this is something i've been thinking about lately. trying to attain a greater level of performance, perhaps a higher state of consciousness when playing. to let go everything you do in the shed - scales, licks, theory, etc. - and just let the music take over. to be able to reach a state of mind where you're not bogged down by all that stuff, or worrying about what you're doing, or mistakes you just made, or worrying about performance in general. i'd like to get to a state where performance is more meaningful than, "okay, i'm playing stuff i was practicing, but now there's a band. so how can i use this in this song? oh and my tone sucks with this amp and now my playing sucks because of it." etc. have any of you had any experience or thoughts about this?
state of consciousness(10 posts)
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I can't say I've practiced it, but it does happen to me from time to time. I know when I think back to performing, I have no recollection of an audience being there. Maybe that's more being in the "zone" than what you're talking about. I would definitely recommend Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner if this is something you want to get into.
Try putting yourself in situations where the action is really moving and allow your instincts to take over. This could be in front of a larger or intimidating audience, or with better musicians than yourself...anything where your movements or instincts need to move faster than your brain.
I think this is what Miles Davis was going for when he wouldn't show charts to his band until recording time.
Get out of your comfort zone, whatever it is, and that should help. ie. faster tempos, more complex harmony, better musicians, harder jam sessions
it's good to get your but kicked, it'll help you grow (just don't let it get you down, there's always tomorrow, you know the sun coming out again ;)
I agree with you for the most part, except I don't think playing at a level that you're incapable of playing - for example, playing a tune you can't blow over, or playing at a tempo you can't play yet - will elevate your mindset and playing. Certain stuff has to be unlocked in the practice room so you can feel more free when playing in more difficult situations. Though I do think that playing with better musicians, and playing more stimulating and creative music, and perhaps being put a little bit out of your comfort zone creatively (but maybe not technically), can unlock that state of mind. Ideally, I'd like to be able to unlock a higher state of consciousness in any playing situation, whether it's playing a really hip modern tune or Bye Bye Blackbird, with guys that can inspire you or guys that really don't at all.
I think there are some people that are more naturally aligned with hitting that "deeper" place, and in some respects, the possibility of hitting that place is dependent upon a majority of the people in the group having an understanding of how to reach it. Hitting those places of depth has less to do with technique and more to do with the ability to direct the energy of the music. There are people I really enjoy playing with who aren't that great technically and such, but really understand how to get to that place. In the end, music is conversational, and the conversation can only go as far as the participants can go together.
On playing with people who don't inspire you, perhaps in a jam session situation or a jobbing gig, a little perspective goes a long way. Bring something positive to the music and find a point of reference.
The basic idea is that you put yourself in a place where your instinct or action has to move faster than your brain. Then what happens is your brain eventually catches up and things start to slow down and you reach another level of play.
Great things can happen in the practice room, but it's like a slow moving river, and you got to put yourself in the rapids at some point to grow.
Stop focusing on the small details like specific tempos (for you it could be 120 instead of 90-that's not the point). The point is putting yourself in a position to just react and then allow your "thinking" to catch up (somewhat anyway), like riding a big wave etc...
I think some people are able to be in the moment more readily than others, but that's probably because they are intentional about it in other areas of their life as well.
I always try to put myself in situations that are out of my comfort zone - that's one of the main ways you progress as a musician. I've certainly been in that situation before, and I usually feel like I'm scuffling and/or uncomfortable. So I guess my doubt was not whether or not I should try that, but whether or not that can bring that elevated mindset. I feel like if you're incapable of playing something, or with someone, you won't be able to really express yourself, which is a big part of my idea of the state of consciousness I'd like to reach.
Oh, that's what you mean, well welcome to the struggle! That's the art, trying to play and express what you hear. Here are a few ideas for you, you might have used them already.
1. Sing a solo and transcribe yourself (just record yourself singing to a backing track a bunch of times and transcribe yourself it also helps to start with a melody you know and then solo and then to just sing over a chord progression that you don't know at all and then let just your voice and ear be your guides)
2. Try and write your own music (don't judge it, just write)
I find that both of these techniques help you to get better in touch with your own melodic voice.
mediation just by itself has helped me get to that place when i'm playing music.
when i meditate it's obviously a different state of mind but i can feel my body relax too. often when i meditate the "deepest" points are when i feel my eyes start to roll into the back of my head.
when i play i treat it as a meditation. instead of using the mantra the music is what i fix my mind to. when things are going well i can feel my body relax a bit and my eyes start to roll to the back.
before i started meditating i did not know why kurt's eye lids fluttered while he played. his eyes are rolling to the back because he is getting to another place.
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