Consumption, Creation and the Balance Between.

I wonder how many other musicians find themselves bored with the act of listening to music.  I like to think I have fairly eclectic taste.  At any given point in time if you could tap into my headphones it would not be uncommon to hear from motown, bop, metal, blues, country, R&B, pop, classic rock, post-rock, alternative, CCM, or even dubstep blasting at an unhealthy volume. So it isn’t a lack of variety causing this. I do have a theory.

While the frequency I listen to music may play a big part (almost all the time), I think a bigger issue for me is that listening is a spectator experience. Being a spectator or consumer of music can be like a substitute for actually playing music, and as such it leaves much to be desired.  There is something irreplaceable about the act of creating music, especially in a group environment, that consuming music can’t replace.

Don’t get me wrong, it is important for me as a musician to do a heavy amount of listening.  Just like a person learns a language best when they are immersed in an environment in which that language is spoken constantly (and expertly but that is a different blog post for a different day), a musician is only going to be able to advance their mastery of the language of music through diligent and diverse listening habits.  There is a balance, though, that is required.  You have to speak that language, not just hear it, in order for it to stick.  No matter how much time a person spends around Spanish speaking people, they’ll never roll that double r sound properly until they limber up their tongue and start to actually use those words.  Music is the same way.  This is why I think I find myself bored.

My balance between being a consumer and a creator is skewed.  It not only leaves me unsatisfied as a listener, it adversely effects my experience as a musician.  My ear is more attuned to interesting harmonies, phrasing, melodic content through all of my listening.  My playing, however, can’t match that. You could say my ear is ahead of hands!  The ultimate goal of all musicians should be to produce what you hear in your head. The disparity created by being consumer over a creator leaves the process of the latter hollow and equally frustrating. My friend Alastair posted an awesome video that talks about this in the comments to an earlier blogpost (find that here


The flip side is that when these things are in better balance, they actually inspire me to do more of whichever it is I am not currently doing.  When these things are equal my playing leaves me wanting to listen to something new and inspiring. When in balance, my listening makes me want to run to guitar or piano and compose.  The balance truly is the key for making both of these experiences fulfilling.  I wonder if there is maybe a greater life lesson in there somewhere………


Creative curse

One of the biggest frustrations in my life is my insatiable desire to create “art” (music, painting, writing, whatever) and my dissatisfaction with the results produced.

For non creative types, imagine having something really important to say. You feel like if you don’t tell someone this thing in your head, you may just explode.  Now imagine walking up to someone to tell them this thing,taking a deep breath, opening your mouth, and………..






You can move your lips and your tongue, you can form all the letters, you can even hear the words in your head, but nothing is coming out.  And on the rare occasion you do manage to generate sound, it comes out distorted and jumbled.  Nothing near the profound statement you wanted to make.

Now imagine that people knew you for these brilliant thoughts.  Imagine if you had built so much of your identity around making the statements like the one you were just trying to make. How much more frustrating would that be? Then it’s no longer about a statement that goes unmade, or an idea unrealized.  It is about a person’s feeling of purpose being invalidated.

It isn’t about a song going unwritten, or a solo that goes off the tracks, it is about an identity fractured.



**Disclaimer** if the post above seems to come off as a pity party, that is not my intent.  This blog is intended to be a public journal of my thoughts, an attempt at being transparent and honest with myself.  Sometimes to conquer your inner demons you gotta let the light shine on them.  My Pastor is pretty wise cat, and he once said that sin feeds and grows in the dark.  I think the same is true for all the negative things we deal with.  I think the same is true of all our struggles.  If left in the dark, they have power. Hopefully this blog will let me shine the light on some of my struggles and rob them of whatever power they hold on me




Re-Introduction and First Thoughts

Hopefully I will use this blog more than my last one.  I wonder, now that I am no longer on Facebook or Twitter if anyone will actually read any of this?  Oh well, If you find this somehow, welcome.  I hope you enjoy.  My other blog ( was written to be like other blogs I enjoyed and learned a lot from, but truthfully wasn’t  always a reflection of where I was in life.  I felt hypocritical posting some of the positive things I posted there, when in fact I felt pretty negative at time. I hope to be more honest and transparent in this blog. That isn’t to say that the thing I wrote there aren’t reflective of what I believe, or what I was striving for at that time.  It was just delivered behind one of those creepy smiling  Greek drama masks.  I may even, in time, go back and post on both blogs if I feel some compelling reason to do so exists. For now, I want to start with a clean slate and just use this, as mush as anything else, an online journal of what I am feeling and living in a particular moment.

So, let’s just see where this thing goes…….