David Friesen Clinic
On 15 November 2001, I went to a small music clinic hosted by David Friesen in London. I made some note and picked up what I thought were some useful thoughts. These are my reflections on what David shared:
Hold your breath as long as you can. When you finally breathe, there's nothing else you want except that inrush of air. That is what music is like to someone who has a vocation as a musician.
Notes are made by physics - they are merely the vehicles for spiritual expression.
Each of us is unique - this uniqueness is what good music brings out.
Time is the foundation of music. Clap your hand - the sound was there but now is lost back in time. Harmony and melody are built in the flow through time.
To come up with 'original' ideas, record your improvisations. Listen back the next day, pick out what was good, then learn and build on that. That will be the condensed expression of who you are.
To get the music out, forget self; serve others; give yourself. Listen and respond creatively without trying to manipulate and exert control. You can only hear what other people are saying when you listen; don't talk.
Learning to play an instrument is relatively easy; learning to stay in the moment of the music is the difficult part. When somebody walks through the door do they catch your attention or are you focussed on the flow of the music?
Patience is important, but patience comes through trials. Work through things and reap patience as the reward.
Practise towards excellence, but don't get tripped by making mistakes. Mistakes happen, even to the 'greats'. Technical mistakes can be turned into musical opportunities. In a group, give each other freedom to make mistakes without fear of condemnation.
You have to hear it before you play.
Jazz time is 2 and 4... but you tap your foot on one and three. The most important thing is to know where 1 is, to keep hold of the pulse of the music.