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Works-in-Progress and Online Experiments

Musical Meditations - Playing in Time

The following musical selections have been carefully curated to exercise your ability to listen and appreciate.

     First . . .

1. Settle down and open up.

2. Breathe. Flow.

3. Pay Attention: Listen, Feel, See

4. Keep your body and mind in the same place

5. Let go of judging and telling yourself stories. 

6. Engage your capacity to appreciate.

    Now you are ready to hear the music:

1. Notice Rhythm, Timbre, Pitch, Harmony, Melodies and overall effect.

2. Take the music inward, not outward.

3. Hear what is there: the purely audio reality, the interaction of the players, the flow and dynamics.

4. Identify a few different players, one at a time, and follow them throughout the song.

5. Play, sing, tap, dance along with a few different players, one at a time.

  • Recommended: spend at least 8 minutes a day, three days a week.

  • Listen to the music all the way through, without wandering.

  • As your time allows, listen again, remembering to use pause, rewind and speed controls for deeper study.

Tip: The journey is the goal.

Music Meditation 1

Zakir Hussain, John McLaughlin, Jean-Luc Ponty

Time: 8:24

Music Meditation 2

For Best Effect, Do In Order

Part 1 - Audio Only

Music Meditation 2
00:00 / 05:42

Part 2 - Same Song, Audio + Video

Music Meditation 3

Don't try to learn how. Just open up to what is possible.

Music Meditation 4

The first Wes Montgomery  piece was recorded at his wife's insistence because she was sick and tired of living as the wife of a highly respected and chronically broke jazz musician. The album was a huge commercial hit (1967) and introduced a new guitar sound that inspires musicians to this day.

The second recording is a sample of how he sounded in the solid jazz scene of 1960.

Music Meditation 5

Dynamics and Phrasing are under-appreciated yet crucial aspects of top level music.

Dynamics is the range of volume and intensity that emphasizes the emotions and meaning of the music. Phrasing is the length and placement of the notes (words and syllables), the breaths, and the silences.

Rickie Lee Jones commands a vast range of Dynamics and surprising, engaging and meaningful Phrasing. The following two versions of a rather simple song show the dramatic effect of her vocal artistry. She has an amazing body of work, including collaborations with some of your favorite artists. On YouTube.

The Horses - Studio Version 1989Rickie Lee Jones
00:00 / 04:53
The Horses - Live - 1995Rickie Lee Jones
00:00 / 05:01

Lyric: We will fly Way up high Where the cold wind blows Or in the sun Laughing having fun With the people that she knows And if the situation Should keep us separated You know the world won't fall apart And you will free the beautiful bird That's caught inside your heart Can't you hear her? Oh she cries so loud Casts her wild note Over water and cloud That's the way it's gonna be, little darlin' We'll be riding on the horses, yeah Way up in the sky, little darlin' And if you fall I'll pick you up, pick you up You will grow And until you go I'll be right there by your side And even then Whisper the wind And she will carry up your ride I hear all the people of the world In one bird's lonely cry See them trying every way they know how To make their spirit fly Can't you see him? He's down on the ground He has a broken wing Looking all around That's the way it's gonna be, little darlin' You go riding on the horses, yeah Way up in the sky, little darlin' And if you fall I'll pick you up, pick you up Can't you hear her? Oh she cries so loud Casts her wild note Over water and cloud I'll pick you up darlin' if you fall Don't worry 'bout a thing little girl Because I was young myself not so long ago And when I was young When I was young And when I was young, oh I was a wild, wild one.

Music Meditation 6

Today's Word:


"There is no movement without rhythm."

Bonus Tools
Progressive Clave
00:00 / 19:41
Music Meditation 7
Indian Classical Music

More than an expression of the Divine, this type of devotional music is a direct pathway to transcendence for both the performers and the audience. Note: The Indian musical scale has more subdivisions than the western scale. In other words, there are pitches which are "in tune" between the keys on our pianos.

Music Meditation 8
The Subtle within the Simple
Music Meditation 9
Listen very carefully to the voice.
Is the singing any good?
House of the Rising Sun - 1
00:00 / 05:24
House of the Rising Sun - 2
00:00 / 02:59
Music Meditation 10
Musician or Entertainer?
You Decide :)
Music Meditation 11
Bata Rhythm

An example of Cuban bata and its roots West African bata. Try to follow one drum part if you can, to get a reference point. Or else just let go and listen/move to the music in your own way, without judging or trying to figure anything out! We'll listen together in class and I'll help you get your bearings. :)

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Music Meditation 12
Gloria - Patti Smith

Listen to the voice as an instrument. Hear the sounds without being concerned with the words. There are a lot of classic rock sounds coming from the guitars - often with alterations that seem wrong, or even cringy, until we realize they are right on!

Gloria - Patti Smith
00:00 / 05:58