I was inspired to begin this project by many people and things, most directly by my friend Jesse, who did a project much like this one. He, a jazz pianist, set out to improvise and record every day for a year, and publish each recording online.
Well, I'm going to do the same thing. Except, I don't play jazz. I'm not an improviser by any musician's standards, hardly my own. But I'm an improviser in life, and, well, here we go then.
As a classical pianist of 25 years, it's time now that I explore that part of me that wants to be free. I've always had a curiosity to improvise, but for whatever reason, (a class got canceled, or was full) I've been siphoned down a different path. Well, each day is an opportunity, right? So starting today, I'm going to improvise every day. And I'm gonna record it. And it might be bad. But it might be good. And I'm gonna force myself to publish it online.
That's scary. Because in conservatory, we're trained to criticize ourselves and other musicians. We hold ourselves to ridiculous standards of perfection and aesthetic. And as much as I hate being that way, I have been bred into this mindset as well. So, to publish something on here that I might not be happy with, probably not even good at, is kind of a big deal for me.
There's a lot I want to write here... a lot that I've been philosophizing about over the past several months. I can't possibly get it all down into one little blog note. But here are at least two stars in a universe of solar systems and galaxies that we can peek at: fear and vulnerability. Whoa.
So, we fear the uncertain, and we fear it because we think that it could cause us some sort of pain, emotional, physical, or otherwise. And so we make ourselves invulnerable in order to avoid that pain, because we're afraid that we could, possibly, maybe end up getting hurt. Even though, when we avoid that "pain possibility," we're also cutting off the possibility of something really awesome happening. What the heck? It sucks, but it's true. You can't open yourself to the possibilities of super awesome amazing without opening yourself to the possibilities of horrible ouchy pain time. Well... and that's life, then, isn't it?
One of my fears, and I think a valid fear that many of my musician friends share, is of being exposed as a fraud of sorts. Someone who claims to be a "professional musician," but then falling short somehow, or being perceived as a hack. Maybe didn't execute that one difficult passage so very well, or isn't a very good sight-reader (in my case, how true), or wasn't able to harmonize that melody properly, or WHATEVER. Yeah, I think we're all pretty damn insecure.
And so anyway, I've decided that I'm okay with putting it all out there. I want to go out on a limb, even if a very shaky one. I've already said I'm not an improviser. So, at least you all know that you shouldn't have high expectations. (And I'm not expecting many, if any, readers/listeners, so ultimately this is more for my benefit than anyone else's.) But maybe... something awesome will come out of all of this. Maybe I'll even like some of what I create.
Let's see what happens after one year. Today, I don't know how to begin. I don't understand complicated chord progressions on a dime, like some. I don't know how to read a chart. I don't know the jazz traditions, where they were fifty years ago, and how that developed into what they are now. I don't really know anything about improv. Let's just see what happens.
(P.S. I know I need to get my piano tuned. I also apologize for the recording quality... it's nothing fancy. Just my iphone.)