Thursday, July 23, 2015

FBSMC7, Video 4, Contemplation on Integrated Life Art

This video is part of getting into the deep end of things. I suggest, if you are interested, to listen to it 'lightly' without at first trying too hard to 'get it'. Let it come in gently. Something might catch you and you might want to listen again. The writing that precedes it can be approached the same way. At first it might not seem to make sense but it is there and the more you connect the dots, which most likely will not happen overnight, it will hopefully open up some interesting and revealing truths about music as a living thing. Go with the flow…..

Contemplation on Integrated Life Art

In thinking about old, new and current, the word current sticks out to me. Current in the context of old and new can mean, what is presently the case or state of affairs now. 
current (present)-now

What is the now? Is there any influence of the past in the now? Most likely that would be easier to trace than any influence of the future in the now. Can we detect future? Well, we can look at trends and see where things could be headed right? People can make a lot of money by being good at sizing up the economic trends and making decisions about their investments. Well, do we as humans (and musicians of course), see the trends and try to make decisions about our lives and/or careers based on what seems to be a trend? I think so! You can see the cases in history where people made very important life-saving decisions based on trends and predicting where these trends were going. This is happening in various ways as musicians feel the 'winds of change' in certain ways with what were 'traditional' musical careers in an orchestra, freelancing, and teaching. Many schools have programs to help musicians have a chance at creating their own career in music. It is important to note that people have been doing this for a long time but it is getting more now, especially with the numbers of people taking auditions and/or being at an advanced level of playing so the competition is greater now for certain jobs. 

The state of now is actually not stagnant. It is a current that moves with the multi-inter-connected-rhythms of everything within everything, with different forces having greater power and others forces being in the background whilst others are latent but not totally inactive and still having an influence and other forces being inactive waiting to be  activated if conditions were to change making it more favorable for them to activate. 

It is also held that the the past would be known and the present would be known even though there is an element of the known unknown, the future being unknown mostly but also made up of known unknown aspects as well. (For example, we know tomorrow (future) will come (known) but we do not totally know how it will unfold, (known unknown).  

All of this can be seen in a musical example. If we are playing a familiar piece (known), we can't always predict how it will go (known unknown). If we are playing a piece, isn't that a great example of past, present, future all happening as one? Because as soon as you start to play, present  becomes past, then present quickly becomes future leaving a trail of the past! Hold out a long tone and focus on the now. If you are playing this long tone to a metronome, then it will be really easy to measure past, present, future and the beginning, middle and end of the note but the metronome is clicking beats that move from current to future leaving them all in the past! This is life. It is happening all of the time. Maybe there is a lot of significance to the phrase, go with the flow. Or better said, Go with the flow when connected to the essence

Do we need to know all that? No of course not. But the marvel of the universe, life itself, is in everything that we do. When we are really connected to the music we are playing there is a oneness where we feel the beginning, middle and end or past, present and future as one thing. We are in it, unaware of small scale time, but at the same time we are in the movement of the spirit of the piece where we ourselves are a player. This happens when the connection is strong enough to get our ego be out of the way. Then we and the music are one. No divisions really exist at that point. It is a current, a flowing continuum of oneness.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

FBSMC7, Video 3, "What is Musical?"

Here is video 3 for FBSMC7. This could be one of several very deep videos for those who truly want to explore what is music and what is music making. It is a living process that goes far beyond set systems of making a nice 'architectural' phrase. So I encourage those who are interested in finding out what music is to them and how they can have a fuller and deeper relationship with it to listen with an open mind and take down some notes only after you listen to it. Then listen to it again at some point and take down another set of notes. Ready, set, listen…

What is Musical?

Friday, July 17, 2015

FBSMC7, Summertime Practice Extra

Hopefully the Summertime Practice videos are offering some ideas of ways to approach not just Summertime practice but practice time when you don't have a lot of other commitments. When we are on vacation or are freer from lots of playing in our schedule, we can experiment more because we don't have to worry if our lip is in the best shape for a particular event. This gives us some room to dive into things in our own timing. Most playing careers can have a rigorous schedule of rehearsals and concerts which condition us a certain way to be at the ready for the task at hand. This is an excellent training in itself but it doesn't always offer the space to really 'stir' things up or for example try new equipment or refine or reshape aspects of our embouchure. Another good example is endurance practice. This area needs us to be economical with the use of our time. It is vital in professional, audition and recital situations.

Here is an interesting story of a trombonist at one of the schools I teach at. He emailed me and told me of a situation he was having with a note he was having trouble with staying stable. This talented player does not study with me but has had me as a coach and conductor for several years. When everything else he tried was not working to get this note where he wanted it, he asked himself "What would Mr. Bolter do?"   I was very touched when I heard that because I used to ask myself similar questions when I was younger about great teachers and players I knew of and worked with. That question would connect me to some aspect of them and things would get better if I kept at it. This person knew enough about some of my approaches that he discovered something after being in a real discovery process with the question and he kept fine tuning his efforts and it paid off. The Summertime seemed to offer an opening for him to take that time and trust the process enough to keep going with it for as long as it took to get the results he wanted.

So! Enjoy your time! There is much truth in the phrase "make hay while the sun shines."

Monday, July 13, 2015

FBSMC7, Summertime practice!

Welcome to Frequency Bone Summer Music Connection 7! Posted here are the first two videos. The first is called Summertime Practice and the other one is called More Summertime Practice. Hope it offers some food for your thoughts and practice time!  

Summertime Practice

More Summertime Practice

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Yes it is that time again for the Frequency Bone Summer Music Connection. I almost can't believe this will be FBSMC7! This FBSMC7 is a series of thoughts, contemplations, advice and exercises. Sure, it has the same foundational core as the other FBSMC videos and blog posts have but each time there is something different, another angle, sentiment, exercise or revelation that happens. And that is the point! When something is alive it is going to move, grow and develop. Isn't that wonderful?! The essence of all of this work is to transfer some of the ways, means, feelings, awe, insights and love of being deeply connected to music and life as a real living thing that is a never ending source of wonder, magnificence, beauty and truth.
This year is really a stream of contemplations and insights for the performer and teacher alike. There will be videos from the Frequency Bone Composition Connection series as well as ones featuring Dr. Carol Viera with me asking her questions promoting her precious gems of wisdom.

I hope all who watch these videos can take some time to work with the various subjects and thought processes that these videos have to offer as an aid and assistance for your own musical and life growth into the living Art. The videos will be up very soon!