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Showing posts from October, 2014

Into The Silence…

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Trust. Trust is important, but not always easy. It takes years of both work and practice, to reach a point where you trust yourself, trust your instruments, trust the sounds. We live in a society that values both instant gratification, and constant change. In dealing with the Gongs/Bowls/Bells, that sort of attitude is against what I do. There is a learning curve that needs to be followed.

Silence. It used to be a way of life. You lived off the land, out in the middle of the country, and the sounds you heard were the wind blowing through the trees, birds and animals, the water of a river or lake moving, thunder and storms. Much of the time there was very little sound, or at least very quiet, minimal background noises. Today, things are so much different. There is a constant barrage of sounds, mostly from our devices. They beep, hum, ring, and create all types of sounds. We hear the ongoing traffic, the AC, the TV & radio, all of our appliances. Even when we sleep, there are still m…

The Virtue Of Patience

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After last night's Gong Session, someone said to me, “I like how you were patient with the sounds.” I liked that. At another recent session, my son Aiden, also said something similar. It wasn't always that way. I remember how I used to move from sound to sound, keeping things going, sort of like those acrobats who are always spinning plates, keeping each one spinning, lest one should fall. I used to feel that I had to keep the sounds going, or the people would become bored and restless. I was wrong.

It's all a matter of both maturity and trust. I've learned to trust the people, trust that I can go deeper into the experience and they will go along with me. They will trust me. It's also trusting the sounds, and the silence. Trusting that I can let the sound fully evaporate into the air before I bring forth another one. And in doing so, we all move deeper into the experience. 

I've learned to pace myself, to create a very slow pulse. This was not easy. After 30+ yea…

Walking the Path Further

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The Myth of the Two Week Master - Part 5 - Walking the Path Further

Remember, the path you walk is your own, and each one of us walks a different path. You may borrow ideas or inspiration from others, but ultimately, you will do it in your own way. While I can write about my path here, yours will be your own.

I'm fortunate, in that besides being a percussionist for over 40 years, I've also had a 30+ year career as a music journalist. So I've been able to interview some of the greatest drummers & percussionists of that time span. Many of them use Gongs, Bells, and other metal percussion in an expanded set up. I've had the good fortune to interview almost all of my percussive heroes & influences. Rather than ask, "What kind of drums do you play," I've focused more on finding out how they think, what drives them, why they worked on certain projects or bands, etc. Anyone can buy the same gear as someone else, but you can't get the same sort of knowl…

Walking The Path, Experiencing the Path

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The Myth of the Two Week Master - Part 4 - Walking The Path
I was watching a video by the late, great philosopher, Alan Watts, on Mahayana Buddhism, and he really speaks to the heart of what I've been writing about here. Watts was amazingly well versed in the many Oriental religions and philosophies. Now you don't have to be into Buddhism or any sort of Oriental philosophy to get something out of what Watts was saying. I'm going to quote something I got out of the video:
“There is a theory in Mahayana Buddhism that is called, the doctrine of mind only. And this isn't quite like Western ideas that we call subjective idealism, the idea that the whole world is something that exists only in your own mind. And there isn't any outside there at all. […] The important point to understand—this was contained in the Buddha's original teaching—is that the whole of our worldly experience is an experience of pure pattern. […] A pattern of form, constantly rippling and changing…