I love stories like “Through the Looking Glass” where you live through the characters as they suddenly pop into other worlds, strange dimensions of time and space.
One of the reasons i enjoy learning music is that this process is the audio version of walking through the looking glass. When you are interested in mastering some detail of music and set aside time to do that, you invite magic into your life. Time stops. You now have only one thing to get right and all the time in the world to get it right. It is a luxury, a drug like experience that is available to you for free. And the side effects are all good…
Even just a couple minutes in a car at a parking lot can give you a good hit of this feeling. All you need is a harmonica, and some small riff you want to polish up…
Last night I worked with my Tuesday night harmonica class on a harmonica instrumental by Dave Barrett. The first part of it had most of the notes on the beat or in patterns that were easy to catch hold of.
The next to the last chorus was a different story. When we hit that one, the high point of the solo in included a couple of tricky rhythm changes. We started narrowing down our focus to 6 bars, then 4 bars, then two bars, and ended up focusing on part of one bar, a three note riff…
It was like checking out the moon with more and more powerful telescopes until you are looking at just one crater.
I got everyone in the harmonica class in a tight circle so we could do the “drum circle” thing where you get in sync with the other people you are with as you repeat a rhythm. We sang the riff, we tapped it out, we counted it, and we played it over and over.
At first I thought that this would be tedious, frustrating, torture. But it ended up being fun. All the sudden it was “wow – look what time it is!” and we had to wrap up and get ready to leave.
I always end up feeling refreshed after I experience a bit of “timeless time”. I have friends who seem to live most of their lives in this space. It is just a matter of slowing down, way down, with only one thing to do. Could be washing a dish.
It takes a bit of planning, but you can create these “timeless time” capsules and scatter them throughout your day. It’s a good way to live.
I was hoping for a great way to end this post, but I’ve run out of time. So, for now: