Father Stephen Freeman somehow expresses my deepest feelings once again in his newest post: The Song of God. Such a good post. Improvising on the theme Fr. Steven set:
The polyphony of life and the world is seemly infinite without even taking into account an immanent, “everywhere present” and loving God. If you’ve ever studied or performed an eight part motet, it would be hard to imagine gathering together anymore elements into a cohesive whole, but our Father in heaven is able to cause all things to work together for the good of those that love Him?!?! A heart full of fear won’t perceive this beauty, but will only see chance and evil. Studying and enjoying music and the other arts offer a glimpse beyond our negative experience, a chance to peer behind the veil. A grateful heart always finds a a reason for joy. The beauty of Bach or John Coltrane’s music refuses to let you accept the world as you see it at first glance. The joy it gives is a mystery and demands further investigation. All good things are a gift from God, and if we seek with all our heart, we’ll find the Source of this beautiful mystery.
In the previous post I outlined a need in the community for an outlet for musicians whose interests and aesthetic leave them in the musical in-between. In a creative-minded city like Austin there is bound to be other inactive but talented musicians, people who play and write at home, people with big ideas but no resources. If all of us get together and work together, we can build an environment that is fertile for musical growth. Together we, the marginalized musicians of Austin, can create and perform new music and offer it to audiences in our community who are also marginalized. We can turn our artistic isolation and inactivity into a positive binding force in our city.
How do we do this? We create a something like a ramshackle community orchestra using whatever instruments we can play- or learn. Through improvisation and collaboration we compose new music. We then bring these new pieces to audiences that are often neglected (such as students, the elderly, the disabled, the homeless, etc.). We will also perform and improvise in public spaces (while minding the law), circumscribing the established way of building an audience in Austin. We will pursue music for the love of music, not demanding results or recognition.
You may think, “Well, this all sounds fine and dandy, but who has the time and resources to accomplish something like this?” My answer is this: we give our time to the things we find most important, and if we don’t, we should. Together we can accomplish something positive. It may not look exactly like what I’m describing but we’ll be doing something, and that’s always better than doing nothing. Music brings people together by its very nature, and thus can be used as a force for peace and unity. Give it some thought. Let’s put our heads together to work out the details and see what WE can do.
I have a feeling that I am not the only musician in Austin that can not find an appropriate outlet for my varied musical interests. I feel I can safely assume I’m not the only one un impressed and burnt out with the music scene status quo. I am not particularly unique in that I listen to and enjoy playing classical, jazz, folk, world, noise, post-rock, etc; or in that I desire to compose, arrange and perform music with these elements. I struggle because I have a serious drive to make music in a collaborative environment that takes into account all of my interests and influences, but I have not found a community of musicians and artists to do this with. I want to be able to write music for instruments I don’t play and perform it with other ‘real people.’ – no more being alone in front of the computer! Can my ideas be performed live? What would happen if the performer had freedom to improvise? How would my folk song sound with a string quartet and electronic drums? How would my electronic music sound performed live? (Just a couple of examples, but you’re getting the point). If you’re reading this and you share my interests and my perhaps my frustrations, then I have a proposition: LET’S GET TOGETHER!! As many of us as can fit in a room; with every instrument we can find; whatever level of improvisational and compositional experience; let’s meet and make something!