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  • gut instincts vs brain

    I may have posted something similar a few years ago but I can't remember. I'm getting old.



    Regardless, after some recent, interesting and almost devastating personal experiences, I realized that I need to make some drastic changes in my habits, my thought process, my outlook on life, and the way I create art.



    I'm slowly (I'm a slow learner) realizing that art and real life aren't much different from each other. If you over think things, you can **************** it all up. If you over analyze things, you can ruin the beauty of what's in front of you. This is true in real life and artistic creation/expression.



    My best moments in life and artistic creation have always and only been when I am "in the zone". And decision making has always been better when I follow my gut. Yes to things and no to things based simply on what my gut tells me. When my brain is on auto-pilot, I'm not thinking, and I'm just going with the flow, things just work. It sounds so easy but it's so hard to get there and stay there.



    I've made some rules to change old habits to better habits. Here's an example: I tend to think about almost everything too much. It's a bad habit and creates a lot of unnecessary internal negativity.



    So I made a rule that anytime I find myself focusing on something for too long in my head, I have to pick up the guitar or sit at the piano and start playing. Or if I'm in the shower, I have to start singing. I discovered that my brain really shuts down when I play music. All those thoughts just go away. In fact, I was in the shower the other day, and started singing to get whatever I was thinking about out of my head. I got out of the shower, played the melody on piano and created a new film score type of piece (think Road to Perdition main theme). I turned a negative thought into something beautiful. What a high!



    It's a slow process with a ton of work to create new habits that allow for a better way of life and a more fulfilling artistic expression. But I'm on a quest and journey to get myself "in the zone" more often than not. Some of this stuff may be so obvious to some of you but it's all new to me.



    If you've have similar experiences or revelations, I'd love to hear them.

  • #2
    It's funny how often I hear things, a variety of things, that people say clears their minds. I say it's funny because even thought such things can vary widely in specifics, to me the are all the same thing: meditation. The most basic meditation is essentially focusing completely on one thing to the exclusion of all other things, whether it be your own breath, a candle flame, a mandala, or your favorite football team's logo for that matter. Music can most definitely be that, especially because music almost requires you to focus your entire attention on playing.



    I've always thought that mediation did a sort of file management function on my mind, putting stuff away that didn't need to be floating around anymore, filing stuff into certain categories that didn't already have a category.



    To go even further afield, I just started watching Sons of Anarchy, a show about a motorcycle gang. In one episode, a character takes off on the road after some intense things happen, and when he comes back he says how being on the road helped clear his head. Personally, I don't like driving specifically because it requires one's full attention, but I can see how just the act of driving (especially on a motorcycle, requiring even more attention) could sort of accomplish the same sort of meditative state.



    I don't know about being "in the zone". I don't think I've ever been there. But I think playing music as a way of clearing your mind is a great thing!
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    • #3
      Check out the book "Blink".

      It explains what the "gut" consists of.

      Its really all in the brain. Its just that some useful processing occurs the brain but below our consciousness.



      Thinking too much- ruminating- can certainly be harmful.

      FWIW- As with most things I think the optimal approach involves a balance between the two.



      I can relate to being "in the zone".

      To me this involves clarity, a natural flow of energy and thoughts and lack of self induced barriers to peformance.

      For me this involves both the gut and the conscious brain.



      You may want to read the book "The Power of Now".

      I first learned of it right here.

      It speaks about all this in a profound way and is well worth readng.
      Psst... Wanna check out some free tunes?
      http://www.broadjam.com/artists/home.php?artistID=3448

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      • #4






        Quote Originally Posted by Kendrix
        View Post

        Check out the book "Blink".

        It explains what the "gut" consists of.

        Its really all in the brain. Its just that some useful processing occurs the brain but below our consciousness.



        Thinking too much- ruminating- can certainly be harmful.

        FWIW- As with most things I think the optimal approach involves a balance between the two.



        I can relate to being "in the zone".

        To me this involves clarity, a natural flow of energy and thoughts and lack of self induced barriers to peformance.

        For me this involves both the gut and the conscious brain.



        You may want to read the book "The Power of Now".

        I first learned of it right here.

        It speaks about all this in a profound way and is well worth readng.




        Blink was my first thought as well. And Tolle...



        Yep, all in the brain. But to keep it clear, I'll stick with gut vs. brain. As a writer, musician, creator, I like to think of it as, purge, refine.



        In-The-Zone is a great place. As a performer, in-the-zone would be where I would go to. Doing it every night for years and years, it was second nature. And if I couldn't, it sucked. Live performance tends to drive that "in-the-now" type of thinking. Or NOT thinking. Gut. It's good. But not infallible. Hence the "dangerous" and exciting nature of live performance.



        As a writer or recording musician, there is the option to rethink that spark. To either seize an opportunity to refine, or to destroy the seed by over-tending. Purge, refine. But to refine is not to destroy.



        So, I see it like the delicate act of steering a car. To steer is a constant act of teetertottering. Tiny adjustments both left and right to just go straight. Purge, refine. Purg, refin. Pur, refi. Pu, ref. P, re. r...



        Gut vs. Brain. Maybe a little of both in a system of check and balance?
        __________
        Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
        Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
        Jesus

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        • #5
          If everything boils down to a simple dualism of thinking and gut, then I would say that too much of one is just as bad as too much of the other.



          My own view is that it's more of a continuum between the conscious and unconscious poles of the mind, and an inner dialogue, a sort of dipping the objective art thing you're making repeatedly in and out of the water of unconsciousness and examining ("thinking") about how it changes after each dip. Sometimes you only need a shallow dip or two and you're done. Sometimes it takes a lot more. But whatever comes out of the dark waters, it needs some conscious brain work before it's presentable to anyone.



          I feel like my unconscious is engaged when creative ideas seem "given" to me, rather than consciously constructed. On the other hand, the unconscious is rather like that toy we've all played with - the black ball that says things after you shake it and stare at it for a minute. The black ball says a lot of nonsense that you just have to ignore, but every now and then it's miraculously spot on.



          nat whilk

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          • #6
            nice^
            __________
            Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
            Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
            Jesus

            Comment


            • #8






              Quote Originally Posted by Ryst
              View Post

              I may have posted something similar a few years ago but I can't remember. I'm getting old.



              Regardless, after some recent, interesting and almost devastating personal experiences, I realized that I need to make some drastic changes in my habits, my thought process, my outlook on life, and the way I create art.



              I'm slowly (I'm a slow learner) realizing that art and real life aren't much different from each other. If you over think things, you can **************** it all up. If you over analyze things, you can ruin the beauty of what's in front of you. This is true in real life and artistic creation/expression.



              My best moments in life and artistic creation have always and only been when I am "in the zone". And decision making has always been better when I follow my gut. Yes to things and no to things based simply on what my gut tells me. When my brain is on auto-pilot, I'm not thinking, and I'm just going with the flow, things just work. It sounds so easy but it's so hard to get there and stay there.



              I've made some rules to change old habits to better habits. Here's an example: I tend to think about almost everything too much. It's a bad habit and creates a lot of unnecessary internal negativity.



              So I made a rule that anytime I find myself focusing on something for too long in my head, I have to pick up the guitar or sit at the piano and start playing. Or if I'm in the shower, I have to start singing. I discovered that my brain really shuts down when I play music. All those thoughts just go away. In fact, I was in the shower the other day, and started singing to get whatever I was thinking about out of my head. I got out of the shower, played the melody on piano and created a new film score type of piece (think Road to Perdition main theme). I turned a negative thought into something beautiful. What a high!



              It's a slow process with a ton of work to create new habits that allow for a better way of life and a more fulfilling artistic expression. But I'm on a quest and journey to get myself "in the zone" more often than not. Some of this stuff may be so obvious to some of you but it's all new to me.



              If you've have similar experiences or revelations, I'd love to hear them.




              There are areas of life where I'm almost entirely intuition driven -- like making music. I've derived some intellectual knowledge of harmony and such, but, for me, analysis is something I do after the fact trying to figure why something worked -- or didn't.



              With regard to intuition in life, I've found it trickier. Sometimes my first impulse is good. But many times I've found such intuitive impulses have led me into poor decisions when I've acted prematurely -- and even more times when I have waited and researched my decision, I've found that my initial impulse would likely have taken me to in the wrong direction or a dead end.



              So, while intuition still plays a huge part in my overall life process (I guess we could call it), I try to make sure it's balanced by facts and reason and the due diligence required to fit them together into a sensible path forward.



              There are some days one just seems in harmony with the world. Your in sync. Stuff flows 'naturally.'



              But there are other days when you just keep tripping over your own shoe laces and bumping into walls.
              .

              music and social links | recent listening

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              • #9
                I've been putting some time into learning a classical guitar piece called Tonadilla which is in drop D and some of the chords are unusual and some hard to play. Anyway, the strain of learning this tune(by ear yet) caused me to write another simpler tune, I just found my hands playing the first portion while my mind was elsewhere. I constructed the rest over time and again found my hands doing another portion while my mind was in a haze over straining on Tonadilla.



                So there's a way of creating - learn something difficult and your "mind" might create something while "playing hookie".
                War is over if you want it.
                - John & Yoko -

                Nothing fails like success.
                - Alan Watts - (based on Samsara)

                "I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that."
                -Thomas Edison, in conversation with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, 1931-

                Comment


                • #10
                  Overthinking is a habit of mine. I don't want to say it's a "bad" habit, as I've sort of come to consider it a part of my personality. I believe some people just naturally lean on the happy and positive side of the spectrum, and that will never be me. But the habit of overthinking does usually lead to worry, which feels bad. When I feel that way, it kind of sucks out the energy and focus required to be creative. I'd rather just escape into something mindless that requires the least amont of effort--like browsing internet forums. So I guess it's a matter of learning how to keep those unproductive thoughts at bay long enough to do what you've gotta do.



                  I envy people who can channel all those negative emotions into songwriting, or painting, or other artistic pursuits. That seems to be a fairly common claim among artists and creative types. I've heard a lot of people say they have trouble creating when happy and content, and do their best work when feeling down...and I just can't relate to that. For me, negative emotions have always been a block to creativity. I might later be able to reference those emotions to create something, but not when I'm in the middle of them. If I could do that, I'd probably be so much more productive.
                  ...

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                  • #11






                    Quote Originally Posted by Raymar
                    View Post

                    I've been putting some time into learning a classical guitar piece called Tonadilla which is in drop D and some of the chords are unusual and some hard to play. Anyway, the strain of learning this tune(by ear yet) caused me to write another simpler tune, I just found my hands playing the first portion while my mind was elsewhere. I constructed the rest over time and again found my hands doing another portion while my mind was in a haze over straining on Tonadilla.



                    So there's a way of creating - learn something difficult and your "mind" might create something while "playing hookie".




                    I've been doing something similar.



                    A few years ago I decided to finally figure out what this DADGAD tuning was about. I'd played slide from early on, so I was no stranger to open chord tunings. But DADGAD is 151451 (from low to high) and, after some highly explorative fun doing what came not-quite-natural in the tuning, I decided it was worth pursuing on a more formal level.



                    While I'd always been a chords, single note melodies, or double stop embellishment kind of standard tuning player, I found that DADGAD made it easier for me to keep track of where I was in the scale -- after a while, I found that I was thinking a lot more in terms of how what note or notes I was playing fit into the scale, more aware of interval relationships.



                    Of course, when you're dealing with what you're playing intellectually (or at least when I am), it can be an impediment to smooth, intuitive playing, so I've been working to develop more 'muscle memory' (stupidest phrase ever coined but at least we all know more or less what it refers to) support -- trying to make movement within the tuning as intuitive as in standard.



                    But the DANGEDEST thing is that the same approach (integrating more harmonic awareness of what I'm playing) has been invading my standard tuning playing. I find at times when I'm really in it that I have to 'step back' even in order to know what tuning I'm in. It's been very interesting.
                    .

                    music and social links | recent listening

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                    • #12






                      Quote Originally Posted by blue2blue
                      View Post

                      I've been doing something similar.



                      A few years ago I decided to finally figure out what this DADGAD tuning was about. I'd played slide from early on, so I was no stranger to open chord tunings. But DADGAD is 151451 (from low to high) and, after some highly explorative fun doing what came not-quite-natural in the tuning, I decided it was worth pursuing on a more formal level.



                      While I'd always been a chords, single note melodies, or double stop embellishment kind of standard tuning player, I found that DADGAD made it easier for me to keep track of where I was in the scale -- after a while, I found that I was thinking a lot more in terms of how what note or notes I was playing fit into the scale, more aware of interval relationships.



                      Of course, when you're dealing with what you're playing intellectually (or at least when I am), it can be an impediment to smooth, intuitive playing, so I've been working to develop more 'muscle memory' (stupidest phrase ever coined but at least we all know more or less what it refers to) support -- trying to make movement within the tuning as intuitive as in standard.



                      But the DANGEDEST thing is that the same approach (integrating more harmonic awareness of what I'm playing) has been invading my standard tuning playing. I find at times when I'm really in it that I have to 'step back' even in order to know what tuning I'm in. It's been very interesting.




                      I've never heard of DANGEDEST tuning before.



                      I recently found out that Kashmir is in DADGAD and learned it, and for fun I'll do some Indianlike noodling beforehand but other than that I haven't properly examined it scalewise. But playing in nonstandard tunings can cause you to "step up to the plate" and play any chord that's required regardless of what it looks like. In Tonadilla there's a chord I play with my thumb on the fretboard, not hanging over it folks, I'm talking taking your entire hand and turning the entire palm and thumb towards the fretboard, thumb on the low G(fifth fret) and stretch a few frets for the first three fingers, then a couple more for the pinky. Yeaoooowwww!!! Fortunately its just for a few seconds. I have a feeling this was written for the ten string classical guitar but you can "fake" it with drop D. That hasn't invaded my standard tuning playing yet though.
                      War is over if you want it.
                      - John & Yoko -

                      Nothing fails like success.
                      - Alan Watts - (based on Samsara)

                      "I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that."
                      -Thomas Edison, in conversation with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, 1931-

                      Comment


                      • #13






                        Quote Originally Posted by Raymar
                        View Post

                        I've been putting some time into learning a classical guitar piece called Tonadilla which is in drop D and some of the chords are unusual and some hard to play.




                        No wonder you're having a hard time learning Tonadilla... It takes John Williams and Julian Bream to play it.






                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whwjtGyA6fg
                        Something...

                        Comment


                        • #14






                          Quote Originally Posted by Raymar
                          View Post

                          I've never heard of DANGEDEST tuning before.



                          I recently found out that Kashmir is in DADGAD and learned it, and for fun I'll do some Indianlike noodling beforehand but other than that I haven't properly examined it scalewise. But playing in nonstandard tunings can cause you to "step up to the plate" and play any chord that's required regardless of what it looks like. In Tonadilla there's a chord I play with my thumb on the fretboard, not hanging over it folks, I'm talking taking your entire hand and turning the entire palm and thumb towards the fretboard, thumb on the low G(fifth fret) and stretch a few frets for the first three fingers, then a couple more for the pinky. Yeaoooowwww!!! Fortunately its just for a few seconds. I have a feeling this was written for the ten string classical guitar but you can "fake" it with drop D. That hasn't invaded my standard tuning playing yet though.




                          While Page used DADGAD on a number of tracks, his use was considerably less sophisticated and fluid than many of the British. Celtic, and American folkies who greatly influenced his playing and from whom he borrowed so many techniques, ideas, riffs, and song structures.



                          Davey Graham is widely seen as the primary popularizer of the tuning but many others like Bert Jansch (from whom Page clumsily 'borrowed' a rather tepid version of the guitar arrangement he used for Zep's version of the reconstructed folk tune, "Black Waterside" which he renamed as "Black Mountain Side" when he claimed sole writing credit ), Martin Carthy, and others.





                          While the tuning works well for arrangements of Celtic pipe music, North African/Moorish, and other music that uses drone notes, the tuning is actually a rich foundation for very different types of guitar explorations.





                          Probably one of the most fluid and distinctive of the contemporary DADGAD aficionadi is Pierre Bensusan...






                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPJ5dosLuEQ
                          .

                          music and social links | recent listening

                          Comment


                          • #15






                            Quote Originally Posted by kurdy
                            View Post

                            Overthinking is a habit of mine. I don't want to say it's a "bad" habit, as I've sort of come to consider it a part of my personality. I believe some people just naturally lean on the happy and positive side of the spectrum, and that will never be me. But the habit of overthinking does usually lead to worry, which feels bad. When I feel that way, it kind of sucks out the energy and focus required to be creative. I'd rather just escape into something mindless that requires the least amont of effort--like browsing internet forums. So I guess it's a matter of learning how to keep those unproductive thoughts at bay long enough to do what you've gotta do.



                            I envy people who can channel all those negative emotions into songwriting, or painting, or other artistic pursuits. That seems to be a fairly common claim among artists and creative types. I've heard a lot of people say they have trouble creating when happy and content, and do their best work when feeling down...and I just can't relate to that. For me, negative emotions have always been a block to creativity. I might later be able to reference those emotions to create something, but not when I'm in the middle of them. If I could do that, I'd probably be so much more productive.




                            I
                            <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

                            “Music is well said to be the speech of angels... nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine."

                            ~Thomas Carlyle

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