The Fluidity of Time & Space - 3

Grab a cuppa and relax, as we are going deep in this blog…

Defining Time

Time. It's such an interesting concept. On one hand, we are so tied into it - clock time. On the other hand, we can experience a point where it doesn't exist - no time. Like when we get engaged in an activity so deeply that we lose our sense of time. We finally finish that project we were working on, look at the clock, and realize that 4 hours have passed. But it didn't seem like 4 hours. It really didn't seem like anything. We were engaged in the activity and not aware of time - there was no time. Another example is, after I finish a Meditation Session, where I've just played for 60-70 minutes, and people comment that, “It seemed like it was only 10 minutes.”

We can also experience the opposite, where time seems to drag on forever, like when we are waiting for an appointment, or at a shopping checkout, or when we are doing an activity we are not engaged in. There is a sense of elongated time, ti…

The Fluidity of Time & Space - 2

Time. How do we actively work with it, mold it, change it, and change our perception of it? 

Self Perception of Time

We live in a modern culture that is based on time. Clocks, computers, and other machine dissect our world into tiny increments of perceived space/time. Our lives are directly tied into this clock time. Everything we do is directed by clock time in some form. Let's look at a type of time perception and how to change it.

We all are intimately bound to music in our lives. The beat often drives us in our daily work, or daily activities. As a drummer, I'm extremely aware of how time works and how it is used in our modern music. Let's look at some basic exercises to establish a sense of time, and then move away from it.


This is a bit esoteric, and there's no need to be exact in your counting. As you move your notes further apart it becomes difficult to keep track of the time in-between them. This is OK.

This is one continuous exercise. Pick a fairly fast te…

The Fluidity of Time & Space - 1

Contrary to most people's thinking, time and space are not absolutes. One of the current waves of scientific thinking is that neither actually exists, except in our own minds. In fact we, and the world we experience, may not exist and are merely projections of our consciousness. 

With this in mind, Gongs, Bowls, and Bells are the perfect instruments to use in order to break through our perceived notions of time and space. After an hour long Gong session, it's not unusual to have someone say, “That seemed like only 10 minutes.” It's also not unusual to have someone say, “That seemed like all day long.” 

The same session. 
Different people.
Different experiences.

The illusion of time
Time is an Illusion

We've all experienced our day dragging on, seemingly like it would never end. We've also experienced being engaged in some activity and having the time fly by. These 2 examples show that time is more a perceived experience than an absolute. 

When I'm presenting a meditati…

Gong Hacks: #1

Gong Hacks

Over the course of my career, I've come up with a lot of practical and easy solutions to everyday percussionist problems, so I plan to feature these here in 2019. A lot of these may seem like common sense, or simple ideas, but I'm surprised how many other people haven't thought of them.

Gong Hack #1

Your hands are you main tools, so you really need to take care of them. When I'm loading/unloading, and setting up/tearing down, I always wear a pair of work gloves. These have not only saved on the wear & tear my hands take, but they have saved me from injuring my hands on many occasions. Note, these are made from heavy material or leather, not your white cotton gloves that many Gongers wear to keep fingerprints off their Gongs.

I currently have 2 pair that I bought for under $10 each pair at a local hardware store. I keep one pair with my cases, so they're always ready when I have to load up for a gig. I know most of you probably don't have and use as m…

The Importance of an Outside Perspective

As an artist, it's easy to become myopic and get lost in your own perspective of what you do. This is especially true, if like me, you play mostly solo. While solo is great, the one big downfall is the lack of ideas and guidance from other musicians. In a duo/trio/group situation, there is a lot of communication about what is going on in the music and how to shape it. Playing solo, it's just you. This doesn't mean that one is better than the other, but that in continued solo playing, you often lack input from others who can see what you do from outside.

I record every performance (audio and/or video), but even in listening back to it, I don't always catch things. Glaring mistakes or big things do stand out, but often the more subtle things can even escape me on reviewing my work. It's like writing a term paper, and when you edit it, you keep missing the same mistakes, yet when someone else reads it, they can spot things immediately.

An Outside Perspective

My wife, who…

This Is A Lifelong Evolution

Instant gratification

We admittedly live in an era of instant gratification. With the internet, we have an instant connection to more information than anytime in history. Cell phones, tablets, computers—they all contact us to the world at large.

One of the advantages of this global communication is that we can take a lot of short cuts to get to where we want to be. If something breaks in my house, I can usually find a video on YouTube™ that will show me how to repair it. I don't have to study for years to become some sort of mechanic to fix it. But this also means that because I can watch and follow YouTube™ videos, that I'm NOT a qualified mechanic or repairman. 

Yes, I can follow a video for simple repairs. 

No, I can't just open something up, know what's wrong with it, and fix it.

Amateur vs Professional

As with anything in life, there is a process of learning you need to follow.

I see this in the Gong/Singing Bowl/Sound Healing area. Many people watch a few videos, play t…

Gong Player vs Listener

I think it's important for all Gong and Bowl players to understand how the people at their sessions perceive the sounds and vibrations. It's often extremely different than how the player perceives things.

Frequencies & Wave Forms

One important idea is that the player is right there in front of the instruments. This can create a sort of proximity effect, especially with larger Gongs. With a very large Gong, you may be standing right in front of it, but the lower frequencies are not opening up until they are past you. One thing to do is to strike your Gong, or have someone else strike it, and back up slowly from it. Notice how the sound changes as you move away, not just in decreasing volume, but in frequency. Listen for hot spots where a certain low frequency jumps out.

I experienced a great example of this when I played for the grand opening of the Memphis Gong Chamber. In the main room, they have a beautiful 84" Paiste Symphonic Gong. I was able to isolate multiple hot …