As some of you may know, I've been having difficulties playing the guitar lately, it seems as if I have almost lost my passion and desire to play. I was unhappy, and did not have it in me to keep going.
In reality, I think I was not able to achieve two things: be an artist, or, be on a path to be one, and how to enjoy it.
As a result I took a break, since then I have been working hard at some computer graphics and administrative work. I have to say, this has been the best decision I made to benefit my guitar playing.
Read about how I made the video here
and watch the making of here
Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust - With a buzz in our ears we play endlessly.
I decided to tattoo this phrase on my left arm on February 1 2014 (first shot of the video). The idea was to remind my self never to give up playing, regardless of what that "playing" might be. My latest video is a celebration of that spirit, and boy oh boy, was I in for a ride !!
Through this video, I believe I threaded ever closer to being an artist. I now have found the answers to many of my personal questions, and I will share some with you:
I have always been a strong opposition to the notion that talent is born, and that we have creativity in us!! 5 years of practicing guitar in a classical music degree did well to suck that notion out. For me, Art was discipline, science, and empowerment of the soul through the senses (plus much more but I want to emphasize these points). somewhere in there I lost my light, that's what I thought anyways. I think the reason for my unhappiness was the fact that I knew deep down inside, it wasn't my lack talent that was hindering me, it was my self!
I was afraid to use the tools I learned. I wasn't afraid of criticism, or failing anyone. I think I was afraid of failing the medium. You see, I have huge respect for music, classical music, composers, and the discipline that I chose as a career. This respect was handcuffing me to the point of almost giving up.
Through my break, and through this video, I have learned some key principles that I always knew, but never fully understood them the same way Erich Fromm would approve of.
Through the video, I was able to:
1 - Experiment. I had an idea, but I had no way to go about achieving it. I used all the techniques I knew. When I was stuck, it was Me - My self - and I who did the research to figure out how to solve the problem. This sense of independence is key for me, and it was missing from my classical guitar playing. I always had a foundation of opinions to fall upon whenever I needed help, hence I felt I did not own my decision making.
2 - Create something entirely mine. Yes the technique has been used before, and nothing I did is extraordinary, other than the fact I edited 8700 frames (3 times). This creation was also missing from my classical guitar playing. I was so stuck on playing those damn fingerings, transitions, making sure I was not stressed, sitting properly, follow the markings and dynamics. I almost lost memory of what it means to create sound, I was not playing music!!! I was playing instructions !
The video helped me remember what it means to "create".
3 - Making educated guesses, and then having the confidence to stand by them. I have to give credit here to my partner Claire, her research is helping me figure out different methods of doing things.
When we perform classical guitar, especially in concert settings and competitions. We have to play what the rules dictate, and we have to be perfect at it too !! This high pressure masked the true purpose for me the past few years. I never really learned to play for my self, for the audience, and for the music. I always performed for an unknown entity that was supervising me the whole time. I don't know what to call this entity, I'd hate to use the word pressure here because I don't feel that it was pressure. Maybe it was the culmination of pressure, high standards, high stakes, and my lack of trust of the experience of playing! whatever the reasons are, I was always held back.
However, the past few months, being away from the guitar and making bold decisions regarding my life. I now have the confidence to simply say: I don't care. I do things my way, it is up to me to retain my respect for the music, still do my research, perform pieces within their respective styles (I am not going to be bending no Bach!!). The idea is to perform what Mustafa wants. That requires courage and confidence that I feel I now have just enough to embark on my new journey.
4 - Art is not a result, it is mainly the process (actually art is much more, but for the sake of the blog let it go!): While I always knew that, especially after my junior recital. I never really grasped the concept until now I think. When you watch the video, read my "how it was made" blog and watch the respective video. I made few important steps:
A. I had a goal and never backed down from it. Not taking the easy way out forces you to tackle the process head on, there is no escape. One way to achieve this is to have a strong desire for the target, patience to do the work, and well, a bit of talent ;).
For example, the ending chords are mine,they don't exist in the original song. When I made the arrangement, I started to jam along side it with Guitar pro, and before you know it I was excited and started strumming the chorus into a different rhythm, it sounded great when I notated it.
However, once I put them into the mix, they sounded horrible. The old me would have just given up, and found an excuse to convince my self I am doing the right thing. However, this time around, I decided I am going to make it work, I have a problem, and it has a solution, and I need to exhaust all possible solutions available to me before making the "I quit" call, which I might add is a legit call.
This new me wouldn't have developed if I was stuck in the same loop I was in before. This video helped me set my standards so high that I was able to learn this precious skill.
B. The devil is in the details ! read my second blog for some interesting facts !
C. Do your best, and move on.
Moving on is VERY important, I could have compressed my track better, or recorded for 2 euros at a professional local studio. I know I could have retaken the shots and make my life a bit easier. The idea though is to create and move on. The purpose was to create a "home made" video. I know my self, I know that if I get hung up on the details of how to create I will never actually do it. So, I listened to my self, recorded, and moved on. With classical guitar, I feel sometimes we end up hung up too long on the "I could have" and not creating.
4 - Use the resources available to create something new, always.
if you listen carefully you'll hear sounds of birds taken out of my garden, plus pillow scratches to imitate a DJ scratch. I also used my shirts to create that color effect. My last video of Tchaikovsky Arabian Dance used new techniques for zooming in and shooting. I wanted something else...so I used my resources to create something new.
I am sure I learned other stuff as well..but I am too tired to write about them! I have also crossed my word limit for writing a blog, apparently if my blog is long, no one reads it !
I do want to thank Sigur Ros, I tattooed your words and music to help me through difficult times. I now give back.
""Update"" I want to declare here that I talk about generic terms such as art. I by no means claim I understand it fully, I only talk about the thing I felt before, and how they changed.
These are short comments I post as I navigate through waters.