A New Year’s Musical Resolution

Ian FongWell, I think it is safe to say that we are officially in 2011. After watching the numerous New Year’s celebrations on TV, I began thinking  about this upcoming year. How will it be different from last year? Will this year be better or will it cause me to dwell in the past? I am usually not the person who writes a long list of New Year’s resolutions but I decided that this year is going to be different. I concluded that this year, I want to become more dedicated to studying jazz with an open mind. I know this seems very general and ambiguous but I believe that by broadening my understanding in jazz, I can become a better musician. My goal for this year is to concentrate on changing my perspective on music and focus on defining my musical goals. I want to approach jazz with a more creative mindset instead of looking at everything with a technical mentality. I often find myself missing the true essence of a song because I focus too much on the flow of the changes, the level of difficulty, and the technical challenges that I have to overcome. This does not mean that the technical aspects of a song should be ignored, I am simply wanting to find balance.

Creativity is a unique skill, it can not be acquired nor quickly obtained. This ability requires a certain dedication and involvement. When trying to study how to get creativity, many find that it is not something that is easily found. Creativity is discovered by looking at things with a new approach, perspective, and understanding. Now, when searching for this quality, one must learn to be transparent with themselves and their emotions. I feel creativity stems from expressing your opinions, emotions, and thoughts. In musical terms, it is realizing that there are a million of ways to interpret a certain idea. Jazz is not built on a bunch of  direction manuals. It is founded upon taking a set of ideas and adapting it in a way that fits around your own personality. Once you develop this dexterity, you are able to see music in a different light, your playing begins to sound different.

Christian ScottSo, getting back to my New Year’s resolution, I want to grow creatively. I want to play with meaning and conviction. Recently, on youtube, I  found a set of Nextbop interviews with Christian Scottdiscussing his new album Yesterday You Said Tomorrow. Christian Scott is a unique trumpet player. He is a musician who I feel embodies creativity because of his distinct outlook on music. When you listen to his music, you can understand the emotion behind every note and the direction in every melody. With his warm airy sound, I can easily identify with his music because he plays so intimately. Now in those interviews, Christian Scott discussed the reasons behind each composition on his album. I was surprised by his answers. Every song was written for a distinct purpose, many written on personal experiences during his childhood. I remember listening to Christian Scott say how he studied each experience and tried to connect each emotion and feeling felt at the time with a certain sound. He later mentioned how at certain times, he could feel each musician relate and become coherent with the music as if they were living out the struggles through their playing. I found this inspiring as a musician because I want to reach a level where I can be intimate with my music. I want to see with transparency so that I can truly embody what the music has to offer. Often, I distance myself because I am afraid to express my emotions. In the new year, I want to become a purposeful musician who can translate and find a new connection between my  life and music.  Below, I have included some of the Christian Scott interviews. Feel free to comment and add in your new year resolutions. If you want to check out Christian Scott’s new album, I have uploaded some samples. Click here to check it out!



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