Sunday, August 30, 2020

FBSMC 12 Music and the Natural Worlds: Conscious Choice of our own Development

 Some of the importances of Music and the Natural Worlds is to connect with something that in itself is connected to what is real and what that will bring into you. We were designed to process that which is real and nourishing to us. 

When we connect to color for example, we are connecting to one of the primary essences of the naturally created worlds. It is a vital component that covers and extends through all the overlays in the natural worlds (The Creation).

We can’t live without color. Color is vibratory force and the different colors contain various frequencies (vibrations), that have direct affects on certain parts of ourselves mentally, emotionally, physically and more. They can also be a direct link to the foundations of manifested life itself. Pretty big stuff uh?!

It’s one thing to say “connect to something when you play.” But a more complete thought is the fact that we are always connected to something when doing any action. The journey into the natural worlds is to help us see that a lot of how we go on was passed down to us through genetics, upbringing, world history, where we live, and the environment affecting our overlay system at deep levels throughout our entirety. This of course subliminally affects our behavior, thought process, ethics, beliefs and more. Part of  building a relationship with music and the natural worlds is to help us have more informed decision making and being much more cognizant of the how and why we do what we do. Where do the default thought processes and concepts, words and methods originate from that govern us in warming- up (as an example)? Did we look into it and wonder about it and find our own way within it or just practice what we were given whether it works for us or not? NOT THE TEACHERS fault really. It's important to go through something for a bit and see where it leads. But It shows us we have to be responsible for our own lives and process. Many teachers pass on what works for them and that is honorable because they went on a journey and found what works for them and it is real for them. In many circumstances teachers expect or hope that the student will in the end see they have to find out what works for them. They need to own the responsibility for their own development. How could it be otherwise??

Sunday, July 12, 2020

FBSMC 12, Music and the Natural Worlds, Living Theater of Nature

Yesterday was an amazing time at ‘our’ creek. Quiet yet energetically so alive with the landscape constantly changing. The creek is under huge white pines, oaks, some maples and a lot of hemlock trees. The sun was shining but there were wonderful huge piilowy clouds that you could see a bit of under the canopy of branches and leaves from the trees. 

This created spots of light on the land that were rising gradually above the creek. The spots of light would flicker like giant fireflies and change in rhythm with the duet of wind and trees. Then, periodically a large wide and round shadow would come over the ground, akin to a long tone passing through the texture of swirling lines from woodwinds and strings in a grand symphonic composition. This certainly was a sound and light cinematic delight, full of wonder and elevation in the living theater of Nature. We felt humbled to be part of it.

There is no doubt that aspects of this will be woven into the upcoming composition dedicated to my former teacher Ron Ricketts, who is now flying in another sphere of space in the continuing life of soul and spirit. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

FBSMC 12, Music and the Natural Worlds, Beyond Brass Playing

When spending time building a relationship with the natural worlds, it is important to ‘tune’ ourselves to the environment that we are going to be in and fine tune when we are actually in it.

One way to prepare and ‘tune’ is to start to leave behind some of our thoughts from wherever we are coming from. This is not to be forced, but can come from a simple call over to oneself like, “I am now going to settle mind, emotions and body and enter a different environment.” Then one can do some of the vowel meditations or other soothing breathing exercises to unify mind, body and emotions. If our mind feels extremely scattered, find a tempo to attach yourself to and couple it with the breathing exercises. Perhaps you have song or simple melody or tone sequence that calms and settles. If super- hyped up and stressed, it can be useful to do some quicker, hyper breathing for a short period of time and consciously say to your self out loud, “I release this stress from my mind, from my emotions and from my body.” Then gradually get into slower and calmer deep breathing.

This is a simple outline of things to try and much more detail and specifics could be filled in. For example, when doing the vowel meditation, each one of the vowels resonates within a certain space in our body. From those spaces, one can add the phrase, “dissolve you stress from this space” and feel it dissolve You can also put other words that connect with you more than dissolve like, ‘melt away’ anxiety, peace please come.” The encouragement here is to find the ways and means that work for you and these are some examples.

Vowels are common to think about in brass playing but we can extend this use in so many ways and then bring that enhanced experience to our playing with fuller meaning.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

FBSMC 12, Music and the Natural Worlds, In the Journey Video 3

Until you decide you want to go on a journey and actually set your foot on the path, you then enter the unknown, if you are open. The unknown is that which you have not put together yet, understood yet, or have avoided to look at... Moving into the Natural Worlds, if we want to communicate and build connections with them, will reveal much about what you do not know about that which you thought you knew. That's a bit of a mouthful but it's so humbling and placing us in a position to expand, have access to more knowledge and teaches us a more profound sense of belonging to an infinite ocean of truth. What better allies are there to have in one's life??

The incredible feature about this is we can begin to translate this into our lives and chosen mediums of expression. As we have seen, we can see these marvelous laws of Nature in our basics of music making on multiple levels. YAY!!!!

This is a life long journey with wonderful opportunities for personal advancement and growth. When there is a will there is a way and another way. When we have expanded reference into the natural worlds we can see how much of life actually works and it starts to make sense out of the human condition. That has it's challenges but it's worth it! If not know, when???

Manatee long tones anyone?? Bird call slurs?? Oak tree Arbans?? 

Saturday, June 20, 2020


Instrumentalists of all kinds have their own terminology and techniques. What FBSMC 12 is doing as part of this series is to translate our experiences with the natural worlds into the terminology we use on our various instruments. Then to translate that into finding the technique to produce it on our instruments.

Realize that the human being, as well as all plants, animals, fish, birds, rocks. minerals, insects and all the elements, are instruments with purpose. Different environments (forests, mountains, lakes, deserts, tropical, dry, temperate, polar etc.), all the life that lives in them is specifically made for a particular climate and environment. In a similar way, human made cities located in different climates, are designed accordingly for the humans to function in. The main point here is design for a purpose according to what is needed.

The human can ‘recreate’ or be inspired by the natural worlds in all arts, dance, music, painting, architecture, transportation, sports, and more. Humans are a part of Nature! And have their own unique position in Nature. Like all of life, the human is designed to change and adapt when it is called upon. If it doesn’t then it too, could vanish into extinction. 

I ask many times when musicians are playing for me (as I ask myself), “what are you thinking about when you are playing?” This question is vital so one will not always play by default into some pre-made idea that has become habit. NOW, it’s important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater! Not all habit is harmful or not useful. We are designed to have an automatic robotic system, our marvelous intricate physical self known as the first overlay. This first overlay needs a driver for it is more the vehicle of the driver (mind-person), which is known as the second overlay. The second overlay is the liaison between the first and third overlay(s) (purpose and destination). This is a journey into being more conscious and integrating our Overlay System as a working whole.

Building connections and relationships with the natural worlds provides the whole of ourselves to have a bank of resources and ideas that will NEVER RUN OUT. Wow!!! It will constantly keep us in wonder, gratitude,  reverence and hold us more in tune with the ‘A’ of Awe.  

Think of how different practicing long tones, (if you practice them), could be by connecting it to different aspects of the lives that live in the natural worlds. Even for string players and percussionists, they have their own version of long tones, meaning holding pitches out for an extended length of time. 

Can you find examples in Nature that would help or enhance your long tone practice?? How would this change your state of mind, body and attitude?? I’d be very interested in your discoveries! 

Friday, June 12, 2020

FBSMC 12, "Music and the Natural Worlds"' companion notes to video 2, In the Feeling Life

It takes time to let ourselves feel. We are so used to moving at a fast and pressured internal speed to get to the next thing in our schedules that needs to be done. You know that scenario? We all do too well! If we let ourselves go outdoors and breath, smell, listen, and feel, our internal speeds slow down which allows us to observe, feel and participate in the acoustic of being outdoors with Nature and the many lives we can communicate with.

In this video, I bring up some potent sentiments and concerns about the current times we live in. There is so much going on that being outdoors and building a relationship with Nature will refresh and reconnect us to the planet we live on and some of the lives ‘She’ houses and feeds. At the same time, it is important to acknowledge and ask the planet Earth for forgiveness for the suffering and extinction of so many, many of Her animals, fish, insects, birds, and trees, plus the polluting of her lakes, oceans, streams and sky at human hands, the hands of us and our relatives. This might have happened unknowingly to many folks but we now inherit this and it needs to be corrected. 

In the same vein of causing suffering, the white people on the planet need to ask for forgiveness, even if they did not ‘directly’ have a hand in it, the suffering of our black sisters and brothers for 400 years. There have been many groups of people that have suffered on this planet but it is no excuse in the U.S. that we don’t address this issue which needs BIG attention and our black brothers and sisters need to be heard, NOW and things need to change. 

My feeling and hope, however small it might be, is that the FBSMC 12 can be an encouragement  to all people to reconnect with Nature and start to build an attitude of Love, Respect and Reverence for ALL life, human, animal, fish, insects, land, air, water, plants and so on! Then we will see we need each other and their will be enough abundance and mutual support when there is actual respect and reverence for life which will cultivate a deep love among us. 
In the quiet that being in the woods, ocean, lakes, mountains etc. can provide, let’s think how each one of us can help the human species heal from all prejudice and selfishness in real practical ways and actions. It starts with the an attitude shift and the deep feeling of life being sacred for it is not human made. We certainly all can be in agreement with that!
Think of what the overall acoustic on the planet would feel like if that were the case. It is an ideal worth pursuing and expressing in our life and Art. Mother Nature is oftentimes referred to in certain circles as The Great Church. In Hinduism it is called the Maha Tattva which means the total material creation. When we build a relationship with Nature we can better understand ourselves as well, for we are part of it! 

“In the Feeling Life” is so important as a first starting point so we can activate our senses and not worry about ‘getting it right.’ With these relationships we will make a connecting path to our Art where the ideas will flow like a waterfall into us when the connections and attitudes we create are in tune with Nature.

In support of your lives with love, respect and reverence!

Thursday, June 4, 2020

FBSMC12, Music and the Natural Worlds, companion notes to video 1

Beethoven’s 6th symphony the Pastoral,  is such a great example of an artist expressing and connecting to their love of Nature. Beethoven was known to take long walks in the country and each one of the 5 movements, which was certainly a ‘deviation’ of the normal 4 movements of a classical symphony, has a specific title about an aspect of Nature and ending with a shepherd’s song of thankfulness in the 5th movement. As I mentioned in video 1, my introduction to symphonic music was the William Tell Overture and I was floored by the storm scene and the peacefulness afterwards. It’s interesting and curious that the first piece I ever played with a very good youth orchestra, the St. Paul Philharmonic Youth Orchestra under the direction of Leopold Sipe in 1966, was Beethoven’s 6th Symphony. I have a very special place in my heart for this piece and was fortunate to play it many times in my orchestral career. 

Many composers and artists of all kinds have been inspired by Nature with feelings of joy, reverence, respect, beauty, awe, humility and many other qualities. One of the powerful things that happened to me many years ago but is always with me now, is the profound sense of everything in nature being intelligent. Nothing is there without purpose and nothing is wasted. The human being, because of its power of free will, can go against the laws of Nature and create incredible havoc. On the other hand, the human being, like our Native People of America, had extraordinary respect and gratitude for our Mother Earth and respected all Her offspring whether plant, animal, mineral, water, air and so forth. They were wonderful custodians of Nature. I am thankful for all the people that are helping to restore balance to our beloved Mother Earth.

My hope for this series, is to encourage more connection with Nature. Think of how our music making, dancing, painting, cooking, cleaning, helping others, sculpting, building and all that we do, can express aspects of our life. Who/what is the great artist, that created all the Art that Nature is?? That thought alone is AWESOME and deeply moving. 

Take your Nature walks and TUNE yourself to Nature’s music using your hearing, touch (be careful where you touch), smell, taste (be careful but use your sense of taste without actually tasting), sight and feelings. Let yourself be in it and at the same time be simple and hear the rhythms, phrasing of the landscapes, notice the colors and timbres and pitches that are present everywhere as you listen. Listen = Silent.

More specific exercises will becoming. But first, open up and move beyond the 'box' of indoor living quarters and feel the outdoors. :-) LInk to Video 1: