Brushing off the dust
I've just been discussion with my good friend Spins 'n' Needles who I have been collaborating with musically for over 6 years. Now I'm back in the country, this means we can get back to where we left off and start messing around with beats and samples again, using Ableton Live and Push hardware as our basic set-up.
We were discussing the amount of people stuck in houses picking up old instruments they used to play when they were youngsters. All those violins left to get dusty in lofts, saxophones and sousaphones and trumpets and trombones. Old disbanded guitars with 5 strings and drum kits with dinged skins. All those beautifully hand crafted instruments sitting in their colourful velvet boxes.
And now, having all that time to sort through the old junk and finding these instruments, just sitting there, having the time to confidently bring them out of the closet - so to speak - and breathe a breath of modern life into them. The time is now to make some noise. Because if nothing else, now is the time to be creative. In uncertain times like these, creative expression is the most humanistic thing to do. It's what us humans created to express ourselves, so we can be heard by the world. Although you might not want the world to hear your play you closet instrument right now, just the art of making some sounds on one of these handcrafted beauties will no doubt connect you with your past, and blow some anarchy into your future.
After pretty much every gig I've played with my saxophone, a member of the crowd who watched and connected with the gig would always tell me about how they used to play saxophone and for whatever reason stopped. After 1 year, 5 years, grade 8.. however long or short the timeframe, I would have this conversation often more than once in a night. So now, people, now is the time to find that instrument.
I love to find instrumentals [youtube is great] which represent how I'm feeling - blues, funk, reggae, jazz, garage, glitch, dnb, chillout and improvise over the top. Now that might not be your style, if you're more of a music reader, get the old books out (which are probably living right next to your closet instrument) and find a song you used to really enjoy playing, and without judgement, play it loud and proud. Going one step further, as we're fast becoming 'that' original technologic generation.. those of you who used to use Fruity Loops, Sony Acid or other music production software when you were younger, now is the time to download the most recent (or free) version and make some music. Don't do it to get famous, don't even do it to make money, but do it for yourself. Make a tune that resonates with you right now.
And even if you sold your instrument, gave it away or couldn't afford that thing you really wanted, there are loads of free ways to make music nowadays. Jamlooper is a free app for making loops, and Keezy records original sounds to make your own sound board. Keezy drummer is super fun for making drum loops. In 2020, the options are literally endless.
Let's fill the empty airwaves with sounds, vibrations, beats and honks. Bring your music out of the closet, brush the dust off and lets collectively start feeling a little bit better every day. And then maybe when we're allowed out again we can all do it together!!
Here's a picture of my second saxophone (the first one had to be recycled) and the one that I poured so many hours, and so much emotion into over the years. If your instrument has seen better days, like this one, what better chance than to connect with local repairers to get it fixed. You'll be supporting your local musicians and they'll be able to make it sound tip top and maybe even give you some tips along the way (on the phone of course).
Now... what you waiting for??