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Music-making as comfort?

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Music-making as comfort?

Postby Kenneth Burns » Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:44 pm

An "X Factor" contestant said his music has gotten him through difficult times. Musicians, can you relate? I'm not sure I can. For me, music-making has been a joy, a challenge, a gift, a revenue generator, an occasion to be with friends. But I can't remember a time when my music got me through difficulties. It's true that I have mined difficult experiences for songwriting material, so maybe there's something to this.
Last edited by Kenneth Burns on Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Music-making as comfort?

Postby bdog » Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:28 am

Washing the dishes is a source of comfort if you do it mindfully.

I don't see why making music would be any different.
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Re: Music-making as comfort?

Postby Kenneth Burns » Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:58 am

Many activities that require discipline and focus can be a comfort. Stamp collecting, say. But there's a spiritual power that gets attributed specifically to music, which probably is why religious worship so often involves music. You never hear much about liturgical stamp collecting.
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Re: Music-making as comfort?

Postby bdog » Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:02 am

Kenneth Burns wrote:You never hear much about liturgical stamp collecting.

You and I obviously travel in different circles.
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Re: Music-making as comfort?

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:44 am

bdog wrote:Washing the dishes is a source of comfort if you do it mindfully.

I don't see why making music would be any different.


I find this a silly comparison. Anyone who makes art(music, painting, poetry, etc...) will definitely say there is a difference. I'm not saying there is anything wrong if you don't do these things, but don't make a comparison for something you know nothing about.
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Re: Music-making as comfort?

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:07 am

Why do you suppose that bdog knows nothing about making music?

I actually take pleasure in washing the dishes (no dishwasher at my house). I have a little system and I try to do it as efficiently as possible.
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Re: Music-making as comfort?

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:17 am

ArturoBandini wrote:Why do you suppose that bdog knows nothing about making music?


I made the assumption with how he stated it. As someone who washes dishes and makes artwork, I find little similarity with my mental stimulation. Just my own observation, others who do both can share their experiences.

ArturoBandini wrote:I actually take pleasure in washing the dishes


Wanna come over to my house :D
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Re: Music-making as comfort?

Postby Kenneth Burns » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:24 am

I took bdog's post to be more about mindfulness than washing the dishes per se. I kind of understand music-making in terms of mindfulness, in that when I really concentrate on practicing, I'm totally in the moment. But the thing is that I'm one of those musicians who'd rather play gigs for money than practice.
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Re: Music-making as comfort?

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:26 am

Stebben84 wrote:
ArturoBandini wrote:I actually take pleasure in washing the dishes


Wanna come over to my house :D
I'll do it for profit. $50/hr + travel expenses. If I didn't enjoy it I would charge $100/hr, so you're actually saving 50%.
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Re: Music-making as comfort?

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:31 am

ArturoBandini wrote:If I didn't enjoy it I would charge $100/hr, so you're actually saving 50%.


Or you would charge a $100 if my house just flooded and I had other things to do, but reaaaaaally needed to get it done. :lol:
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Re: Music-making as comfort?

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:20 pm

Stebben84 wrote:
ArturoBandini wrote:If I didn't enjoy it I would charge $100/hr, so you're actually saving 50%.


Or you would charge a $100 if my house just flooded and I had other things to do, but reaaaaaally needed to get it done. :lol:
It depends on what other options I have available. If your neighbor is willingly offering me $99 for the same job, then I might propose a $100 price. If no one is offering me any other work, then you should name your price.
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Re: Music-making as comfort?

Postby Marvell » Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:27 pm

Speaking personally, I play music primarily as therapy.

When I go down and do Gomeroke, it's mostly just a fun thing. I've occaisionally tried to use it to exorcise some personal demon, but when I do Dave Adler gets annoyed - and the last thing I want to do in the world is annoy Dave Adler.

Whereas when I play my own stuff - either covers or original material - it's largely a meditative / cathartic enterprise. This is especially true when it comes to songwriting, which is one reason why someone listening to one of my Mickey's open mike sets might reasonably conclude that I'm one depressed mother.

If anything, the opposite is true - when I write songs it's usually because I'm grappling with something difficult in my personal life, and transmuting that conflict into song is what allows me to get some distance from it, and to move on.

I think that's one of the reasons why I like Richard Thompson so much - if you've seen him in concert, he seems like a really happy guy who just happens to be singing about tragic death and evil.

The only reason I was able to endure the greatest heartache I've ever experienced was by writing a song about it.

Lou Reed wrote a song about a life saved by rock and roll. I'll testify to that - mine was.
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Re: Music-making as comfort?

Postby other i » Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:01 am

The largest benefit to me comes from wood-shedding. (I actually think I play in a band just so I can be pushed to work on ny own parts at the end of my tiring work day.) After I spend some time getting a riff or passage or whole tune under my fingers, my brain feels different for a while. It seems to be some kind of neurological wiring stimulation thing. Even though I started the work exhausted from my day job, I am alert and feel like I am thinking more clearly. I also sleep better when I do this (though occasionally a newly worked riff will wake me up demanding that I think it through a few times.)
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Re: Music-making as comfort?

Postby snoqueen » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:45 am

This is an interesting discussion. I'm no musician but I work in a three-dimensional art medium and it's the most enjoyable time in my day. Defining what you like and don't like, getting the material to do what you want and finding out what it wants, refining something over and over without knowing exactly where it'll end up... it's the most engaging activity I can imagine. Coming up with a piece I like, or even one other people like, is nice but not really the point. It's the ongoing questioning and discovery, if that makes any sense.

It's not about working out personal problems because I'm too old for that stuff, and because I've always felt like doing art -- a lifelong activity for me -- is a more of a peaceful distraction and refuge from the overly-personal and self-referential.

This may or may not be similar to music, in that music seems to imply an audience. Or maybe it doesn't?

I guess I'm kind of agreeing with what other i just wrote.
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Re: Music-making as comfort?

Postby Kenneth Burns » Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:18 pm

The question of audience is interesting. What made me start thinking about this is something a contestant on "The X Factor" said about music getting him through tough times. I got the sense that he was indeed talking about making music in private. And yet he is competing to be a professional musician on one of the biggest stages there is these days.

Performing music in public actually has been helpful for me emotionally. Getting positive responses from audiences makes me feel affirmed and appreciated in the most direct way I can imagine. And I won't lie, it's a confidence booster when audience members flirt.
Last edited by Kenneth Burns on Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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