And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it

…and that’s what I’ll do next time

Time. It’s all relative, right?

The challenge is what we do with it, how we plan it and how we ultimately spend it. When I wrote the last month’s blog I was in the middle of a major project with my employer and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to spend quality time focusing on music. I knew I could plan for my radio show, New Seeds, since I have a process (for want of a better word) to prepare, broadcast and share it. I even managed to squeeze in writing an album review for The Waveform Transmitter. But anything else was a stretch too far.

I know this isn’t a unique scenario; we all have priorities. We all have choice though. The notion that we’re welded to certain activities is a fallacy. I believe if you’re truly passionate about what you want to achieve or experience then you will make time to explore or execute “it”.

That’s what I kept telling myself whilst I was holed up in a hotel in Rome planning and chasing a myriad of people to get from point A to B without getting lost at C.

The Vatican City – running therapy

 

Committing to spend time on things we love, that keep us sane, especially when you want to spend more time in other areas, is super-important. During this crazy work period, cycling and running had a deeper benefit than normal. Running around the Vatican City at 6:00am, all these thoughts were swirling around with an eager sense to get back home, to normality and the opportunity to refocus and get my priorities back into shape.

Don’t get it twisted. I don’t dislike my job. It comes with the territory and I signed up to it. Sometimes it gets crazy just as you’re about to embark on something new and exciting. Luckily, I know there’s a reason for that but that’s another story, and if you’re familiar with The Alchemist then you’ll know what I mean.

So next month my commitment is I’ll have some specific experiences of getting back into those creative musical moments. In the mean-time I’d love to hear about your experiences of juggling and allocating time to your passions. What sacrifices do you make to focus on them? What are your non-negotiable passions or hobbies?

I play, write about and am starting to make electronic music

That sentence makes me nervous, excited and unsure of what’s to come.

What counts as making music? In theory I make music every-day: the tunes and melodies rolling around my head in loops and sound-bites. Songs from the internal jukebox, tweaked and refined over many years or in the last couple of seconds. Then there’s all the real music stored in my phone, my iPod, my PC, my records, my CDs, my MDs, my tapes…whatever I’m feeling, whatever is to hand with me singing or humming along, my own interpretation. That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t feel like new or original content.

On Monday 19 November 2018 after a morning spent setting up a new PC, the Ableton Live software and the multitude of packs, I re-visited a track I created back in the summer of 2016 at the Ableton Music Production course at Point Blank Music School, London.

 

How does this work again?

Perhaps I’ll talk about that weekend in a later blog. It was fascinating and whilst it was re-assuring just how easy it is to create the layers of a song, it hit home how daunting it is to create something special; something that’d give you goose-bumps, something I’d be proud to stamp my name on and release.

Back to that November Monday, I spent the rest of the afternoon in a self-doubt loop, trying to figure out where to start (again), which section of a track I should focus on and what sound I should start playing with. The thoughts and ideas in my head had vanished. My focus was on the structure and the detail; pointing and clicking with a mouse, my eyes glued to the monitor, like I do at work.

It was at the end of the day, that I realised that the square with lights on, sitting in front me, the Push, was what I should be playing with. This was meant to be fun, not work. I know that will come later with editing and mastering. After watching a few more of the excellent Push tutorial videos, the light-bulb went off – create loops. Just create loops. As many as I can and see where it goes…

…and that’s what I’ll do next time.

Over the course of this monthly blog I’ll write about the challenges and experiences of making music and the steps I took and continue to make to carve out the time to make music. I hope they’ll be of interest and selfishly, it’s good therapy.

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