October 10, 2013


changing of seasons, fall, autumn, summer, winter, music
Not San Diego, but this sure is beautiful nonetheless! Fall is here.
One of my friends recently asked me what inspires me to write music.  For every musician I think you might find a different answer, although there are some common threads.  Powerful emotions like love, sadness, and anger; life successes and failures; great stories or significant events; and both technical and auditory appreciation for music top my personal list.  There is also a particular time of year that puts me into an introspective mindframe that always brings me back to songwriting, too.

Every year when the Fall season sets in, I awaken with newfound energy, motivation, and passion for life.  Especially here in San Diego, the crisp, cool, clean air sneaks up and makes me nostalgic of good times past.  While I do love the sun (there's nothing quite like a nice hot day at the beach here, that's for sure), something about the crisp air and occasional rainfall is thoroughly refreshing and clears my mind.

Even the beach takes on a new, positive character, and when I manage to get out on my surfboard the cold feel of the ocean reminds me of the power of nature; not that it isn't powerful when the water is warmer, by any means -- but something about the cold makes it slightly less comfortable, slightly less conducive to survival on a primal level than warmer waters, even with a wetsuit.  And on a subconscious and a conscious level, this makes me more alert than usual, more inspired, and the session takes on a new level of Fun.  Not to mention, the cold and grey can be so beautiful sometimes, so real.

This feeling continues all the way to my practice studio where I pick up my guitar and put my amp on standby so the tubes can heat up.  I don't know if anyone else has this experience, but when it's a little chilly outside and it's raining, simply entering a building takes on a whole new meaning.  In a small way, getting under cover feels reassuringly safe and warm, whereas normally it just feels like, well... walking into a building.  And when the building is my practice studio, getting out from the cold and into a familiar place is that much more reassuring and exciting.  Guitars, music, friends, good times...yes.  This is fun.

When the amp is warm, earplugs are in, and music is being created, there's a level of inspiration that starts to come from the moods and mind-state formed earlier in the day.  The joys and pitfalls of the day start coming out as notes, melodies, and subtle nuances in my playing.  Even songs that are already written can take on new character, or new meaning as they're played through a little differently than before.  The soundscape becomes my playground, and I can shape it however I'd like.  Almost like a lucid dream, but real.

The best part about the late September/early October months is that I wake up every day with this feeling awaiting me.  The second I step outside and take my first breath, it's apparent to me that autumn has arrived and it reminds me that I'm in for some of the best weeks of the year.  Let's not forget about the holidays around the corner, either, which is a bonus.

Starting every day with this type of refreshing feeling and mindset provides much inspiration for writing music, and shaping music that's already written but potentially unfinished.  Certain emotions or events may still take center stage in shaping the meaning of a song, but the changing of the seasons will still likely be buried in the subtleties of my playing if nothing else. :-)

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