Monday, September 17, 2012

It's Not Cheating, It's Music...

I've always found it interesting this idea of "cheating" in music. The idea that there's one way to do things and if you don't do it that way, you are are cheating. I understand this if one is to be a conservatory trained professional musician. There should be standards and there is a right way of doing things. This should be celebrated.

However, there is another reality, that has it's origins in the DIY and Punk movements. Just go for it, make some beautiful noise. Have a humble beginning. I've always been a fan of Brian Eno's non-judgmental approach to music. I've read quotes of him saying that he's not a "musician" but rather an audio experimentalist. I like that. It's liberating.

The reason I bring this up is there are many different ways to approach music. Not all of us are going to be gifted players. Some of us need all the help we can get the squeeze what talent we have from our fingertips. Therefore, I don't really believe in musical cheating. It's music. We all have limitations.

To this degree, and reference again back to Brian Eno I believe there is an Oblique Strategy card that states something to the effect of, "Honor thy mistake as hidden intention." I'll take that a step farther and say, "Honor thy limitations as deliberate intention." This is liberating. Work aggressively within your limitations.

I say use the tools available. Modern computers make it possible to record in short pieces. Some argue this makes us lazy, and as much as that may be true, it also makes us inventive (hopefully). But more so than the aid of modern technology, I say reduce the infinite possibilities to only recording on 8 tracks. Use that limitation to force growth in other areas. Danish filmmaker Lars Von Trier created an entire cinematic movement by enforcing creative limitations with his Dogme 95 Rules.

As a beginning guitar player making liberal use of alternate tunings, capo's, and other tools can aid in the enjoyment of making music while possessing modest skills. From modest foundation of these tools we can build a greater understanding and enjoyment of music itself.

So as I write more posts I'll be making note of these tools. Mostly these are my discoveries, on my journey of playing and recording. Maybe they will be of some use to you as well in demystifying your own learning process.

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