This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2016a) for the previous blog.
Year 2016: 5th Observation Part a
Whilst I was making headway with the development of my music praxis – significant headway in my opinion – , my actual production plan still did not have the degree of clarity I had hoped for after four (4) weeks. I therefore decided to go through each step of my Praxis v5a in terms of my production process, deliberately and systematically.
Figure I – Praxis v5a (Page 2016b)
In following this process I made my 5th Observation.
Figure II – 5th Observation (Page 2017)
Of the five (5) stages of practice, I was in the first stage of creative practice: the creative stage.
In the creative stage, I brainstormed a number of Project 1 creative ideas based on my project brief. The five (5) track EP was to be representative of some aspect of my life: past, present or future envisioning.
The 1st element of praxis that was accounted for was, self: a representative aspect of my life. I therefore needed to focus on my self motive for practice: why I was wanting to do what I did in music-making.
Motive/s for practice
In terms of the second (2nd) element of praxis, my motives for practice within this Doctoral Pilot Study was that of (but not restricted only to):
Discovery: accepting music-making practice as a medium to explore – attempting to understand something which I hadn’t understood previously; deriving pleasure from discovering something new (Csikszentmihalyi 1996, 109);
a second motive was:
Technical: accepting music-making practice as a medium to practice my craft, and to develop my craft skills technically;
a third motive was:
Affective: accepting music-making practice as a technology for emotional construction within both the artist/performer and the listener (Denora 2001, 168). I also understood emotions would guide my decisions in music-making and therefore I needed to acknowledge this third motive was potentially both a conscious and an unconscious motivator (Appelhans & Luecken 2006, 229).
a fourth motive was:
Aesthetic: accepting music-making practice as a technology to generate an aesthetic experience for the artist/performer and the listener (Denora 2001, 168; Csikszentmihalyi & Robinson 1990, 7).
a fifth motive was:
Creative: accepting music-making practice as a technology to engage in creative flow, following a creative process of preparation, incubation, insight, evaluation and elaboration (Csikszentmihalyi 1996, pp 79-80).
and a sixth motive was:
Social: accepting music-making practice as a social – interactive – process between the artist/performer and the listener (Small 1998, 10; Denora 2001, 168). Additional to a motive for practice, I understood my need to also have a motive for the creative piece – the song. Since my re-connecting with music at university, I had found I was less inclined to engage in the practice of song-writing just for the sake of creating. I found I had to have a purpose to create, something to say: a message. I have for many years referred to this alignment of my motive to practice, and the output of the practice – the cultural production – as being congruent, or not. Taylor & Littleton (2012, 121) refer to this “fit or congruence between” the practitioner and the practice as “personalisation”.
I did not consider the remaining motives to be so relevant at this point in time for me. I wasn’t however discounting that they may become motives within this pilot study at any point in the future, as often was the case:
Educational: to demonstrate specific music-making practice to my students, live or in preparation;
Physical: to use music-making practice as a medium for physical expression, for exercise;
Commercial: to use music-making practice as a medium for income generation purposes.
Focussed message for the creative production
It was now time to create, and therefore a question in my mind was:
what specifically was this to mean in terms of this specific composition?
what was my over-arching message for this Project 1 Pilot Study cultural production going to be? I knew from past experience that I had to decide on a Project 1 theme as early as I could, in order to move on in the process of creating. My intervention into my creative process seemed to abstract: it seemed too global. What was a more grounded motive, a more grounded message to be?
thirdly – attached to the element of motive – is that of song mood. What was the likely song mood to be? Happy? sad? focussed and directed? melancholic? dancy? jovial? (Kemp 1996, 2). I guessed it was likely going to be somewhat melancholic given the underlying theme of intervention as a result of years of frustration at being unable to realise my creative goals. But as I had not decided upon a creative practice message at this time, it was all a bit up in the air.
As per usual past practice when I was in this type of creative quandary, I turned to media for inspiration. An i-Note reflective journal entry at this time:
“Over the past few days, I have watched a number of videos, each of which I bought many years ago… And yet now – at this place and time – I am no longer inspired by these. ……” (Page 2016c)
Shortly after, another entry developed this idea:
“Humans hoard things for tomorrow. Humans instinctively hoard things, originally food items, in readiness for tomorrow, preparing for a cold, hard winter when there was primitive housing and arduous weather conditions. My hoarding of music and movie DVDs was not perhaps for the yesterdays when I bought them, but for tomorrow, when I NEED them…..” (Page 2016c)
I was not connecting to an idea, so I scoured my book shelves, and even poured back through my many filing cabinet drawers of ideas. Still not one particular idea that stood out to me. I accepted that it was part of the creative preparation process , but was not without frustration. In order to progress the creative process without deciding on a message that I connected to, I felt I had other choice but to just move on, and take the next step in my Praxis 5a.
This blog series is planned to continue next month with Doctoral Pilot Study Part 2b (Page 2016d). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
Appelhans, Bradley M and Linda J Luecken. 2006. “Heart rate variability as an index of regulated emotional responding.” Review of general psychology 10 (3): 229.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. 1996. Creativity: flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: Harper Perennial.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly and Rick Emery Robinson. 1990. The art of seeing: an interpretation of the aesthetic encounter. Santa Monica: Getty Publications.
Denora, Tia. 2001. “Aesthetic agency and musical practice: new directions in the sociology of music and emotion.” In Music and emotion: theory and research, edited by Patrik N Juslin and John A Sloboda, 161-180. Oxford: 2001.
Kemp, Anthony E. 1996. The musical temperament. New York: Oxford University Press.