a well-maintained kit, with tube amps and halfstacks and eight channels free on a mixer and a couple of SM58's on tall stands.
And on that day, I will call my band over and we'll practice my hit songs and jam and groove like old friends as chocolate chip cookies bake in the oven in the restaurant-grade kitchen I built right next to it. We'll talk about our latest gigs, personal projects and philosophize on the state of music as we moogle and experiment and have fun.
Yes. One day, things could be different and amazing...But today, honestly, is pretty different and amazing. The last time I had a band was almost ten years ago. We were six girls practicing in my parents' living room with an electric drum kit, and I was desperately trying to teach my bandmates songs using the Suzuki method.
Today, my mother was spared the snake pit of cables that would inevitably appear on the floor and my brother was not forced to stop playing video games in the living room on my behalf. The two guys I had backing me knew how to play their instruments and we got through three songs using charts and recordings.
I know I'm not even close to achieving my goal right now, but as we play I can't help but be in a little awe as I look back and see how much has changed.
Friday, March 7, 2014
The guys watched as I screwed the mixer back together. Screw by screw. Allen bolt by allen bolt. The second channel had been crackling and needed a good cleaning. I imagine I could have just dripped the rubbing alcohol down the stem of the troublesome pot and achieved the same effect, but there is a certain joy in carefully dismantling, exposing and rebuilding products that aren't intended to be dismantled, exposed or rebuilt.
It's not so much a "pleasure"--it's more of a comfort. A comfort knowing that the world has some order. That pieces of metal can be held together with screws. That a faulty potentiometer is not a product of demon possession, but of a long-forgotten coffee stain. That, although so much is presented to us in black boxes running on magic, they are really just systems (though sometimes complex) that have been encased in seamless plastic.
It is a comfort knowing that if something breaks, I can fix it. That I can affect the world I'm living in. Physically change it. Adjust it to my will. That I am not simply a victim subject to external forces beyond my control, because look! I have control. I have control over this space I exist in. I can do things.
It is a comfort . And it is beautiful.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
While I try to keep my head and body in the moment, the question forever in front of me is, "Now what?" And that question is never louder than after doing something big. For me (this time at least), that "something big" was performing my first half-hour set at a really nice venue.
I knew it wasn't going to be a huge affair--that I would not increase bar sales, that the crowd would consist of whoever I could convince to come, that my payment would be experience--but it was a show.
I had practiced for weeks and had worked the kinks out of my set. I had invited all my friends and created fliers. I had picked out my shoes and my dress. For two weeks, this show was the focus of pretty much every waking moment.
But, that focus made life brighter. There was something to look forward to--a reason to get excited. It felt like progress, like wonderful, joyous progress. It was a reason to practice and struggle and strive. It was a chance to prove...something. How loud I am, maybe?
It was all so very exciting, but in a half-hour it was done, and I was left feeling like my soul was slowly decompressing within me. As I packed up my guitar, I could see the cliff I was about to plunge over since adrenaline was no longer there to keep me from falling. I enjoyed as much of the afterglow as I could, but the crash was inevitable.
Actually, it was more like finding myself in a fog. I had passed the light post I had been using as a target and now it was all just haze and uncertainty. Really, I still feel like I'm walking through fallen clouds hoping to find another light or at least a silver lining.
Luckily, closer to the end of my nose than the mist is the question