Play is for everybody – not just kids.  It makes us bloom inside with ideas, enthusiasm, courage and wonder.  In play we cross boundaries that tame our everyday behavior and enter a realm of freedom and discovery.  Within the hum and the drum of life the current of imagination is flowing . . . always.  Right Here.  Right Now.  It tugs at dreary moments with an appealing warmth as if to say, “There is another way to be in this moment with this situation/feeling/experience. C’mon!  I’ll show you!” Continue reading

Everyday jammin’

Over the last few busy months I’ve been meeting one-to-one with friends (old and new) to jam.  These duets are casual, playful and unstructured. They flow from the personal energy/life zones we bring to our sessions.  Just as each friendship is unique, so are these musical relationships.

Journeying through rhythmic and melodic landscapes as they quicken and transform, we listen and respond in a circular way.  Some of the musical patterns that emerge become fertile ground for explorative song-making, others serve as transition zones that quiet the mind or help us reconnect. Continue reading

Part of everything

As a child I was entranced by harmonies.  From 2nd grade onward, my class had music twice a week with Mrs. Smalley, my favorite teacher. She was a tall, stout woman who wore her graying hair pulled back in a bun. In her classroom we learned to read music, traveled through American history via folk songs (remember the Erie Canal?), tried and tried to match pitch as a whole class and practiced singing parts. That’s when I learned the word harmony.  Singing harmonies lifted my heart out of the troubles that followed me from home-to-school and back again. My brain buzzed with pleasure and happiness to be part of these beautiful songs. I carried them with me, humming my way down the hall or on my walk home.

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Transforming a feeling into a musical phrase

When my feelings are engaged I notice a variety of things. Irritation is a common signal that something’s up for me. It could be a tone of voice, an incident or even a passing thought that triggers the feeling.  Or, I might experience a rush of appreciation in the presence of beauty.  That heart-opening sensation fills my body with energy that needs to be expressed.

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Warming up to harmony: sound experiments

Play is a medium through which we can enter the flow and (by responding to our impulses) explore and experiment with the wealth of creative energy waiting to be expressed.  Though removed from the time in my life when those singing muscles (body, heart and intuition) were used every day in response to creative impulse, I’ve recently begun exploring the world of rhythm and melody again. The song fragments below are like sticky notes. They’re brief musical jottings of a passing idea, mood or feeling caught in the flicker of a moment.

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Voiceweaving Basics

In late 2000 I was very excited to receive a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council to record Voiceweaving Basics (part 1). It was a busy year for me. I’m also a visual artist and during that year I worked with a team to create new exhibits for Portland’s Children’s Museum (which had relocated and was reopening in a huge new space). During construction artist studios were in the museum basement.

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