The title is based on what one of my good friends said with a raised voice and a Northern accent that would make anybody’s day. No matter about the implied expletive (open to interpretation) what he said is rather true.
Alas, I’m no longer a student. With a 4-year degree finished and a sudden realisation that you’re entirely dependent on yourself (exciting!!) and with no masters to prepare for (no way, not now….if at all…!?) and that that title makes a whole lot of sense.
It’s funny because in the 3rd and final year you begin to think you’re “outside” of the bubble, the bubble of a close and intense environment. Never did I think or imagine the real sensation of being outside of the bubble. It felt like space, I mentally and physically crashed and now from a different and new view point it’s clear that no matter how clued up on human relations you are….you won’t see eye-to-eye with everybody and you see that some are just consumed in their world and their bubble…..and for what? Why? Just be nice!
As an acquaintance once said;
There’s more to life than just being stuck in a box practicing all day.
W • O • R • D
So the past 5 days has been a roller coaster and a plan-daily fest. Now with no ties, it’s time get to action. It won’t be an over night job but who knows what lies ahead.
For those who have been supporting me up to now…THANK YOU! It will have been a year this September since my first post and it’s been great to see you guys follow the journey with me.
Sorry! It’s been a little while since I last blogged. There are lots of things going on at the moment: just think organising, prepping, rehearsals for my performance 2 weeks tomorrow, beginning the adventures of one of my business ideas, learning a show in a day, forward planning….mind=blown.
So what’s it all about today? Well I had a very short and intense learning experience. I received ‘THE call’. Yes that one that is a dream and has everything going for it.
I’m talking about
that sweet gig :Ο
Alas, it was not meant to be. The rush of a drop out and necessity of having a player ready was all too much in the end. If I wasn’t going to Brazil, perhaps this may be a different story, perhaps I just wasn’t ready and maybe it’s simply meant to be?!
The moment you find out that you didn’t get the gig is a heart crushing moment. It’s tough and I’m sure you guys have all experienced it too. Why not comment below your experiences? 🙂 From this experience it is of course natural to have a low dip but it’s how you come out on the other side.
The next day it was a necessity to power on through and carry on. Carry on working on my projects, carry on working on the goals you set everyday. Never giving up on your goal. To send out a message. Your message. What’s your message guys? As I said sometimes it’s meant to be and this open statement gives you momentum; it’s as if along the way on a few opportunities (life learning lessons) are thrown at you. Letting you have those thoughts, provoking a spark of motivation. Check out Quarta 330 – Sunset Dub – I don’t know what it is, but the striking simplicity yet complexity sparks that motivation!
“He who would take your cloak, let him take your other cloak also” – Matthew 5:40
Adapted and quoted from Kahlil Gibran – The collected works
Let the power of meaning drive your momentum forwards to what you’re doing in the moment to achieve what you want to achieve, to do what you want to achieve. Failing and learning and failing again to get better. So let somebody tell you there criticism and ask why they think this = improve on it = Be the better version each and everyday.
Stop what you’re doing and listen here. It’s time to stop putting off what you want to do. It’s time to stop doing the ‘it pays the bills’ job. It’s time to get in action. It’s your life.
Nobody else is going to do it for you.
In my most recent endeavours on the entrepreneurial road, I’ve begun to notice how people behave. Most people tend to shrug their shoulders as if to say ‘well, it’s too late now’, even it’s a company that they own themselves!
As a musician, I (and we alike) are self-employed and funny to say, we have to be passionate about ourselves, our business. Me. Me and my mind, my body is my business. The other plans (currently in the stage of writing my business plan) are simply an external part of it all.
Our job is a doing job.
I see too many musicians thinking theoretically about their practice regime and they don’t get nearly as far as those who just get down and dirty. Theory comes when your level of understanding and knowledge needs to meet the demands of your progression. Simple.
Most people I know that are successful in their own right, also know who they are pretty well. I mean they’re confident in their skin and have a clear understanding of who they are in their life. You can see this type of person a mile off, they have a strong presence and are clear in what they want. The strongest characteristic is there ability in making clear, precise decisions on a daily routine.
So what’s the problem? Well, I can only speak for myself and for me individually it was too many thoughts. But, I’ve noticed that people delve into too many thoughts also. Questioning this and that ultimately results in a trail of mess.
Solution No.1 - Write it all down.
Don’t just write it out how it is in your head. Categorise! Our brains consistently organises and categorises information everyday for us, give your mind a break and do put your questions, doubts and so on into clear perspective.
Solution No. 2 - Just Do It.
When you’ve completed solution No. 1. You should be able to take action now you can see your thoughts clearly. No it’s time to be clear about what you really want. On a separate piece of paper, prioritise in order from highest to lowest and organise them into a daily, weekly and monthly routine. Now, #JustDoIt
Solution No. 3 - What's the excuse.
Get out of the habit of saying ‘I’ll wait until I’ve got more time’, ‘I’ll wait until after I’ve finished this’ and anything else that means postponing what you want. The more you get into habitual patterns that results in action, the better. Ask yourself this question; Well, why not now? This very same question was asked to me, I said ‘I’ll start planning after my degree’, the response was the exact question. Stop the excuses.
Or if your situation is a little more tricky i.e. your boss stopping you getting to your goal, find a solution around it. I recommend The 4-Hour Work Week. It’s not about being a millionaire but finding solutions to allow you more freedom.
Nowadays, it’s all a rush. A constant stream of information at the end of our fingertips. Hence, why I missed last weeks’ weekly Sunday Blog.
As a self-employed musician, entrepreneur, soon to be unleashed into the world. It seems we are at high-speed. The trick? Be the person at a slow pace.
The heavy snow that’s hit us, especially in Cardiff has in some ways been a God send. It’s forced me to take a slower pace. The slower pace, means reanalysing where you are right now. In the high-speed world, we get so caught up with what we do we forget about what the purpose in what we’re doing.
So what to do? Reanalysing is planning the time ahead of you, being able to plan your income, expenses and mini-holidays is essential. Over the past two days, I’ve been focusing on reading and planning about starting a business (not just promoting me) contacting those who can help and also widening the travelling further away than before. Now most of us (if you’re in the UK) have got the time off, look at where you are now. Is it what you want? Are you where you want to be? What would the worst case scenario be, if you changed to where you want to be? In most cases, the answer is either no or the risk is minimal and reversible. So start planning and eliminate all that is getting in your way, whether it’s your actual job or emails that are distracting.
It’s time to stop flying around and re-focus.
Over the next year or so, I will (hope) be making vast improvements and developments in my career. Ask yourself those important questions, do your research and get your focus game on.
Only when a juggler misses catching his ball does he appeal to me.
In the most recent adventures in my currently developing career (it’ll take off once I have I am graduated and not committed to college, I have lots of ideas and projects besides travelling to study) it was said to me that I needed to do more than just play the music, that I needed to sell myself. That unique aspect about somebody that distinguishes one from the other.
As a musician, it’s vital to be so comfortable with what you’re playing.
Our (my) method
The answer is simple. Focus only on the music. By doing this, I and you can put all of your energy entirely on one area, so that we can optimise it to achieve the highest potential…..sell it.….this is a life’s work. When I practice, it’s about working directly on the problems in your playing whether creating a diverse technical, theoretical, musical facility, and discovering the another problem through that. I’m allowing myself time to discover myself through music, working on my concepts
It’s like a big bubble that separates into smaller bubbles.
In relation to the above it’s vital to leave other world problem to the person whose passion resides in that field.
Maximise your potential, not somebody else’s.
Today listen to this short documentary. Here Bill Evans opens his mind and reveals some important views on his philosophies – listen out for when he moved to New York to make a big break….it’s very interesting.
One final point that can help your learn about how to perform is to see them perform. I watched Evelyn Glennie perform yesterday, whom is a renowned percussionist to analyse how she sells herself. Her performance style was/is very captivating even when playing nothing, she is always moving in some way flowing from one phrase to the other. I highly recommend watching this Ted Talk, you can see her explaining about her point of view on music especially when being partially deaf.
It’s that time of year again. Naturally everybody will be on high alert with stress levels running at an all time high. Taking a moment to take a step back and see this is quite daunting, how we let ourselves get into a state of mind. On the contrary, it’s rather stress relieving to be able to step back.
In the final 16 weeks I’ll spend, as well as planning to study around the world, I want to take some time out on a meditation course. Having used Headspace for 2 or 3 years now, and incorporating 30-60 mins everyday it’s really time to take the step up.
As a final year student, it’s vital to have a plan even if it’s not a ‘set-in-stone’ plan. You have a base from which you can work from. I began this style of organisation at the beginning of last summer, that allowed me to have all four of my exams in the New Year to be prepped to their maximum.
Two exams done, another one soon to be completed and I’ve felt only the stress required to help in my performance.
Some time off too? I think I can fit that in…
Essentially not only does this style apply to students, it applies to everybody. If you can plan all deadlines in the space of 4 hours a week in less than a month for the next 3-6 months, you’re not only saving time but you also allow free time!
In a conservatoire of music you see the same people in and out. Due to the audition process, there is only a selected number each year so everybody is a familiar face. Naturally, in an intense, high level working environment, where learning pieces in a week, on the spot with forever changing irregular hours with the same people day in day out is normality.
In comparison, university is far from different. Generically speaking, not only are the hours less and consistent – you also are surrounded by over 10,000 students in a single block on flats. We only have an approximated 1000 in the whole of RWCMD!! The events are also very different, our SU is probably about the length of 30-36ft long and holds a regular quiz, live music and a few social clubs. On the upside, we have a plethora of gigs, drama productions we can choose from that are either free or discounted. To be honest, the more tame social scene is really nice.
However, you can’t beat a huge two level SU where the events are party crazy and so much fun! On top of that you have a huge range of socials to choose from and the bar is of course cheaper with so many students. As far as I know and have experienced, that’s all there is to say about that really!
Well us musicians will either and most likely will freelance and teach. Or for those who don’t have that intention, other career options could be and Events Manager, Radio Producer, Music Therapy, Technician, composing for Film/TV etc etc etc. Some will deter from music in search for a more stable lifestyle i.e. regular income, working hours.
Post university? All I know is that most will look for a job, most will get a job (more likely if you’re on a Graduate Scheme) One this is for certain and something all students have in common….
We simply have no clue! 😀
Annnnd on that bombshell I’m outta here!
Thanks for reading guys and don’t forget to share 🙂
I’ve been away from Cuba for 2 weeks now and all I want to do is go back. So to fuel that, here is what I did on my trip! I can’t give details of patterns etc. as it was all very new to me too, therefore, some sit-down and transcribe time is needed.
Being in my final year with exams literally around the corner, means that for now, I’ll have to postpone until I’ve got some chill time.
So, my first stop was in Centro Habana. Throughout the whole trip, we were learning about Afro-Cuban Folkoric Music i.e. traditional rumba such as Guiro, Bata rumba, columbia, guaguancó etc.
Here we learnt songs for a cajon ceremony, in order to learn these lyrics, you need to get them from somebody who understands the language. Sounds silly, but the words aren’t pure Spanish – due to the slave trade and the migration of African slaves, songs/language were the beginnings of influencing one another and thus people took parts of other languages that meant something in relation to the religion.
We also learned Guiro. Another fascinating rumba, the pure essence of drive and passion is immense. The main drivers (in my opinion) other than the Clavé, I get a real buzz from the Shekere and the hoe blade. The sharpness of these instruments locks everybody in, allowing others on, for example the conga drums, especially the Tumba (main solo instrument).
From here we travelled to Matanzas – a completely different vibe from Havana. Definitely less crazy (a little bit of craziness) and with that a notable difference in sound. The music of Havana is fast paced – Matanzas is more relaxed allowing space to here the melodies between the drums. We did Rumba Columbia <– can you hear the music?!
Then Cienfuegos – where we based as we went to Trinidad and Palmira. Trinidad is a B-E-A-UTIFUL place. As the group would say ‘Tranquillo!’ 😀 Trindad is pure Cuban music, with no outside influences. This is because they wanted to keep the music theirs, a part of the heritage and music they’ve developed. The drums used, were very similar to that of congas (see photo below) and the music sounds very different indeed! Likewise, Palmira also used different drums and there was no holding back. The main drum used as a message, could be heard up to 1 mile away and we could definitely hear that in a relatively small room!!
Finally, Havana. Last stop of classes, learning about Rumba Fransisco (again completely new) and all I have to say is it was a great way to end. All of the above can all be researched (be careful of the resources, there is lots of it and therefore it can get confusing)
The best way to learn, it to go to the country, go on a course in the country or where you’re based. Feel free to contact me if you’d want to know where you can get inside the world of Cuba!
Learning all of these new forms of rumba was an amazing experience. Now with enough contacts, I will be going back again and again and again. But first, it’s time to explore the next stop in the 1-2 year working ‘year out’ i.e. building a name for myself and travelling to Brazil, Africa (Senegal/Dakar) and India.
Next week, I’ll talk about the differences between a Conservatoire and University and what it’s like to be in the final year/prospect of leaving as a self-employed musician! Enjoy the photos! Hope you have enjoyed and gained some insight into my world.
Exam prep for next week = 1/2 way through the year!!!