Gut Rumbles

February 17, 2005

i believe it, too

I've written before about how much I like making music. I'll never be as good as I want to be, but I've at least reached the point where I don't embarass myself if I sit down to play with ANYBODY. I do okay, on several different instruments.

Making music has affected my life in many ways--- not just from the experience of playing in front of crowds, meeting lots of very weird musicians and living the bar scene for a while--- but also by changing ME into what I believe is a better person. There's a Zen-like quality about learning to play an instrument. You start out having to THINK about everything you do; then, one fine day you become one with the instrument and you don't have to think anymore. You just PLAY.

I read this at steve's place and I couldn't agree more:

Iíve probably said this before, but I believe practicing an instrument is like physical therapy. I believe it modifies your body and your nervous system and builds mechanisms that didnít exist before. If you get mashed in an accident and have to relearn how to walk, your brain and nerves have to come up with new circuits and so on, supposedly, and that happens because you go to therapy a million times and repeat the same motions until your body gets it. I think piano practice is no different. If you bust your ass trying to improve your technique and control, you will change physically and become an improved person.

That may sound like utter bullshit to a non-musician, but it sounds like truth to me. Music is a strange combination of the mental, the physical and the spiritual. You have to learn the technique, hit the right notes and then learn to FEEL it all, so that you end up playing with passion. That takes a lot of practice, which is pure-assed WORK until it all starts to come together.

Then, it is absolute joy.


Oh, man. I should have warned you. That was just bullshit.

Posted by: Steve H. on February 17, 2005 04:24 PM

Oh, yeah, it happens. The technical explanation I've read is that it's a buildup of spinal reflexes, the same thing that lets someone sit down and type 80-100 words a minute.

I just think of it as 'your body learns it, and once it's learned you don't have to acually think about it anymore'.

Same thing happens in forging. You sweat and bitch and screw things up and get burned, and then one day you find yourself pulling a piece out of the fire and shaping it without thinking about it, and you hear someone ask "How the HELL do you do that?"

Posted by: Mark on February 18, 2005 12:13 AM
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