Saxophone& Composing



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I'm always baffled by our fascination with sound. White noise, music, news, or even silence. Most people get dressed for work in the morning (or whenever you happen to work) and they instinctively turn on the TV or the radio and put on the morning news, weather, cartoon or what not. It's just on to be on. There is no focus on it - the focus is on preparing for the responsibilities ahead. But we turn it on anyway - myself included. It's become our daily need for white noise to fill that seemingly uncomfortable silence.

I always keep my box fan on inside my bedroom. The temperature gets high and low and the air sometimes doesn't circulate well, so the fan helps to regulate the room a bit. I pulled the plug by accident and suddenly the fan shuts down. I stopped my assignment to listen. I was puzzled by the lack of noise. Silence. Silence. Silence. At first I didn't realize it was the fan exactly - just that something wasn't right.

Sometimes I am irked by silence. Perhaps it is because I am a music major - I am constantly surrounded by sound and pitch and always I am listening. Music surrounds my life, and even in my brain I am uncomfortable thinking nothing. I always hum or sing a tune to keep my mind from dwelling on the silence.

== (Music Moment Below)

That's what I find so intriguing about John Cages, "4'33". He sits musicians down and they rest for 4:33. The audience is the one creating the music. Through their fidgets, coughing, adjusting their zippers, sighs, stiffled sneezes they create the piece.

The New Musician

On Sense and Sensitivity

I started playing gigs when I was 16 years old in coffee shops and small venues. It was easy to pack out the place with friends and peers from school, looking for something to do. The music I wrote was raw then, lyrics coming from places of deep hurt and life experience. Performing was being heard. Performing was telling me story.

But the music industry isn't necessarily the friendliest toward introverts and highly sensitive people, especially when you're both, like me. I tried my hand at self-promotion, recording a professional demo, and winning a residency at a local pub for a few months. I was starting to get some name recognition in town until an ex-fan threatened to kill me in a guitar shop. Then, I shut it all down. I wasn't even famous and someone wanted me six feet under.

One thing that always discouraged me was how easy the musician lifestyle seemed to be for some of my peers. For example, Nick Jenkins is this amazing percussionist who conducts the most beautiful experiments with his music, including silent discos. That guy can play anywhere and anytime he wants. His name is said with a certain amount of awe in the Holy City. Same goes for sultry lass Lindsay Holler who writes some gut-wrenching and heartbreaking ballads, in charge of an affair called Holy City Cold Heart Revival. But after some reflection, I realized that folks like these have something in common.

Everything is for the music.

Today, the musicians who make it are the ones who leave it all behind for their craft. Jobs are for buying instruments, equipment, and sustenance. School is for furthering your abilities. Relationships are muses and come second to the music. At least, that's what I'm seeing. I'm finally realizing that music was never it for me. It was a hobby, a way to vent, a form of therapy. I didn't make it because I wasn't willing to go all in. At least, not yet.

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