Welcome To The Creative Act

A pro-musician making sense of the creative process within the context of his life experience.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Dream by John Dowland - Guitar Solo

I was recently exposed to this beautiful Pavan by Elizabethan Era Lute Master, John Dowland. I've been working on the fingering for this piece all week and have finally completed that stage of the study. The next phase is to play it with fluidity and grace (that's the really fun part!). Many people are under the false impression that all a guitarist has to do is read the notes off of the page and play it. Studying a piece is much more complicated than that. As you can see from watching this guitarist's fingers, there are many complex decisions to be made concerning the proper placement of the fingers in order to 'set up' the next chord or phrase of the piece. All of this is figured out during the fingering stage. Of course, that can all change as the 'fluidity and grace' phase may dictate that a fingering position be changed for the sake of the proper performance of the piece. It really is very challenging!

The best way I can describe the study of a complicated piece such is this is to imagine looking through a very dirty window pane. You know that there is a beautiful vista on the other side of the pane, but you just can't view it immediately. With each practice session, more obstructions to the view are removed and just a little more of the image can be seen. Eventually, the reward of diligent, intelligent practice is that a beautiful sight can be perceived without obstruction. The vista in all its glory can be beheld! Another reward is that the musician can continue to perform the piece for the rest of their life and share it with others.

There are many rewards in being a musician. Most of them are interior such as overcoming a great challenge as well as being able to play a beautiful piece of music for ones own self and for others. The material rewards are few. Love for the music and for the instrument on which it is played is what makes a musician's struggle worthwhile. I'm glad that my love affair with music has never wavered and that we have been ever faithful to one another!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Navajo String Games by Grandma Margaret

This video brought back great memories of my Grandparents teaching me string games. When I was in grade school, I used to keep myself occupied with these games and always kept a loop of string in my pocket to practice. My friends were amazed when I would make the 'Crows Foot', 'The Blue Corn Bowl', 'The Fish Net', 'The Dog's Paw', 'The Foot Bridge', 'The Trap' and many more that I can't seem to remember... On long road trips to gather firewood, I would keep myself busy in the truck with my string games. I was easily amused as a child, kind of like now. I haven't thought of string games in a long time! This is so cool!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sacred Mountain - Ronald Roybal - Native American Flute Music

So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place.

Show respect to all people and bow to none. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and nothing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home. ~ Tecumseh

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Journey of a Vision

A vision is important. A great vision is life changing. I am a musician because of a great vision I received nearly 22 years ago. Was it a hallucination? No, it was an unfolding in my spirit of what I knew I must do. It's really very hard to describe. The promise I received was that I would bring in many songs from the Spirit World for the benefit of all people but only after travelling a long, difficult road. The road would include long hours of study, practice and prayer. The road would include pain, loss and rejection. Sacrifice would be part of my daily life. The road was a red road! Now, I look back and find great consolation in being given this vision and the strength to follow it. "A great vision is needed, and the man who has it must follow it as the Eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky" - Crazy Horse

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Salve Regina

When I was discerning my vocation in life at St. Benedict's Trappist Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado, I would look forward to our weekly chanting of this beautiful hymn. I enjoyed singing it so much that I was frequently 'busted' singing it in the the garage and barn where I was assigned. To this day I find myself humming and singing this beautiful melody. I received my music vocation at St. Benedict's and 22 years later I am still living out the vision that I received from my Creator. 'Ask and you will receive, knock and the door will be opened to you' - Yeshua

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Eagle Dance Song - Ronald Roybal - Native American Flute Music

Oh Eagle! Accept our prayers and carry them on your wings as you journey into the Spirit World. We thank you for allowing yourself to be burned by the heat of the Sun as you rise higher and higher looking for the great hole in the sky. We honor you and the great gift of your feathers. They have been scorched by the Sun and we are blessed by them. Oh Eagle! Creator has made you for this great journey and your cries inspire us to cry out for His help as we walk the good road that He has made for us. (HwAn-Pi-Khaw = Ronald Roybal)