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Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Time is eternal…What can happen in 7 minutes?

Will you give yourself 7 minutes for a sound bath?

Will you give yourself 7 minutes to offer compassion to all of humanity and this beautiful Earth?

Will you give yourself 7 minutes to receive a blessing and heart opening?

Will you give yourself 7 minutes to align body, mind, spirit, heart?

Will you give yourself 7 minutes to ground and allow your mind to be at peace?

If yes, then treat yourself to 7 minutes of  an exquisite multimedia presentation.

A blessing of photography, video, bells, beautiful chanting by Phap Niem  and voiced by Thich Nhat Hanh ~ Enjoy!

 

The Great Bell Chant (The End of Suffering) from R Smittenaar on Vimeo.

 

The music was composed by Gary Malkin and can all be enjoyed as book/audio book co-authored with Michael Stillwater: Graceful Passages

*This came to me by way of Anthony Lawlor, author of the new book 24 Patterns of Wisdom which I also highly recommend.

copyright (c) December 2011, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved - video embedded with permission.

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Consider:

Scattered Hearts

Gathered Hearts

Cloud Shepherd

Picking up the Pieces

These are all titles of original instrumental guitar compositions by guitarist Patrick Smith. I met Patrick on Twitter. His music is that which comes from the heart and ears of one who is awake, paying attention, adventurous and curious.  The songs are reflective, evocative, sometimes “netherworldly.”

To me, they ask questions rather than make statements.

I’ve been looking for a way to share a song of his with you for months now, but neither my blog service nor my Mystery Message service could handle the file size. Today, a You Tube video of images accompanied by one of Patrick’s pieces was uploaded and so now, I can share his music with you by way of You Tube.

Patrick is a generous spirit who also writes about his practice and composition process, Alexander Technique and musings that weave spirit with music in his blog: A Journeyman’s Way Home.

You can sample more of his music on his website. If you like Patrick’s music, please support him by paying the small fee to download it for your mp3 player.

Here is: Cloud Shepherd. Thank you Patrick!

And thank you T J Matthews for your beautiful images! (T J is a neighbor of Patrick’s with no site to which I might link you)

copyright (c) February 2011, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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This post was inspired by a coaching session. I have asked for and received the permission of the client to blog about it. The name I use herein is fictitious. Although the client is a musician, I invite you to consider your own craft or passion as you read about his discoveries.

One of my favorite coaching experiences is coaching a musician, in person, at their instrument (or with it, as a singer might be.) It’s not always possible to do this though when your clients live all over the US, Canada and Europe. I discovered that there is much we can do to create in-the-body and in-the-moment experiences for our clients even over the phone. Here’s an example of that.

Recently, while coaching a long standing client, whom I’ll call Tom, we got into a perennial discussion around readiness, or lack thereof, for an upcoming recital. As a university professor, Tom’s schedule is full and practice all too often takes a back seat to administrative duties.

His goal in the conversation was discover how he might “bring peace to chaos.”

We explored preparedness. Tom feels he needs to be extra prepared for concerts. What rattles him about performance deadlines and not feeling well enough prepared is that he experiences some measure of performance anxiety which impedes his ability to read the score. So, even if the score is there for memory slips, he can’t rely upon being able to see it.

[ I am all too familiar with this experience. Why we are expected not to have to see when we are in fight or flight mode is beyond me and I know it’s caused by the blood being pumped toward the torso that causes this effect.]

While describing his experience, Tom came up with this metaphor:

“I feel like I’m spinning in a blender, trying to focus but in a soup of chaos.”

I asked him, “Do you have a piano there?” He said “yes.” So I asked him to put down the phone and go over and play part of the piece for about 1 minute and to do so as if he were spinning in a blender. I wanted to bring the experience home to him in the current moment. I could hear him playing.

When he came back to the phone, we discussed what happened for him and what he noticed as he played “in a blender.” It was helpful to him to recreate the experience while not actually in rehearsal or on stage. In this way, he could bring more awareness to the process.

At one point, I asked “what do you need to create peace in the midst of the chaos of a spinning blender?”

He responded, “I need a minute to center myself.”

This was the off switch to his blender: “I need a minute.” It would become his private internal mantra.

As we explored how this would show up, he said that it meant he would deliberately allow himself the time to create the mental space he needs. He would allow himself to move a little more slowly before diving into playing. He would also allow himself more practice time in his schedule for any performance.

Tom needs to stand up for himself. He decided that if it’s about keeping himself peaceful inside, then his fears around disappointing others, making them wait, failing or playing miserably needed to take a backseat to creating peace within.

This peace within, in turn, creates peace in motion.

Tom said that standing up for himself also means not letting other people define him.

piano keyboard (c) March 2010 Kathy J Loh

So back to the keyboard he went. This time, I suggested he take his time, expand into the peace he wants to create (which I just now notice is a kind of double entendre for the piece he wants to create), and then play. He set down the phone and, after a pregnant pause, I heard him begin to play.

What he discovered in that second exercise was, in his own words “I need to take up space.”

We then compared actual performance with practice.

In practice, especially the early stages, we are listening with a critical ear, with curiosity, there is a sense of constant refinement and we are working individual measures and phrases at a time. We are getting the lay of the land and familiarizing the muscles with the routine; introducing them to nuances of expression. We move from shorter to longer arcs. I like to say, we are courting music at this point.

In performance, we are music’s only way to be heard. We are music’s instrument. Imagine you are music. You whisper into the ear of a composer who translates the whisperings into notes on paper. You then come fully alive through a skilled and talented musician like Tom. What do you care about?

I’m not so sure music cares about a bobble or dropped note when the arc is so much longer than that. In the same way that we can read this sentence:

Mry hd a lttl lmb

we hear the full message of music despite the occasional error. In fact, most audience members don’t miss a thing and only those with the most trained ear notice.

Let’s face it, we can assume a lot of forgiveness here. All too often, we assume none.

What music wants is to come alive.

It’s about the pure essence of the art and delivering the message sincerely, rather than being keenly focused on perfection of technique and score. And I say this as a composer who cares about every note I write. There’s a message in the music, that only music can express and it’s about that message, not perfection of each note.

I asked my client; “If you took out your ego’s ambition (which is also driving the fear of failure and concern for what others think) to be in the top tier of all pianists in the world, what would be the next tier?”

He replied: “All I have to do is be a seeker and co-create with music.”

Can you be a seeker and co-create with music and still reach the top tier?

If we are co-creating with music when performing, we are taking up space in a very special way. It’s not about our ego taking up the space. It’s about offering ourselves to the music, to the experience it will create for our listeners, in a way that requires that we command the space. In other words, we create a whole new wondrous space of music, sound, vibration, resonance, emotion, energy. We can’t create that space as magnificently when we are rigidly controlled and cautious.  It takes full on letting go, being a lover to music. It means not holding back, because music will meet you wherever you are from tiny and constricted to the full expression of Beauty.

Please note, I am not making a case for sloppy musicianship. I am assuming that the co-creator in this scenario is someone who has dedicated many disciplined hours to their technical chops.

Co-creating with music means stepping up to ownership of the true skills that all those years of dedicated practice have delivered to us.

You ARE a musician. Stop waiting to become one or receive some seal of approval. From this point on, it’s all play.  Proving, deserving, or earning are not needed. We don’t know what we can truly do until we stretch into it. The stretching will create learning and broaden our musical horizon. It will deepen our relationship with music, our instrument and ourselves.

Tom and I concluded the session by talking about what it means to claim ownership and to take up space as a performing musician, including the structures and accountability for that.

Tom offered that, as a “seeker and co-creator with music,” he thinks of practice time as sacred. It is not an after-thought or luxury on his schedule. He agreed to create that sacred practice space in his schedule and to hold boundaries with others around the use of his time.

From this perspective, saying “no” to others is honoring the sacred “yes” to music.

He also decided that, in rehearsal, he would arrive early and, as uncomfortable as it might be, he would take the time to make others wait while he centered himself before playing.  He also mentioned that ownership brings him the confidence he’s lusted after.

Ownership, being a co-creator with music, a seeker, a lover, creating sacred space for his passion, risking, stretching, taking up space; these are Tom’s off-switch to the chaos blender. He is now at choice. The switch is in his hands.

And now you, dear reader:

What passion awaits your loving, co-creation?

What will have you decide you have arrived and just dance with it, recognizing that there is always more to refine, explore and learn?

When is the more powerful yes the one that you say to yourself and your art (or even your life) than the yes that you say to the opinion of others?

I’m right there with you and taking a lot of my own medicine.

Copyright (c) March 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Looking to create a sense of peace and balance in the midst of chaos? You’ve come to the right place. I invite you to check out my website and set up a complimentary consultation with me to see if coaching is appropriate for your situation.

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Dear beautiful wonderful readers:

Here’s a little something that I hope casts golden sunshine your way!

We are all drops in the same ocean; uniquely exquisitely gifted drops sparkling in the sunlight, dancing in the moonlight, and we are all beautiful.

May this song, its sentiment, its dancing pulse and celebration wash over you and free you from any dark little hyper critical thoughts to which you may have been giving way too much air time.

Time for a bit of the truth!

I met the songwriter, Mark Shepard, on Twitter. That’s how I discovered this song, which I am now declaring one of my Best 2009 song finds. My heart is voting.

It’s a simple song, yes. And isn’t it all really that simple while deeply complex? Complicating things with drama just might be over-rated.

Thank you Mark!

(If you haven’t seen it yet, you might like to read my earlier post You are so Beautiful)

Copyright © Dec 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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Today’s Best 2009 prompt is: Album of the year

Oh gosh, never ask a musician to make such a choice. How much time do you have? Which genre? For the lyrics, the music, the voices?

I decided to share two of my favorites with you today.

The first one is a re-discovery. I still play CDs in my car. Whenever I hit the road for more than local errands, I grab a stack of CDs from my collection and on this last trip, I listened to James Taylor’s Hourglass. I’d forgotten how much I love that CD. Every song on it is exquisite, provocative and  the entire CD is true to Taylor’s mix of loving kindness, consciousness, musicianship and mischievous humor.

The lyrics of the song “Gaia” move me as much today as they did in 1997. I especially love when he sings:

As if you were your own creation

As if you were the chosen nation

And the world around you just a rude and

Dangerous invasion

As per Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary , Gaia is the hypothesis that the living and nonliving components of earth function as a single system.

Lyrics

The sky was light and the land all dark
The sun rose up over central park
I was walking home from work
Gaia

The petal sky and the rosy dawn
The world turning on the burning sun
Sacred wet green one we live on
Gaia

Run run run run said the automobile and we ran
Run for your life take to your heels
Foolish school of fish on wheels
Gaia

Turn away from your animal kind
Try to leave your body just to live in your mind
Leave your cold cruel mother earth behind
Gaia

As if you were your own creation
As if you were the chosen nation
And the world around you just a rude and
Dangerous invasion
Gaia

Someone’s got to stop us now
Save us from us gaia
No one’s gonna stop us now

We thought we ought to walk awhile
So we left that town in a single file
Up and up and up mile after mile after mile

We reached the tree line and I dropped my pack
Sat down on my haunches and I looked back down
Over the mountain
Helpless and speechless and breathless

Gaia

Pray for the forest pray to the tree
Pray for the fish in the deep blue sea
Pray for yourself and for god’s sake
Say one for me
Poor wretched unbeliever

Someone’s got to stop us now
Save us from us gaia
No one’s gonna stop us now

The second CD  I want to share with you is Reiki Whale Song by Kamal Engels. I listen to this CD or Reiki Whale Dreaming every night while I do Reiki and then drift off to sleep. I think it is one of my secrets for a good night’s rest. I love to immerse myself in the sounds of water and whales.

I’ve listened to this watching the stars out the window of the back of my VW Camper in campgrounds all over the west. I’ ve listened to it with the light of the full moon on my face. I’ve listened to it in good times and bad, through smiles and tears, at home and in strange bedrooms when I was tossing about deciding where to live after my divorce. I’m listening to it now as I write and it brings me immense peace. It is music of the heart. Whatever your heart feels will be brought to the surface and released to the ocean breezes.  Now that’s music.

Here is “Whale Dreaming” from the CD Reiki Whale Song

Please share with me your favorites. I love to discover new music.

Copyright (c) December 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved
(the lyrics and music are copyrighted by the artists)

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I am compelled to share this with you. It’s  beautiful computer artwork with lovely music and inspirational words at the bottom. What I love most is the way the color dances with the music. It moves like my body wants to move to the sound.

It’s also where I think we are headed with “information” which is more toward storytelling. Artists know there are many ways to tell stories and not always with words.

I also got this sense of life as music and how each drop of color is like each of our lifetimes, fleetingly beautiful and lyrical, dancing away into the void. Creativity is always beginning and never-ending. Creativity wants to breathe new life into the void. We are but the dancers. As the artist, Esteban,  says “There’s a lot of randomness involved here, so there was also a lot of luck, of course.”

A Twitter tweet is how I found it, though I don’t remember the tweeter to thank for this. The tweet referred to the blog site is www.thenextweb.com and I found the video on You Tube to share with you.

Something for our hearts.

Here is the rest of the information as copied from You Tube:

This is a video created by Esteban Diácono to the music of Olafur Arnalds’ Ljósið using Adobe After Effects, particular v2, soundkeys and starglow.

“I first imported the audio and set up 2 sounkeys layers, one for the piano and one for the strings. Then i worked the particles and the particle subsystem and linked things like the emission, the turbulence, the velocity, the spin amplitude and the strength of the fields to the sound key outputs.

“Then i set up the colors with 2 different palettes, and well, after that there was a lot of trial and error in order to achieve what i was looking for.

There’s a lot of randomness involved here, so there was also a lot of luck, of course.”

Original words copyright (c) September 2009, Kathy J Loh, all rights reserved
The rest is the property of the artist and the musician quoted and shared here.

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