Back to the Basics

Posted in Creativity, Inspiration, Music on Juli 31st, 2011 by EO-Manager

Do you remember when all of a sudden it became THE thing to record songs unplugged? I was quite surprised then how wide this acoustic trend spread. Apart from people like Eric Clapton (who were sort of naturally expected to do it) we had all kinds of musicians and genres appearing on stage with mostly acoustic guitars, basses and a piano (and drums are an acoustic instrument per se, aren’t they): from Stevie Ray Vaughn to Aerosmith and from Kiss to Allmann Brothers – erverybody was going nuts about acoustic music. (And, by the way, thanks to MTV who did a marvelous series with MTV unplugged!).

And you know what? Right they were. Amongst all our technical frenzy, gimmicks and VSTIs we tend to forget sometimes that music is based on the human ability to play and perform on instruments  – not just computers. I re-discovered that very clearly a couple of days ago, when I bought a new acoustic guitar. I would not say the acoustic guitar section of the shop I went to was empty – but compared to the amount of people hacking on drummachines,  keyboards (that triggered rhythms and basically effects) and other electronic devices it was.

I didn’t complain, because that gave me the opportunity to check a couple of guitars in peace and relative silence in a testroom (always having a second opinion by my old friend and guitar mastermind Kai)– but it was obvious that mostly younger people were attracted and smittened to all these wonderful technical inventions that give you the impression to be a “real” musician by just pressing a couple of buttons. Don’t get me wrong here: I am not saying it is inferior, it was just noticeable. Same empty situation, by the way, in the piano and e-piano section.

Are these kids missing something? If you ask me: yes, they do. Because there is one thing that is unique to acoustic instruments: you can play them anywhere and anytime. During my late school and university years I hardly went anywhere without my acoustic guitar. I played in pubs and on parties, at bonfires and youthhostels and through busking I managed to finance a six weeks holiday throughout Europe with a friend. Hey, you try this with your computer and stuff…

A couple of days after I’d bought the guitar I met a friend to do some recordings. And guess what? After showing him my new addiction we decided spontaneously to have an acoustic jam session with two guitars and hammered down songs we both liked for nearly two hours. Just two guitars and voices. It was fantastic! How much fun we had playing these old songs without twiddling knobs and searching for sounds.  And isn’t this the sort of “magic” every musician loves?

Will I use more acoustic sounds in the next couple of songs? You bet!

As always you are very welcome to comment.

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Making music – drivers and motivation

Posted in Inspiration on März 9th, 2011 by EO-Manager

We all know that music is rather emotional than rational but on top of that it seems to me that especially music has a specific quality that can not be reached by any other activity. A painter or a poet might say the same about his or her art, still I believe that music enriches even  more becouse it seems to me it is a more holistic approach using sounds, rhythm and lyrics. But before I get overwhelmed I’d rather stick to the main question of this blog entry: have you ever thought about WHY you are enjoying it so much to make music?

You probably might have heard about a theory of Daniel Pink before who breaks down the intrinsic motivation into autonomy, mastery and purpose once money is not the dominant driver anymore.  Even though it has been developed to demonstrate motivational factors in economy it still can be used for many areas. And I think it perfectly fits for us musicians as it hits the nail on the head.

What is all about? Pink defines the context as follows

  • Autonomy is  to have ownership and make your own decisions
  • Mastery is  the urge to master a talent or skill to perfection
  • Purpose is the wish to do something larger than ourselves

Isnt’t that an absolutely great description of our motivators? I think it is. Autonomy… you can go wherever you want to with your musical ideas. Only your imagination sets any boundaries. You can vary style, genre, rhythm, orchestration, speed … basically everything, which gives you not only total control of what you do but also how you do it.

Mastery … exactly. Why else would you practise? This is the driver that makes you want to become better (and better) – or can you give me any other reason why you spend hours and hours of your life practising scales, harmonies, paradiddles and the lot?

And thirdly „Purpose“ … yes, it’s hard to admit, but we don’t compose just for ourselves. We do it for others AND repeatedly. The purpose is to create something to be rewarded (and possibly remembered).

Maybe it’s a little different when you are a professional musician and feel that making music is a job but for all the amateur musicians out there I think it fits perfectly.

When I stumbled upon this theory I was quite astonished how well it fits especially to music. Don’t you agree?

If you want to read more about David Pink and his theories you can do so by visiting his website here. As always i encourage you to comment and/or rate this article if you feel so.

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