Message for Fellow Artists

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RISE UP! Never fear the unknown. Never doubt your talents and inspirations. Never, ever forget ART IS CRUCIALLY IMPORTANT for all of our happiness and well being. RISE UP. Do not let go of your dreams. Never stop being an artist. RISE UP. Don’t worry about the end result. Make art because you know it is good and right, and because you are compelled to make it. RISE UP because there are millions of earthlings who do not have your gifts, your creativity, your insight, the intensity of your feelings, and they cherish the art we make; appreciate the effort and years we spend learning our craft; adore our unique creations; find strength and solace in our ability to express the divine in all of it’s forms. RISE UP and BE what you were meant to be. Never hold back, never give up, never give in. RISE UP. And know that I thank you and love you for who you are, and all that you do.

Two Months Deep

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As the second month of my CalArts graduate education concludes, I am venturing into vast new worlds of melody and rhythm. Latin salsa arrangements, frame drumming fingertip techniques, Ghanian Ewe stick drumming and dancing, Indian talas, arrangements in 7, and in 9, an arrangement in 63 (!!!) and a mountain load of music theory are expanding my horizons faster than a nuclear shock wave.

I’m enrolled in fifteen units and have no schoolbooks. I record my classes, lessons and rehearsals onto my phone and spend twenty to thirty hours a week listening to it all and practicing. I’m enrolled in weekly piano lessons to (hopefully) survive music theory, and hour-long private lessons with the indescribably talented Randy Gloss to (hopefully) survive my two-year-long World Percussion MFA curriculum.

Every day I feel like I’m drowning. At the end of every week I wonder if I’ll ever make it to the other side. For all the hours of concentration and sweat, I cannot perceive growth on a daily basis.  But now, after two months, I realize how fast and far this train may carry me, wonder how much personal growth may be possible, ponder how deep these new knowledge pools may really be, and imagine the possibilities to come.

I am indeed living the dream.

May I find the strength to persevere and the diligence to waste not a single day in the pursuit of these goals.

~ Amen