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Blogs written by Shamans Cave faculty and other invited guests

Shamans Cave Blog

Welcome to the Shamans Cave blogs by faculty members and invited guests. All the blog articles reference topics in shamanism and the maker tradition in particular. You must be a registered user to comment on any of the blog articles.



I enjoy playing music a lot and teaching it too, all ages all levels, all styles, often I see similar problems repackaged differently. In the adult category I have many students starting lessons to enhance their lives, make it better, more creative, maybe play well enough so one day they can take a tune to a party and have every one sing along. All those are valid reasons to start playing an instrument and put some time into it although what people don't realize right of the bat is that they will have to change into that guy playing at parties and change is hard.

I had a student who had been working with me for a few years at the time of this conversation, he was doing well, consistent and had moved through the levels but there was something that bothered him, he said "I can't get those damn transitions smooth, I always stop, or have to slow down, figure out what the next thing is." So I asked him casually how he was doing and he replied, "my wife and I are going to have a baby soon, I am freaking out,this growing up thing is hard, I feel like I am losing my freedom."

In music as in life there are transition points, a section is finishing, another one is starting, you change chord, you change speed, you move to a different texture, a new theme appears, the mood changes. What is hard is not really to play the new section but to make the change. It involves repositioning yourself on the keyboard, move your hand somewhere else, add a little weight to change the sound or lighten up for a far away sound texture. It is complex, many things come together in that moment: the nexus point, and before you get to it is where you have to apply the most energy for the change to happen smoothly. I am choosing my words carefully here… "you have to apply", if you don't the music stops, it can't go on without you.

So look at your lives, find those transition points they are everywhere and in terms of knowledge they carry a ton of it, they are hard places and often you have to try a thousand times before you find a way to smooth things out and get your tune back on track but it is worth it because this process teaches you fluidity. The trick is to see what is needed, do you need to reposition yourself differently, do you have to speed things up, slow them down,would it be easier if you lighten up?or push on it once and for all to get through it? Maybe you don't know where you are going? What is next? So you have no way of moving yourself there yet. Whatever the challenge there is a response to it, one unique to you.

You will recognize those transitions very easily since they are enveloped by your anxiety, they worry you, or maybe you see them for what they are, just plain fear pits. You play your tune and your mind starts feeding you the all too familiar speech "the place you always mess up is coming up" and guess what, you do, we all do. It is fear in action. What you might find out eventually is that it is not the transition that makes you mess up, but your fear of them, take those down and you will see a smoother pavement, then you can jump in it, go somewhere and come back with your own stories...

So why are those transitions so full of fears? Well let's take a second to look at them energetically. If you look closely you will see a dissolving happening, you have to let go of what you were and become something else and somewhere in the middle of that movement you will be nothing, literally, not the old you anymore and not yet the new you on the other side. That moment is what makers are after because when you touch it you are full potential and can move with your intent and will anywhere you want but of course it is terrifying. Well terrifying to your mind but the rest of your energy will relish in the experience. That's the place where makers live, if you want to know them go there yourself.

The best way to familiarize yourself with it is practice, practice change until change is who you are. We are only transiting here on this rock you know.

And for the record, playing the same loop over and over is not freedom, it is not that fun either.



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Tuesday, 28 March 2023

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