Interlude (Reading Break)

ImageWell it is August 1 and I still haven’t done the wrap up post on my Territory concerts in Portland. 

The desire to relax and take a bit of summer has overtaken me.  Or maybe it is just that the first gray day in a month or so has inspired the irresistible urge to stop working and catch up on a backlog of pleasurable reading.

Which is why I just discovered this funny, thought-provoking and very satisfying essay by Dan DeWeese in the spring edition of the Oregon Humanities Magazine  called “Burning Bushes.”   It is a very apropos comparison of our culture’s complete saturation in media  with what he playfully defines as an original media spectacle– The Burning Bush from which God spoke to Moses.

My favorite line (among many) so far in  my first reading:

In other words, attempting to live while constantly surrounded by spectacle is not a quality problem, it’s a quantity problem. I know Terry Gross is smart, a good interviewer, and a valued figure in the media landscape; I’m also tired of her, because she has been chattering for years. How am I to reconcile that I like and respect her and also wouldn’t mind if I never heard her voice again?

If you enjoy essays, long-form journalism, or, like me, need some worthwhile act of civil disobedience to the hegemony of work- read the whole thing at this link:

http://oregonhumanities.org/magazine/issue/spectacle/dan-deweese-on-burning-bushes

 

Welcome to the Territory

rainforestThe Territory is ground, water, sky, and everything in between.  It is what was here before you came and what will be here after you are gone.  It is the bones, the sweat, the blood, the dreams, the blessings, the harvests, the floods, the tears, the rocks, the roots, the broken branches, fallen leaves, and forgotten paths, It is the songs of bug, bird, blizzard, wagon wheel, salmon, elk, beaver, and berry. It is the bank of the creek, the bed of the river, the stump in the ground, and the memories of the elders.  The territory is the whole story–told and untold.- Darrell Grant

On July 6th & 7th, I will give the premiere performance of my composition “The Territory” the product of a year of research and writing around the themes of connection, art and place.  I thought it would be fund to share some of the background, inspiration and discovery that inspired me to explore this idea of territory. Over the next few weeks, I”ll be posting those thoughts on this blog, as well as some videos that  were created by Rebekah Phillips for Chamber Music Northwest, that share insights into the creation of the piece.

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The Territory: A Suite by Darrell Grant

Mvt. 1 – Hymn to the Four WindsterritoryMap
Mvt. 2 -Daybreak at Fort Rock
Mvt. 3 -The Missoula Floods
Mvt. 4 -Chief Joseph’s Lament
Mvt. 5 -Rivers
Mvt. 6 -Stones into Blossoms (Dedicated to Nola Bogle)
Mvt. 7 -Sundays at the Golden West
Mvt. 8 -The Aftermath (Interlude)
Mvt. 9 -New Land

featuring
Darrell Grant, piano
Brian Blade, drums
Joe Locke, vibraphone
Steve Wilson, saxophones & flutes
Clark Sommers, bass

with special guests
Hamilton Cheifetz, cello
Marilyn Keller, voice
Kirt Peterson, bass clarinet
Thomas Barber, trumpet

Inside the Territory Part 1

Why business leaders should act more like artists

Photo by Terry Ballard

So you’ve got Seth Godin in his bestselling business book “Linchpin” preaching that to succeed in the world today, everyone must be an artist.

“Art isn’t only a painting. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal. And great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator.

What makes someone an artist? I don’t think it has anything to do with a paintbrush. There are painters who follow the numbers, or paint billboards, or work in a small village in China, painting reproductions. These folks, while swell people, aren’t artists. On the other hand, Charlie Chaplin was an artist, beyond a doubt. So is Jonathan Ive, who designed the iPod. You can be an artist who works with oil paint or marble, sure. But there are artists who worked with numbers, business models, and customer conversations. Art is about intent and communication, not substances.”

And here’s is a post from the Harvard Business Review

http://blogs.hbr.org/maeda/2009/12/why-business-leaders-should-ac.html

So the gauntlet has been thrown.

What do you think, you business majors out there?

No one goes away empty-handed

I love discovering people who live in an inspired way.  Derek Sivers is such a person.  It’s not enough that he is the king of DIY for musicians everywhere, creating CD Baby and other businesses.  He is a messenger of ideas, his own and others’.

I find his blog inspiring not just because I’m a a musician, or because he is so knowledgeable about the music industry.  I like it because it is loaded with hope.  With new thinking that turns the conventional on it’s head and says why not try something else?  This post is a great example.

Emphasize meaning over price = More paid sales

The idea comes from Terry McBride of Nettwerk.  This excerpt gives the very simple gist of it.

If you are a performing musician that sells CDs at your shows, please consider this:

1. Say to the audience, “It’s really important to us that you have our CD.  We worked so hard on it and are so proud of it, that we want you to have it, no matter what.  Pay what you want, but even if you have no money, please take one tonight.”

2. Mention this again before the end of the show, adding, “Please, nobody leave here tonight without getting a copy of our CD.  We’ve shared this great show together so it would mean a lot to us if you’d take one.”

It changes the request from a commerical pitch to an emotional connection.  (Replace market mindset with social mindset!)  Allowing them to get a CD for no money just reinforces that

Besides the audacity of this kind of gesture/business model/community-building approach, I think I like it because it reflects a mission-driven path as opposed to a profit-driven one.  And I think that the mission driven approach brings more long-term (ie; your whole life) security.

It is also exciting because it requires re-examining  the way I think about CD’s-making them and selling them.  As well as re-thinking their role in my career/musical work.  I can’t wait to try it.

What do you think?

And check out Derek’s blog for many more great ideas.