For some reason, I find myself in the studio late at night. For reasons passing understanding, I have always been most creative in the middle of the night. If you look at my other blog, constuctingalife.com, you will see most of my posts were in the wee hours.
Tonight, I tried something different. Instead of recording individual tracks, I just let the machine run while I recorded several pieces. My goal was to record for a half hour, and just pause between pieces. I met my goal.
There are a couple reasons why I wanted to try this. This first is that stopping my recording software, resetting it and creating a new track takes time. Not a lot I grant you, but enough to get me out of the groove of recording. Stopping changes my state of mind. I have to repeated get into and out of a recording state of mind. As a result my tracks vary in quality, and I end up throwing a lot away or restarting them after a few bars. I think staying in record mode might allow me to stay focused. Tonight was my first experiment, and to a point it was successful. Since this is new, it will take time to see for sure.
The other reason I wanted to do this was to see if I could sustain my improvisation long enough to do a live broadcast. I would like to able to use Facebook or some other platform to broadcast a 30 or 60 minute show to promote this project and my music in general. Perhaps I could perform a full set at one of the Jazz clubs in town as well.
Improvisation by its nature is an intense experience. While I have often practiced for an hour or even two, that isn’t the same as performance. Practicing includes a lot of finger exercises and frequent breaks. Performance requires a different level of concentration. It is sustained creation, as opposed to creating for just a few minutes at a time.
The ultimate goal is for me to put out of my mind the fact that I am recording. In other words, I need to silence the voice in my head that says, “DON’T SCREW UP! YOU’RE RECORDING!” Everyone who has been in a recording situation has encountered this problem to some extent. It is well documented in recording literature. It is harder for me right now because this is the first time I am considering doing something serious with what I am recording. I have always been very taken with the ephemeral quality of music. It only exists while it is being played. Once it is recorded a level of permanence is applied and it changes the nature of the music. The key is to still feel the ephemeral nature of the music while still recording.
I know from my previous experience, that I can reach the state of mind I need to get to. I did it last Sunday when I was on stage at Heidi’s. I have things I want to try next time, to see if they help before I hit the record button. This may also help with other ideas down the line.
Enough conjecture for one night. Experiments and practice will show me the right way. I will let you know what I learn.