Monday, April 27, 2009
The Birdies that Sing in the Spring (tra la)
The ways of the creative mind are mysterious. There are times when it is easy to be inspired to write music by simply listening to the birds sing in the spring, and there are times when the birds that sing in the spring seem to be simply chattering among themselves in exclusive groups, with little concern for anything except calling to their own species, and making themselves heard. As a member of a different species, I can feel left out, useless, and superfluous. I guess it is all a matter of perspective.
There are also other seasons, and there are many things in life to celebrate with music, but there are a lot of situations in life that threaten the creative process. Seeing and hearing clearly--clearing away all the muck that comes with needing to be at least recognized (not to mention appreciated) for what we do, is something that does not come easily. The profession of music is filled with people who have to constantly build and rebuild their fragile egos, and sometimes that ego building and rebuilding takes up a great deal of creative energy. Sometimes it takes up a great deal of space and time as well.
I find that it is best to look to nature for strength. I get excited when the birds return and sing to one another outside my window, and I feel open to whatever inspiration happens to come my way. I also get excited when I hear a performing musician play or sing particularly beautifully (like I did yesterday). I think of it as a wonder of nature when it happens--a surprising mixture of many people, influences, and spontaneous feelings (combined with a lot of hard work). It's like all the innocent energy of birdsong, but its presented in an organized way, and translated into a language that allows me to take part in the conversation, even as a listener.
The birds are so busy singing their hearts out that they don't have the luxury of listening to their unintentional and highly complicated counterpoint. But I do.