Category Archives: Performing

what passes for thought

In the improvising world you work at listening (which changes what passes for thought). The extent to which you continue thinking is proportional to what is accomplished musically. That probably a big part of the draw for those who can’t stop, relief from ping pong of ordinary thinking. When is the bus going to arrive, what’s the forecast, what kind of wallpaper should we get, I need a new shirt, what’s for dinner. And anyone can get that by just tuning into experiencing all sound unfolding with the same attention they might give when meditation leaders tell people to just concentrate on their breath, in and out and let the thoughts just come and go like the current of a river. The attention of not being off in a fantasy but experiencing now-ness.

chasing dorka

At the improv workshop, the teacher said his system regarded musicians as having two types of consciousness. One is attention all over the place kind. Though you are supposedly engaged in playing music, that type is thinking about how long you should solo, how much better or worse you are than other players, why doesn’t this piano have better action, the colour of the shirt of the person in the front row, what you did yesterday, what is for lunch – all over the place mind like a fly in the room going everywhere.
The second mind listens while playing, has a other experience, brings empathy. His point was that the second mind is a better musician, the one you should encourage and by virtue of reaching it the first one has less grip, disappears for a bit. Gets out of the way.
I think what he was getting at was that getting there is as simple as just listening.

did you get the joke?

Little person is into knock knock jokes. As far as she understands the point of the jokes is just to have a last line which could be anything. For instance knock knock, who’s there, dog, dog who? dog and popcorn ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha and it is really hilarious every time. Way funnier than the joke of being an opening act.


We want you to open for (insert famous person). Sure how much does it pay? Sorry it doesn’t pay. But your tickets are $25 and this place holds 200 people. Ya but our expenses are crazy, so you want to do it or what? I’ll throw in a couple drink tickets (and dinner at half price).


Guy in coffee shop tells me the code to their wifi is  11111111.  I said one sec I’ll write it down. He says don’t worry it’s on all the tables. People who don’t get the joke, that’s life.