ColinResponse - October 2nd, 2011
On Sunday night, I will be presenting a solo concert that I feel represents a culmination of a slew of ideas that have been kicking around in my head since I came to college. First and foremost, it is a combination of several of my musical pursuits, namely beatboxing, trombone, and 8bit composition. Along with a looper, my goal is to create a sea of shifting textures and timbres that seem to act of their own accord. Secondly, the composition of this piece is heavily based around my own predilection to reduce my compositions to simple parts with linear forms that interact in subtle ways. For this piece, I want to create a form that catches the listener off-guard, as if you were walking and suddenly realized you are in a different place than you should be. It’ll be fun to see how well I succeed or fail!
In my playing, I judge myself successful when I am able to play a whole piece without leaving a state of total relaxation that is akin to meditation, an approach that I have been practicing for the past three years. I have only been able to do this successfully since this summer, when I was lucky enough to attend some master classes on Alexander Technique. All of the ideas that we get from Alexander are things that have been proven to apply directly to playing an instrument. I have found great personal success applying his ideas of ideal body mechanics and kinesiology to how I play trombone. Before studying these ideas, I would always leave the stage with a sense of utter failure. Nowadays, I have given up on attempting to objectively judge my own playing when it is still fresh in my mind. By attaching my feeling of success to how relaxed I was able to make myself while on stage instead of how well I thought I played, I am able to take absolute joy in what sounds I am making without attaching value judgments to them. Moral of this story: The best musicians are the ones who play their instruments with absolute focus and absolute, imperturbable relaxation.
For the jam, I want to start with several groups performing a series of text scores that each focus on a different musical element. These pieces have an underlying goal of inducing in the players a meditative state through intense focus on basic and repetitive parts. I know that there are many for whom this is difficult and as such I have engineered these text scores to serve as a powerful vehicle for the player to enable to reach such a state. All of these pieces will involve an element of musical stamina and endurance that is not normally required of a musician and the length of each piece will be defined by the stamina and endurance of the players. I hope some of them will go for a looong time. These pieces are an exercise in compositional hyperbole in which I pose my players a musically insurmountable task and see how interestingly they fail. I hope it will be fun!