Research Practitioner Part 22

onion-layers

Research Study

Abstract

The aim of this Doctor of Creative Industries Research Project is to investigate both my DIY music practice and my self as a practitioner during the process of creating and producing a cultural artefact (EP).  My research study is designed to be a multi-method qualitative study: a practice-based, ethnographic study that is to include a first-person narrative of my personal journey, critical reflection and reflexive practice, highlighting the co-constituted nature of my music-making practice. As an auto-ethnographic study, I designed the project for me to be performing the dual primary roles of being both the practitioner as subject, and the researcher. Such a multi-tiered examination represents a significant departure from current discussion of music practice, developing praxis of contemporary music practice. In this Project 1 research study exegesis submission I narrate the process to date, highlighting observation around my practitioner self, and my music practice and the emergent distinctions integrated into my developing music praxis.

~DL with Gretsch + C414.20141006.P21

(DLP 2015a)

Preamble

In the beginning……

My journey in music-making commenced a number of decades ago. I made music via physical instruments without much thought of the process. I strummed chords on a guitar or piano, hummed or played a melodic phrase, developed lyrics, and over time a song emerged. I felt connected to the process; I felt connected to the music. I recall getting positive feedback when I shared my acoustic instrument-based songs with an audience. I followed this process several hundred times over several decades, and because of the relative ease these songs came to me, I did not feel a need to consider my music-making process.
As technologies developed, I transitioned into music-making using digital virtual technologies. I invested in virtual technologies, trialling a number of virtual music-making applications – digital audio workstations (DAWs). I experimented; I spoke to local pro audio retailers; I experimented some more; I bought instructional books and videos; I studied; I experimented a lot more. Over a number of years however, I found that irrespective of how much time and money I invested into my virtual music-making production practice, I never managed to achieve a similar flow or a similar feeling – a creative high – as I had music-making using physical instruments. My frustration using virtual technologies to make music grew. I enrolled into a practical tertiary course. The course assisted me greatly to develop my theory and practical skills. However, using virtual technologies to make music that I felt connected to, (largely) continued to elude me. There was one instance, a remix project where I felt a connection. That experience gave me hope that my attempts to use virtual technologies to make music I felt connected to, was not going to be in vain. I continued to experiment; I continued to read; I continued to invest; I continue to immerse my self into my virtual music-making production practice. However, I still found I wasn’t achieving a similar flow or a similar feeling – a creative high – using virtual technologies to make music as I had music-making using physical instruments. My frustration was at an all-time high. I had arrived at a juncture in my life where I felt there was now no alternative: my virtual music-making production practice needed an intervention. I needed to put my creative practice using virtual technologies to make music under scrutiny. In 2014 I applied to a formal academic research program – a professional doctorate program. I commenced the program in 2015. My formal research journey began.

My doctoral research study……

Research Study – 1st Observation:
As I attempted to scope out my research study,  I was led to look at the industry of my practice, the field of music production, and the particular discipline of virtual technologies to make music. This process revealed gaps in my knowledge, and enabled me to form linkages across several strands within the field of contemporary music production. My eyes were now open.
Starting Point_1st Observation.P2a
(DLP 2017a)
I also started to consider my self, as the music-maker. Who was I? How did I arrive to be this person? What motivated me to practice?
Research Study – 2nd Observation:
I then looked in greater detail at the history of my practice, understanding for perhaps the first time how I approached my music-making practice. I acknowledged that I approached my music-making practice in terms of the outcome – the finished product. I was not considering the process in which I was music-making, any more than with a cursory glance. My music-making practice was product-driven.

Starting Point_1st Observation.P1.png

(DLP 2017b)
I also recognised that I approached my music-making with physical instruments in a different manner to my approach to music-making using virtual technologies (using my laptop to make music for example). In drilling down I determined that much of this was how I viewed both devices.
Physical instruments as I played were derived directly from nature. Pianos and guitars that I played were manufactured from woods from the forest. They are physical instruments that have natural resonant qualities. The woods expand and contract, depending upon temperature and humidity. They are large instruments that I can touch, embrace and/or feel the resonant qualities as they are played.
I viewed virtual technologies very differently. The actual device that housed the music-making application software (DAW) was a computer (a laptop for example). I saw a laptop as a device that houses many many application software that enabled me to record data and/or make transactions. I used computer technologies for administrative purposes (applications such as iNote, word, excel, etc); organisation purposes (applications such as iCal, reminders, etc); and everyday personal and business management (services such as the internet-based social media sites, banking sites, utility sites to pay bills, etc). I viewed the music-making application software (DAW) as somewhat removed from me. It was housed in a aluminium and plastic case, that I could see, but not touch. The virtual keyboards were   engaged by pressing a computer keyboard letter;  or perhaps a key on a plastic physical keyboard controller. Neither devices are derived directly from nature. They are manufactured. A computer and a keyboard controller are physical devices which also have natural resonant qualities. They only minimally expand and contract in extreme conditions, with such occurrences perhaps likely to render these devices inoperable. There is also a slight delay between the time you touch the key and having the sound emitted out of the computer monitors. They are not what I consider to be large resonant devices that can be embraced and/or feel the resonant qualities as they are played, such as I experience with a piano or guitar.
Research Study Phase 1 – 3rd Observation:
As I progressed my research study, investigating my music-making practice, I started to highlight certain elements which I considered key to my practice. As a flow on from my music-making practice, I acknowledged that the self was an element that could not be overlooked.
Phase 1_3rd Observation.P3b
(DLP 2017c)
By mid-way through my first year of research, my music praxis (v4) had six (6) elements listed: self, motive, music style, location, technology and workflow.
dlp-music-praxis-v4-large-with-lines-20151203-p1
(DLP 2015b)
My research study was to be an investigation to determine what – if any – relationship existed between these elements. I engaged in conscious, deliberate and systematic reflective and reflexive practice of my creative practice, and as part of this process I felt obligated to consider everything that I observed.
As I progressively immersed myself into my quite isolated research study, I began to focus in on what I was doing at any point in time, as both the practitioner subject and the observer/researcher. To juggle both responsibilities was not beyond challenge and limitations. How was I to do both – be the creative practitioner, and simultaneously observe my practice?
Research Study Phase 1 – 5th Observation:
One of the first elements I noted to be part of my developing music praxis (v5) – beyond the initial six (6) elements I had observed at the time of my Project Brief submission – was listening. I noticed listening was central to agency within my practice. Listening directed my choices and decision-making within my practice in terms of music style – in my ability to critically and analytically listen to reference tracks; in terms of my selecting appropriate notes and/or sonic event samples during the creative, pre-production or production stages; in terms of hearing needed or possible options of contra-melodies, rhythms, harmonies or instrumentation during the creative, pre-production or production stages; in terms of determining the degree of adjustment of sound sources or processing that needed to occur during the production or post-production stages.

Phase 1_5th Observation.P5b

(DLP 2017d)
I started to observe that a central aspect of this listening was also in terms of my practice overall, such as deciding when I needed to have a break. Yes, listening to an inner voice, reminding me I was in need a break from creative practice. I started to notice by paying more attention to my self – to listening to my self – there was a great deal of head chatter occurring while I was engaged in practice.

 

DLP DCI Praxis v5i.20160531.P1
(DLP 2016a)
I had always known of my head chatter, but had accepted it by my mid-twenties as the outpouring of my inner fears as I approached a new experience. By my early-thirties I had learnt to manipulate this head-chatter, to work for me rather than against me. I used my head chatter to consciously motivate and focus my self. I have continued to develop this practice throughout my life, assisting me in preparing for any form of performance, be it: public speaking, education practice (as educator), learning practice (as learner in formal instrument or personal development), and my music practice (on stage performing). However, I had never considered, nor explored my head chatter beyond this; particularly within the context of my creative practice.
As I listened more, I recognised that this head chatter – inner speech – did not just consist of just one voice, but were in fact multiple voices; multiple voices with multiple perspectives. As I focussed in on my listening – consciously, deliberately and systematically – I realised these voices were not necessarily independent. There was often a dialogue occurring between them. As I honed my focus and developed my inner listening, I noticed that the dialogue within my head was occurring across three perspectives of time – one of now; one of past; and one of future. In effect, three voices representative of each point in time. As Wiley (2010, P17) refers to it: the I of the present; the me of the past; and the you of the future. An epiphany. A light bulb moment, an ‘aha’ moment for me. The head chatter – as I had always referred to it – that had accompanied me in so many events and stage of my life, was indeed the inner speech of my dialogic self.
As my immersion in reflective and reflexive practice of my research study deepened, I honed in on the incessant daily dialogue of my dialogical self and began to distinguish between the inner speech – the three inner voices, the triadic voices of the I, the me, and the you – for each of my three selves operating at any point in time within the site of my practice: the self, the practitioner self and the observer/researcher self. I would take time to listen to the dialogue at any point in time during my creative practice, as they considered and debated: what I was seeing or observing, what I was hearing, what I was feeling, what I was imagining, what I was recalling, what I was smelling, or even what I was tasting; in order to better understand my music praxis. I devised ways to take notes during my practice of these daily triadic conversations, in order to return to them, reflect on them, and decode them. My music praxis developed as a result of this process, to not only acknowledge significantly more stages and elements of my music-making process; but, perhaps most significantly, the non-linear form of my music praxis (v8i).

DLP DCI Praxis v8i.20161231.P1.png

(DLP 2016b)
I realised my music praxis was in fact very circular, with reflective and reflexive practice occurring constantly at any point in time. ­
My practice has now developed to the point where I can engage in multiple forms of listening whilst immersed and engaged in any stage of practice. I can now distinguish between the triadic voices of my three selves: the self, the practitioner self and the observer/researcher self in the present, the past, and the future within a very short amount of time, or sometimes, almost instantaneously and/or simultaneously. Just as my critical and analytical listening has developed over many decades of practice, my ability to listen and decipher the dialogue occurring within my dialogical selves at any point in time has also developed.
I liken this developed complex skill to other forms of practice where multiple tasks are required in sequence over a very short amount of time, often times almost instantaneously and/or simultaneously. The practice of driving a car and the practice of performing are similar type complex skills that need to be learnt; and are often awkward or impossible when one first attempts them with no prior experience. The act of driving a car – accelerating, braking, looking to the side for another car, indicating, moving lanes, whilst watching cars to the side, in front and behind is an example of such a complex task. Another example of a complex task would be leading a band, singing into a microphone, engaging an audience, playing guitar, and selecting guitar floor pedals, over a very short amount of time, often times almost instantaneously and/or simultaneously. I recall when I was younger, that I would never be able to learn how to do both complex tasks. Now I reflect on how many times a year I engage in both practices without any preparation, and perform them to a very high level of practice: almost unconsciously.
Learning about, and getting to know my dialogical self has assisted my music practice exponentially. As part of the process, I have developed a greater understanding of my self which in turn informed my practitioner self. This in turn allowed me to develop my music praxis to a greater depth and level of detail than I was able to previously. I now have far greater agency of my praxis (v9i), and its twenty-one (21) interdependent elements, at each of the various eight (8) stages of my creative practice.
DLP DCI Praxis v9i.20170420.P1
(DLP 2017e)
As a result, I have far greater agency of my praxis (v9i) while music-making. I am now exponentially more focussed and more deliberate in my practice, most noticeably in my music-making within virtual technologies. I have found my self now responding within my music-making micro workflow in a similar vein to that of my performing – improvising – on my long-term physical instrument of choice, the electric guitar. I observe that I now engage – almost instantaneously and/or simultaneously – in the voices of the I, the me, and the you – at any point in time, within my site/s of practice. A split second in-practice, on-practice and for-practice dialogue – in performance, in assessment of what the practitioner self just heard or performed, in consideration of what options the practitioner self now has before them, their decision as to what they want to express, and the performing of the next music-making action. Yes, a fluid practice performance that demonstrates the harmonious integration of the elements of self, listening, reflective and reflexive practice. In essence: I listen, I practice, I reflect, I analyse, I consider, I choose, I prepare to act, I act – almost instantaneously and/or simultaneously.
This research study Project 1 has been a personal journey of creative and research practice, highlighting the co-constituted nature of my music-making practice. I now engage in the process of music-making in pursuit of authentic expression of self, irrespective of the medium. My authentic music-making practice – in contrast to my practice prior to engaging in this doctoral research – now transgresses the mediums of: physical instruments and virtual technologies. I now have a sense of who I am, what I am attempting to create, why I am attempting to create it, and an affective connection in the creation of it, irrespective of the medium of my music-making practice – physical instruments or virtual technologies. Virtual technologies are now as much an extension of my music-making practitioner self’s body, as playing my physical instrument of choice, the electric guitar. Allow me now to share my finding of this research study Project 1 – Holistic model to authentic practice – my journey and development through the four (4) phases of: identity-driven practice, value-driven practice, narrative-based practice, and embodied practice.
DCI Project 1 Model Graphic_Overview.20170607.P1c1.png
(DLP 2017f)
References
DLP 2017a image courtesy of David L Page Project 1 Research Study Holistic Model of an Authentic Practitioner Created 2nd June, 2017
DLP 2017b image courtesy of David L Page Project 1 Research Study Holistic Model of an Authentic Practitioner Created 2nd June, 2017
DLP 2017c image courtesy of David L Page Project 1 Research Study Holistic Model of an Authentic Practitioner Created 2nd June, 2017
DLP 2017d image courtesy of David L Page Project 1 Research Study Holistic Model of an Authentic Practitioner Created 2nd June, 2017
DLP 2017e image courtesy of David L Page Project 1 Research Study Developed Praxis Created 2nd June, 2017
DLP 2017f image courtesy of David L Page Project 1 Research Study Developed Praxis v9i  Created 20th May, 2017
DLP 2017c image courtesy of David L Page Project 1 Research Study Developed – Holistic Model of Authentic Practice Created 2nd June, 2017
DLP 2016a image courtesy of David L Page Project 1 Research Study Developed Praxis v5  Created 31st May, 2016
DLP 2016b image courtesy of David L Page Project 1 Research Study Developed Praxis v8i  Created 31st December, 2016
DLP 2015a image courtesy of David L Page. Created 14th September, 2015
DLP 2015b image courtesy of David L Page Project 1 Research Study Developed Praxis v5  Created 4th December, 2015
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 28th March, 2015
Wiley, Norbert. 2010. “Inner speech and agency.” In Conversations about reflexivity, edited by Margaret S. Archer, 17-38. New York: Routledge
– @David L Page 17/05/2017
– updated @David L Page 30/05/2017
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

 

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Memory – Age 20 Part 2

Brett Whitely.P5
(Kent 2012)
This is another in-situated recollection of what I consider to have been a significant event in my life, when I was Age 20.

Herein, after…..

Herein, after …..(passage to the afterlife))©David L Page 2016
Verse 1: What I knew has vanished all around
My world has turned inside out
there is over here, and here is over there
I am dizzy from the spinning
What’s this all about?

 

Verse 2: The oceans have parted, and sucked me in ….
I can feel it forcing its way down on top of me..
I have strained every muscle trying to withstand it
my chest is caving in, I can’t breathe
my down is up, and my up is down
The Big Blue.P2(The Big Blue 1988)
Verse 3: Seconds pass like hours
my arms explode from the load
my chest gives in to the pressure,
the weight of a thousand houses hits me
I can see my own blood flow

 

Verse 4: I swallow an entire ocean
And start to float upward like seaweed
Fish swim past not knowing
who I am, where I have been

Whale shark

Verse 5: I can no longer feel a thing..
No breath, no sensation,
no pins or needles, no pain
a seahorse swims past not knowing
who I am, where I have come from

 

Chorus: something happened,
I am not aware of
my down is up, and my up is down
the sea swims past not knowing
who I am, where I have come from

Underwater Image.P2

(Peterson 2017)
I float like a leaf in a winter breeze
my time (in the after life) has just begun….
my world turned upside down
my down is up, and my up is down
my arms gave in, my chest gave out
my time (in the after life) has just begun….
Now my down is up, and my up is down
Now my down is up, and my up is down
Now my down is up, and my up is down
I float off now….
Never ….
to ….
be …..
found….
Page, David L. 2016. “Herein, after (passage to the afterlife)” ©David L Page 2016.  This audio event represents a developed sense of my recollection of this significant event. 
Celestial Galaxy.P1
This the last blog in this Project 1 series. The next blog in the Project 2 series is Memory – Age 21.
References
Big Blue, The. 1988. The Big Blue  Accessed 2nd January, 2017
Celestial Galaxy image courtesy of: Celestial Galaxy Accessed 2nd January, 2017
Underwater Fish image courtesy of: Underwater scene Accessed 2nd January, 2017
Peterson, Allan. 2012. Underwater Cathedral Light image courtesy of: Allan Peterson Accessed 2nd January, 2017
Page, David L. 2016. “Herein, after (passage to the afterlife)” ©David L Page 2016
Page, David L 2014a  David L Page’s About.me  Accessed 16th October, 2014
Herein, after (passage to the afterlife) …. audio link courtesy of: David L Page  Accessed 2nd January, 2017
Kent, Harry. 2012. Brett Whiteley’s Ghost  Accessed 2nd January, 2017
– ©David L Page 09/12/2016
– updated ©David L Page 02/01/2017
– updated ©David L Page 30/01/2017
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

Memory – Introduction

QUT Industries logo

Context

The series of memory blogs that follow this Introductory blog are part of David L Page’s creative process – reflecting on selected significant events in the early stages of his life, and associating sonic and musical textures that best represent his memory of those significant events. The collection of associative memories will then be formed into a composition – The Dark Years: A Boy Who Was Beaten – which David L Page will produce as a fifteen (15) minute soundtrack of the first stage of his life. This cultural artefact is to make up one part of his Doctoral Project 1 submission. 

Doctoral Research Study Abstract

The aim of this Doctor of Creative Industries Research Project is to investigate both my DIY music practice and my self as a practitioner during the process of creating and producing a cultural artefact (EP).  My research study is designed to be a mixed-method qualitative study: a practice-based, ethnographic study that is to include a first-person narrative of my personal journey, critical reflection and reflexive practice, highlighting the co-constituted nature of my music practice. As an auto-ethnographic study, I designed the project for me to be performing the dual primary roles of being both the practitioner as subject, and the researcher. Such a multi-tiered examination represents a significant departure from current discussion of music practice, developing praxis of contemporary music practice. In this Project 1 research study exegesis submission I narrate the process to date, highlighting observation around my practitioner self, and my music practice and the emergent distinctions integrated into my developing music praxis.

Blog Posts as part of the Reflective Practice journaling process

Welcome to David L Page’s recollection of his story. 
These blogs are David’s attempt to share his recollection of the most significant events of the early stages of his life, as best as he can – events that David believes have shaped the development of his self, or the development of his musical self. 
The deep reflective practice process David engaged in as part of his creative practice, saw him over some time, situating himself back in time, delving deeper and deeper into the place and the event. Of course, as much as he could possibly do decades after an event, when so much distance has occurred in terms of time and place – David’s aim was to recall as much of the kinaesthetic, the auditory, the visual, the olfactory, or even the gustatory sensations of the particular time and place – of that particular significant event. This is not entirely a new experience for David, merely describing the process he has always intuitively put himself through in his creative practice endeavours, particularly in his music practice – creation, performance, or production. The difference in this research study is however, David had to learn how to more consciously focus in on the selected suite of significant events – at a scheduled time – to more deliberately situate him self back in time, whilst recording the data of each of his in-situation experiences.  
You will notice that the various blog posts – more often than not – David has included associated visuals or images, to accompany  the written text, along with the attached associative sonic and musical event. David’s intention was to be able to share his in-situation experience with his audience as much as he could.  David trust’s these blogs will appeal to either the kinaesthetic, the auditory, or the visual senses of the audience. With more advanced technology, or perhaps an alternative medium, David would like to – in the not too distant future – also share his in-situation olfactory and  gustatory sensation experience with his audience. 

David L Page’s Reflective Practice process

David requested for it to be noted: the output of each reflection of a significant event arrived as a result of a range of catalysts. David found his deep reflective re-expereinces occurred as a result of a range of catalysts used stimulate memory recall. These included: a calendar date; a visual image in a photo album for example, a book – quote, passage, or once just the cover – , a magazine – with handwritten notes in the borders, the internet – pictures or articles, or his vast stock of past writings – streams, prose in working, lyrics in working.  On a few occasions the catalyst was something David saw in life that reminded him of a time or place; at other times a blurred visual image or colour that reminded him of a past time, place, or event; at other times, a sonic texture he heard in his head situated him back in time; or by a sound he heard as he conducted himself in his every day life.  At other times, an old song or piece of music, a musical phrase or motif that triggered a memory – something in someone else’s composition, on occasion something he played on an instrument ; at other times, it was a smell – weather, forest, water, toilet freshener, food cooking; at other times, it was a taste – some deliberate, others by accident; and at other times, it was a feeling he had, and recalled a past time, place or event. On many occasions, it was while he was working in another form of practice, something was said or happened that triggered a memory. David noted these down on a phone message or in iNotes, to return to explore them to a greater depth when he had the time to reflect, and more deeply drill down into the particular event.
However, what ever the catalyst,  it was unusual for David not to have reverted to the written word at some point in this deep reflective process.  At the base of all of David’s practice, lies writing in some style, form, or medium. More often than not in practice, David engaged in streaming his consciousness onto the page – physical or virtual.   This streaming could have been just ramblings from his mind, not quite sure yet of what he wanted to say, but trusting he had to get it out, and down onto the page for some greater future benefit. All writings after all,  were to make up the wide range of data to be collected in this research study Project 1. Therefore, David made a special effort not to judge the merit or worth of that data at the time – in the moment of performance of his practice, at any particular time. He gathered it all. Often, emotions accompanied these streamings, deepening the in-situation experience. Sometimes these emotions were easily tapped; but most often David had to draw his self in over many hours, days, weeks or months, in order to arrive at what he could finally accept was the essence of that particular significant event. More often, possibly than David would like to admit, tears flowed as his in-stuation experience intensified, reassuring his self of the value and merit of this significant event and the particular in-situation experience, at that time.  Sometimes a narrative flowed out of this streaming in the form of a tale; at other times, as prose; at other times, as song-type lyrics; and at other times, distinctions regarding his self, or any one of the forms of his practice – be it creative, research – reflective and reflective, or education and learning. [for more information about a multi-faceted/multi-dimensional approach to practice, see  Research Practitioner Part 16   blog].
In terms of this Research Study Project – and most particularly – this series of deep reflective memory blogs – he observed that there was no particular order of the stimulations. On some occasions  David commenced in the digital audio workstation (DAW), composing from whatever memories he held of the significant event at the time – associating sonic or musical textures that he felt best represented those occasions, and assisted to return him to the in-stutation experience. At other times, David began in an excel chart, reflecting on the significant event, and allowing thoughts, feelings, images and aural events to return him to the in-stutation experience. On other occasions, David used the writing process to return him to the in-stutation experience. 
However, irrespective of what practice or what medium David commenced the deep reflective process, David recycled through most of these processes and mediums – usually multiple times – in no particular order. With each cycle, David deepened the level and intensity of experience, in order to arrive at a deep reflective in-stutation experience,  to gather the range of data for this research study Project 1. You will therefore observe in the following sixteen (16) blogs, a variety of layouts, formats, writing styles, graphics or images; along with accompanying links to an equally wide variety of associative sonic and musical textured events.
David’s hopes, as you join him in his journey back to the first stage of his life,  you will start to hear his voice emerge through the multi-modal narratives of these sixteen (16) significant events. He trusts you will get a sense of how David gains clarity of his self, as he gains a better understanding of his identity, musical identity,  and how his musical self developed over the first twenty years of his life. This research study was always to be an immersive study; a a first-person narrative of David L Page’s personal journey, critical reflection and reflexive practice, highlighting the co-constituted nature of his music practice.
We welcome you to his journey….. 
[NB: Included in each memory blog is a link/s to the associative sonic and musical textures that David feels best represent his in-situation memory of each of the particular significant events].

Message from David L Page

~DLP Pro Image Fun 5b small.20141020

Overview

In the early 1990’s I returned home to Australia following a very productive period in creative practice overseas “performing and writing, including recording and experimenting in production. It was a wonderful period for me – one that I hoped would never end” (Page 2014). I recall I arrived home with a new self-image in terms of my creative practice.
In an attempt to develop my practice for my next stage of life, I undertook a number of creative writing courses. The outcome of these programs were a number of pieces of prose, of key moments within my life while I was growing up [see for example, Boy].  A number of the instructors and peers at the time noted my ability to re-situate my self back into the moment of a past event, in some way re-experiencing that experience, in order to then write about it. It was a technique I had developed and practiced, already using this technique across some of the forms of creative writing I engaged in – streaming my consciousness and song lyrics. This technique applied to writing lyrics aligned with my desired confessional singer-songwriter role. A really positive outcome of these creative writing courses was not only the prose, but perhaps more so, my acceptance of this practice as a conscious, deliberate process that I could now apply to another form of my creative writing, prose.
In early 2014, as I was re-considering the focus of my Doctoral Research Study (I had already been accepted), I began brainstorming my journey as a music practitioner. I was very keen on reflecting on more eras, to recall:
how had I arrived at where I was at as a music practitioner?
what life experiences had influenced who I was, or wasn’t, as a music practitioner?
I wanted to articulate these key life experiences into a fluid narrative – my autobiography – of my journey to date. I did return to some of the prose written in the early 1990’s as well as other pieces of creative writing I had done at other times across my life. This reflective exploration took several months, resulting in the narrative overview, Music Practitioner Part 1 – Beginnings (MP Pt1 – Beginnings) blog. I would like it noted though: when I first started writing this autobiography, I had no thought or consideration about doing a soundtrack around my life’s significant events. I had considered at this stage that I would write in the style that I had always done – in an acoustic folk pop song musical style.
Fast forward to 2016 with me now engaged in my Project 1, some 25 months after I had written the MP Pt1 – Beginnings blog, In my search for a thematic idea for my compositions (songs), I started focussing in on more specific events across my life. This then led to another event, and then another, and then another. This process spanned approxiamtely four (4) to five (5) months, arriving as some thirty-five (35) significant events. I then considered how I was going to derive a musical project out of these significant events, arriving at the idea of focussing in on associative memories of each of the significant events. I would – through reflection – associate musical and sonic events for each of the significant event;  and then craft the sum of these associative memory events into a soundtrack as the cultural production output for my research study.  A musical and sonic collage of my life, if you like.
I knew a challenge for me was going to be to contain the length of the composition – short enough to maintain listener interest; and yet long enough to authentically represent the sum of these significant events. But with thirty-five (35) significant events, it was going to be too long a composition for one Project. I however noted that there was a natural division within the significant events of two time frames that I could possibly divide between my Research Study Project 1 and Project 2: up until twenty (20) years of age; and post-twenty (20) years of age. I decided that it would be logical to have Project 1 represent the associative memories of the first twenty (20) years of my life.
I started experimenting with some sonic events, directly inside the digital audio workstation (DAW). Whilst I gained confidence with my vision, I found that I easily lost focus within each event, and could create some musical or sonic events that were less authentic, less congruent to me of an associated memory. The blogs evolved as a way to more specifically focus in on a range of highlighted events, drawing my self into each of them to determine the actual particular significance of the event. I found by immersing my self into each event via a number of written forms (prose, lyrics, narrative), I could deepen the in-situation experience, and better recall a range of kinaesthetic, auditory, visual, olfactory, or even gustatory sensations of the particular significant event. After experimenting across a number of these significant events, I learnt to trust the physical and emotional responses of these in-situation re-experiences as they occurred. For me, the actual sixteen (16) significant events narrated are real. Whilst immersed in this creative practice, I noted experiences including an inability to breathe, shortness of breath, nausea, headaches and body pain. I relived experiences that brought up emotional responses such as joy, sorrow, fear, sadness, nervousness, loneliness, loss, and feelings of abandonment and shame whilst in-stuating my self within these significant events, and writing these blogs.  My planned research study was always to have been a first-person narrative of my personal journey: an emergent study, revealing aspects of my life I had not previously considered fully, or perhaps fully understood. I expected this journey was potentially going to be revealing, and at times, confronting, True to my expectations, it has been.
I trust that you as the reader can in some way experience my re-experiences of significant events within my personal journey, that I now choose to share.

full-2

Re-experiencing the experience 1

Re-experiencing the experience 1 ©David L Page 2016
Just now,
I realise how much stress I am under
as I delve back into my past,
reflecting on,
and writing about
a particular significant event
in the earliest stage of my life…..

 

 

Whilst writing,
I can feel the tension within
my jaw is tense,
I can feel a pulsing down the side of my head
my forearms and fingers are cramping,
I note I am quite out of breath,
I can hear my heart pumping,
as though I have a stethoscope on
listening with so much intent

 

re-experiencing the experience,
of a particular significant event,
immersing my self back in time,
into a deeply reflective in-situation experience,
at the earliest point of my (life) time…..

 

All of my senses are heightened,
the visual,
the auditory,
the smell,
the taste
the emotion I feel within my body,
everything moving in slow mo (tion),
every thing around….

 

re-experiencing the experience,
of a particular significant event,
immersing my self back in time,
into a deeply reflective in-situation experience,
at the earliest point of my (life) time…..

 

 

whilst in the moment
– performing if you like –
deep in the in-situation experience,
deeply reflecting,
in many ways, re-living,
re-expereincing the feeling and emotion
of the particular time, place and event

 

“What is that strange taste?”, I thought
as I instinctively wiped my chin,
snapping back into the current moment,
I realised I had vomited,
mainly within my mouth,
but with evidence down my front

 

 I stepped back
– out of my painting as such –
for a split second,
and considered how I possibly felt back then
in that particular significant event,
such a  long time ago

 

re-experiencing the experience,
of a particular significant event,
immersing my self back in time,
into a deeply reflective in-situation experience,
at the earliest point of my (life) time…..

 

All of my senses are heightened,
the visual,
the auditory,
the smell,
the taste
the emotion I feel within my body,
everything moving in slow motion,
every thing around….

 

I had many similar in-situation experiences,
over the past six months time,
all whilst undertaking this research study,
into the significant events that made up my life,
from Age 3 to Age 20,
in the formative stage
of my growing
up…
I welcome you to my journey
re-experiencing the experience,
of sixteen (16) particular significant events..

 

immersing my self back in time,
into a deeply reflective in-situation experience,
in order for me to gain a better understanding of
my self,
my identity,
my musical identity,
and how my musical self has developed
over the first twenty years of my life…..
(Page 2016a).

 

In-situation re-experiences (aka deep reflective practice)

In-situation re-experiences (aka deep reflective practice) ©David L Page 2017
As you read…
I welcome you to feel…
But of all of the feelings that you can embrace,
please do not feel sorrow or pity …
it is not the point of this journey
that I am taking my self on…
The point of this journey – this process – is for me….
to work through significant events of my life,
to date
to reconcile what I have done in my life,
against what it is that I have wanted to realise,
but have not been able to succeed in,
yet…

 

It is perhaps not surprising
for those who know me,
you understand I am grateful for who I am,
where I have been,
where I have come from…

 

I am here,
as a result of all that has gone before me…
all that I have been through

 

I know my tales are not perhaps
what you’ve heard in other’s
worldly tales of their complicated lives,
some so horrific,
you wander how they lived to tell it at all…

 

I certainly do not want to minimise
those real life stories of
genuine pain, suffering and hardship

 

I have had the blessing of living a privileged life
though, living true to my self
in certain areas of life,
still evades me …

 

and so, I choose not to
let go of this investigation,
my self-imposed intervention process,
my auto-ethnographic research study
with me playing the subject,
and the observer
of the self

 

after all, what is a life for?
gain more understanding of who you are,
and perhaps learn better,
what you are here (on earth) for….

 

there is something in my journey,
that has caused me to be unsettled
for as long as I recall,
it is the point of this journey
that I  am taking on
the study of my self…

 

The point of this journey – this process – is for me….
to work through significant events of my life,
to date
to reconcile what I have done in my life,
against what it is that I have wanted to realise,
but have not been able to realise,
yet…
Without endorsing any behaviours or acts,
that you may realise along my journey,
I know that I am stronger
as a result..

 

Through this process
I am trying to understand,
what brought me to where I stand today..

 

Nothing more, nothing less…

 

So I welcome you to proceed..
I welcome you to reflect on what I have lived,
and where I have been ..
If this helps you understand a little bit more of either,
me….
perhaps you (your self)….
or perhaps someone else…
in which you have crossed paths,
then all the better …..

 

I believe we are all in this thing called life together,
whatever one experiences…
Hopefully others can benefit from our stories,
with lessons to learn,
understandings to gain
for everyone …
So without taking more time out of your busy schedule
I welcome you to engage in…
into any number of episodes in the early stage of life
of me
(Page 2017).

onion-layers

The next blog in this Project 1 series is Memory – Age 2.
References
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 28th March, 2015
Page, David L. 2017. “In situation re-experiences (aka deep reflective practice)” ©David L Page 2017
Page, David L. 2016a. “Re-experiencing the experience 1” ©David L Page 2016
Page, David L. 2016b.  Research Practitioner Part 16  Accessed 11th March, 2017
Page, David L. 2014.  Music Practitioner Part 1 – Beginnings  Accessed 11th March, 2017
Page, David L. 1991 Boy Accessed 11th March, 2017
Page, David L image courtesy of David L Page. Accessed 23rd October, 2016
Pulsating image courtesy of: Image Accessed 15th January, 2016
QUT Creative Industries image courtesy of:  Queensland University of Technology  Accessed 23rd October, 2016
– ©David L Page 24/10/2016
– updated ©David L Page 31/12/2016
– updated ©David L Page 11/03/2017
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

Memory – Age 4

DLP_Age 4_Cropped_Fade.P2

A Few Months Past Four….

A Few Months Past Four….©David L Page 2016
Verse 1: I recall going to kindy
A neighbour drove me with their children,
My local street kids – one the same age as me..
And his little sis
They dropped us off for the day….
It was in a local church,
on a very busy highway corner…
Not such a great place to be, I recall…..
I was only a few months past four…

Peter Rabbit.P1.png

(Daily Telegraph 2015)
Verse 2: The church steeple was a tall as the tallest tree I had ever seen..
It had a cross waiving in the wind above
dark and grey, serious and large
Taller than anything I had ever seen
Refrain: Not such a great place for a child I recall,
I was only a few months past four…
Chorus 1: I played games, but not without hesitation
Who were these other kids (who were there)?
Everyone running around and screaming…
Refrain: Not such a great place for a child I recall,
I was only a few months past four…
Verse 3: I remember around this time,
I messed my pants a lot, I recall,
Almost as though I didn’t know what to do
Feeling outside of my body, and
wondering what everything was about..
what is this skin thing that is wrapped around me?
What does it do, how do I know what to do?
Chorus 1: I played games, but not without hesitation
Who were these other kids (who were there)?
Everyone running around and screaming…
Refrain: Not such a great place for a child I recall,
I was only a few months past four…
Middle 16: And then, at about half-past one
forty (40) of us went into a large grand hall,
lights were low
as we lay down on some portable camp beds
with a blanket and a little pillow
they intended us to fall asleep
But I recall only being able to stay awake…
gazing up at the height of the cathedral ceiling ….
Or at the gigantic stain-glass windows
I can hear some kids coughing,
some sobbing,
some sleeping I recall,
there is just something about this time…
I would listen to the (near) silence
and allow me time, to be me…..
Chorus 1: I played games, but not without hesitation
Who were these other kids (who were there)?
Everyone running around and screaming…
Refrain: Not such a great place for a child I recall,
I was only a few months past four…
Return to Middle 16: they intended us to fall asleep
But I recall only being able to stay awake…
gazing up at the height of the cathedral ceiling ….
Or at the gigantic stain-glass windows
I can hear some kids coughing,
some sobbing,
some sleeping I recall,
there is just something about this time…
I would listen to the (near) silence
and allow me time, to be me…..
I was only a few months past four…
Chorus 1: I played games, but not without hesitation
Who were these other kids (who were there)?
Everyone running around and screaming…
Refrain: Not such a great place for a child I recall,
I was only a few months past four…
Return to Middle 16: I looked forward to this time every day…
gazing up at the height of the cathedral ceiling ….
Or at the gigantic stain-glass windows
I can hear some kids coughing,
some sobbing,
some sleeping I recall,
there is just something about this time…
that allows me time, for me…..
I was only a few months past four…
A Few Months Past Four….©David L Page 2016This audio event represents a developed sense of my recollection of this significant event. 
Peter Rabbit.P2
(War Memorial Register 2016)
The next blog in this Project 1 series is Memory – Age 5.
References
Daily Telegraphy. 2015. History of Pearces Corner on Pennant Hills Rd by Tom Richmond, Hornsby Advocate, September 4, 2015. Accessed 26th December, 2016
DLP image courtesy of: Slideshare  Accessed 27th December, 2016
Page, David L. 2016. “A Few Months Past Four….” ©David L Page 2016
DLP Soundcloud. 2016.  DLP Soundcloud  Accessed 27th December, 2016
War Memorial Register. 2016. Home of Peter Rabbit Kindergarten  Accessed 26th December, 2016
A Few Months Past Four …. audio link courtesy of: David L Page  Accessed 27th December, 2016
– ©David L Page 27/06/2016
– updated ©David L Page 28/12/2016
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

Music Practitioner Part 7

~DL with Gretsch + C414.20141006.P21
(DLP 2015)
To say that music is an integral part of my life I believe understates the importance of it for me. Music has been the one constant in my life, central to my being, accompanying me wherever I am, irrespective of whether I am physically playing, listening or internally listening via memory. Irrespective of the location, circumstance or event, music is within me. Music practice is not a choice for me; it is a necessity. I have practiced music for over four decades in multiple social and cultural contexts, and in significantly contrasting creative locations, such as a church choir singer, musician, songwriter, teacher, band member, producer, commercial songwriter, manager, solo artist, musician for hire, band leader, stage manager, artist coach, engineer (live and studio), and most recently an Electronic Music Producer and educator. I have engaged a (vast) range of technologies, using countless variations of workflow. I continue to practice music on a daily basis, engaging physical instruments, digital virtual technologies, or in the research, analysis, or listening to music styles. I embrace a broad definition of music practice (Small 1998; DeNora 2000; Wallis 2001; DeNora 2005; Hesmondhalgh 2013), with my practice currently including the preparation for and teaching audio at a higher education institute, a variety of contracted music projects from tracking to mixing, and examining my music practice through this doctoral research study.
Given my current motives for practice are not volume sales-based, I am averse to categorising my music practice as professional practice. In looking for an alternative classification to define my music practice, I considered the classifications for my practice of: professional, semi-professional, amateur or hobbyist (Rogers 2013). Could it be semi-professional, as I earn multiple small income streams from various forms of music practice? Or is it amateur, referring to my current status as a music producer where I am earning minimal income at present because of my current pursuits of creative industry education, and full-time doctoral studies? Referencing Kuznetson and Paulos’s article, I am reluctant to assume the title of expert for my music practice, as I consider myself a generalist across a breadth of skills and experiences. (Kuznetson and Paulos 2010, 295). What I do however accept is who I am: highly motivated, possessing an impassioned commitment to my practice, with a very high level of focus on developing my knowledge, skill level and technology. After four decades of music practice, I seek to learn on a daily basis: newly released creative technologies, applying them in a variety of creative locations; familiarising my self with new music styles; developing new practice workflows; better understanding my motives, and my self. I am engaging this doctoral research study to investigate my practice, in order to develop greater understanding and workflows. I therefore am of the opinion I exhibit qualities and attributes that reflect an attitude of professionalism.
Despite my four decades of practice, I have my eyes very much on the future. I still have a lifetime of music goals still to realise: songs to write and arrange; sonic textures to explore; creative productions to develop; and engage with both my peers and the public to a far greater degree than I have to date. I am hopeful of continuing my journey with music as an integral part of my life, core to my being, accompanying me wherever I am. For these reasons, not with standing my experience, knowledge and skills accumulated and developed to date, both within the field and discipline of music and sound, and all other experiences in life, I also classify my self as an aspiring music practitioner.
I commenced my music practice with acoustic and analogue technology, developing a workflow that reinforced my musical literacy, instrumental skills and personal taste in music. However, moving from acoustic to digital and digital virtual technologies in recent decades, I have observed the vastly different technologies and associated workflows that lend themselves to creative locations and music styles. This has impacted my music practice, hindering the realisation of my creative productions: my EPs. Whilst I have found my self at various times asking a number of questions in isolation, I now find myself seeing them as connected issues within the more global problem I propose for my doctoral research investigation: ‘Contemporary DIY music practice and the practitioner self’.
This blog series is planned to continue next month with Music Practitioner Part 5. It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
References
DeNora, Tia. 2000. Music in everyday life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
DeNora, Tia. 2005. The pebble in the pond: Musicing, therapy, community. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy 14 (1): 57-66.
DLP 2015 image courtesy of David L Page. Created 14th September, 2015
Hesmondhalgh, David. 2013. Why music matters. Vol. 1. West Sussex, UK: Wiley Blackwell.
Kuznetsov, Stacey and Eric Paulos. 2010. Rise of the expert amateur: DIY projects, communities, and cultures. In Proceedings of the 6th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Extending Boundaries, Reykjavik, Iceland, October 16-20, 2010, edited, 295-304. http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1868914&picked=prox: ACM.
Rogers, I. 2013. The hobbyist majority and the mainstream fringe: the pathways of independent music-making in Brisbane, Australia. In Redefining mainstream popular music, edited by Sarah Baker, Andy Bennett and Jodie Taylor, 162-173. New York: Routledge.
Small, Christopher. 1998. Musicking: the meanings of performing and listening. Hanover: University Press of New England.
Wallis, R Dr. 2001. Best practice cases in the music industry and their relevance for government policies in developing countries. Paper presented at the United Conference on Trade and Development, Brussels, Belgium, May 14-20, 2001.
– ©David L Page 15/09/2015
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Doctorate Research Study

Forward

~DLP Pro Image Fun 5b small.20141020

 (Page 2015)
I have never considered my self smart. My schooling test results were mainly above-average, but I worked consistently, and often for long hours in order to achieve these. I recall I often looked to those who got the top grades – those who appeared to do it effortlessly – and wondered what they had inside their heads that I didn’t. My mother was strict, and prohibited me from going out to play until I had done my chores, and homework. I therefore sat there, and continued to toil, in order to be able to get outside. It brought both resentment (for being denied play time) and conviction (to get my chore or home task completed, in order to get outside to enjoy playtime). Possibly this was imposed as a result of other behaviour I exhibited in the years prior, but I don’t recall what or when this, may have been.
I do however recall I always seemed to get into trouble with my parents, relatives and teachers, just for being me. Mmmmm……… Ok, I was probably mischievous. Thinking back, there was the time I talked my neighbour’s sister to go with me to the local gas station to buy a packet of cigarettes. I recall I was seven (7) years old, and she was possibly four (4) years old at best. What was the fuss? No one was harmed – just a simple afternoon walk. It was of no consequence to anybody really…… well, except the girl’s parents. When they eventually found out, they in turn told my parents. Mmmm…. banished to my room with limited dinner, no playing and no talking for what seemed like a month.
I perhaps had a limited filter between my thoughts and my mouth. I thought, I spoke, I acted.
images
 (Terry-Toons Comics 1945-1951)
My mother was an active P+C member in my schools, and therefore she knew the teachers, and usually the principal. One of my school principals was a very social person. He would hang in the school grounds and talk to the students. He was large – a big guy – with snow white hair, and a large jovial face. Much like I imagine a normal version of Santa Claus. He was well over weight. I recall – when I was about six (6) years old – sharing with him during a playground catch up what my brother and sister called him – Fatty Arbuckle. I recall it came back to my parents some days later. Mmmm…. banished to my room with limited dinner, no playing and no talking for what seemed like a month. I hadn’t said it to him to be malicious. I just thought it was funny, and wanted to share it with him. I was sure he would enjoy it.
I was left-handed. Up until I was about eight (8) years old, the teachers at my first primary school made me sit on my left-hand during class times, to (as they said) “get it (my left-handedness) out of my system”. I remember when I moved up to the next class level, at – as it happened – at another school, this was no longer a focus of the teacher. I recall often wondering whether this change away from focussing on my left-handedness as being a problem – was due to the teacher, the school’s philosophy, or whether in fact it was just the end of an era of this view of left-handedness being considered wrong.
I recall I was naturally happy – smiling, and this too caused issues. Again with parents, relatives, and teachers – wondering with such a smile on my face, what I was up to. I recall a teacher talking sternly to our class one day (we had possibly been talking and acting up while waiting to be let into our home room after a lunch break). All students were standing, ready to be seated by our teacher prior to class, as she dressed us down for our noisy behaviour in the corridor. I was apparently standing there during this dressing down with a smile on my face. “What are you smiling at?” she barked. “I, I , I am happy?” I responded meekly. The class laughed, though I am still unsure of whether they were laughing with me, or laughing at me?
DLP_Age 4_Cropped_Fade.P2
 (Page 2016)
I was average at individual sport, but recognised early on the advantage of team sports. I learnt that within a team I could excel. I became a year house captain within my school; and played in team sports on Saturday mornings.
I was always a practical person, wanting to do things with my hands, but also realised I wanted to know how it worked, and how I could use it for other applications. I pulled apart all kinds of gadgets, toys, billy carts, wheel barrows; antique clocks, motor mowers, motorbikes, and cars. I admit I didn’t like the follow up process – the putting back together of these things. I had learnt in pulling them apart what I needed to know – the how it worked, and could then consider other applications. I made (make believe) sports cars, space ships, and moon craft with the many parts I had before me – all in the backyard. Once I had created my make believe craft, I would move onto the next thing. Yes, I got bored quickly.
I quit school – because I was bored – in preference to get out and explore industry. I did engineering as a trade, but quickly realised, as soon as I had worked out the how, I was again ready to move on. I then applied to enter tertiary study, fumbling my way through a bachelor’s degree with out completed high school. I used the time to explore all manner of things – philosophy, re-engage my music-making, experiencing social events, bands, pubs, live gigs, and girls. Eventually graduating, I headed overseas to explore the world. I ended up in Asia, and corporate education and training. I played in cross-cultural bands, got roped into significant events in the local region such as opening bridges, made key note speeches at local city events, and played music in cultural festivals. I gained invaluable experience and skills. I returned home, formalising my experienced gained in education and continued, in order to be able to practice in Australia.
japan_grunge_flag
Some ten (10) years later, I re-entered university to complete my masters degree. It was suggested I progress onto a doctorate in that discipline, but after only a short time of study, I was tempted back into industry. I commenced in management in a global business, and quickly progressed into a number of leadership roles. Over time this developed into governance roles, ultimately arriving into the industry of my main passion, creative arts – music and sound. Having embarked on a doctorate previously, and not choosing to continue it, I had a feeling of incompleteness. Having only formally studied my area of passion music and sound at an entry tertiary level, and still having so many unanswered questions, I decided to enquire what possible programs I could consider. In talking to several industry contacts, I was quickly referred to the Head of Department at one of Queensland’s leading universities, and over the course of a fifteen (15) minute conversation, a doctorate of Creative Industries was suggested. I proposed a topic and after some months I received confirmation of my acceptance.
Over the past number of years, I have used the image of the purple onion to represent my approach to life. I am committed to learning – something I have done over most of my life – looking under the many layers of my practice or self in order to gain more insight into life and practice. I still do not consider my self smart, but experienced. I believe in Erikson’s 10,000 hours (Ericsson in Page 2004), and believe much of my life’s success is based on constant and continued work, rather than just being smart. I therefore embark on my doctorate research study journey with this in mind, and trust that this approach will be sufficient to have me realise the required millstones, at the level of rigour expected of Australian tertiary studies.

onion-layers

My journey begins….
References
Page, David 2004. Educational Philosophy Part 1 Accessed 15th December 2014
DLP 2016 image courtesy of: Slideshare  Accessed 27th December, 2016
DLP 2015 image courtesy of David L Page Created 15th December, 2014
Japan Grunge Flag Image courtesy of:  Japan Flag  Accessed 8th March, 2014.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Terry-Toons Comics. 1945-1951. Mighty Mouse in Mighty Mouse #38-85  Accessed 8th March, 2014.
– @David L Page 16/12/2014
– updated @David L Page 30/04/2017
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Music Practitioner Part 1 – Beginnings

My earliest recollections of creative practice…..

Due to the ill health of my mother and her need for many medical operations over an extended period, I lived in a very dark house for the first seven (7) years on my life. With the curtains and blinds drawn shut the majority of the time, and bedrooms doors closed, I mostly only remember darkness during this time. Other memories include sitting in a very tense environment, fearful we would be reprimanded for talking out of turn, and disturbing my mother, and; being sat in front of a television screen for hours on end as a way of occupying my attention. To this day, the cartoon Mighty Mouse is at the forefront of my memories.
images                                 (Terry-Toons Comics 1945-1951)
I recall having the sense that my world was a remote place – perhaps on an island – and the main people I knew at that time were my brother, sister and father. I recall a number of big people – not sure who they were, but perhaps distant relatives, neighbours, or the wives of dad’s work colleagues – came and went during that time, assisting my father with daily duties such as preparing meals, I guess cleaning and our care. I certainly do not recall life in our house.
As I grew somewhat – perhaps around five (5) years of age –  I recall spending time exploring the local bushland with my brother and some of the local neighbourhood kids, or my mates from junior rugby. Whilst it was fun exploring, and having new adventures with others,  I do however recall that I was happiest in my own company, constructing things and becoming quite rowdy, exercising my unlimited bounds of energy and exploring my voice.

DLP Youth pictures

Then at the age of eight (8) years old, once my mother had somewhat recovered from her health issues, we moved into a new house in a new suburb on the North Shore of Sydney. The split-level house had its’ main living area on the top floor – bedroom, living room and kitchen – with the garages, laundry, rumpus room and bar kitchen on the ground floor. The blinds and curtains in our new house were literally pulled back. It was a large light and airy house with a large leafy garden, including a massive willow tree in the middle of it. It was a huge garden for an eight year old to exercise and explore, ride his scooter, yell and sing as he continued to explore his voice to his heart’s content, away from disturbing the family. The sea change included my mother playing what became her daily dose of European classical music – Baroque, Classical and Romantic (including Opera). In addition, my mother loved the pop artists of that era: those who performed on the television program of the day, “Bandstand”. In that era, it was one of the few opportunities to view the latest contemporary artists and hits on television. Whilst I still did not feel as though I belonged to anything – to my new school, my new rugby team, or the local neighbourhood kids – my world now had light and music in it.
Apparently, the music resonated with me and before long I was singing along.  I recall having melodies in my head, and I would hum them out, not aware of what I was doing, nor what was to come. I was always an early riser, and keen to get into the day.  I would wake well before my brother, my sister, and my parents; and wasn’t one for lying still. Of course – first things first – I would need to go to the toilet for a pee. [Note: the toilet rooms of that era had tiles on the floors and walls, and were great for reflecting sound].
It was very early in the morning, and I wasn’t in that much of a hurry.  So, rather than standing I would sit, and gaze at the walls.  I recall being fascinated with the light and reflections of the trees (from our back garden) being projected on the walls. I could see the trees bending up and down, some birds flying in and out, the leaves dancing, along with light, up and down the tiles on the walls. I would then start to play with sound, and start to make some noise. Sometimes I would hum one of my internalised melodies; and at times, I would make as many different short, sharp noises with my mouth. Anything to hear sound. I would listen to the sound, and note how the sound could bounce from wall to wall. I learnt to make some sounds stretch out, almost like it had a tail on it, and take even longer to bounce around. I recall thinking how good my voice sounded, in this toilet room. I realise now that I was I was experimenting making noise, listening to the sound bounce off the walls, to the sonic possibilities within our family toilet room, at possibly half past five (5) in the morn. I also reflect now, to realise that I was also possibly becoming comfortable with my voice. Listening to my self, experimenting with my voice, experimenting with what sounds I could make – what original sounds I could make, on my own.
With (apparently) my brothers and sister tired of my early morning vocalisations while on the toilet every morning – while they were still sleeping – my dad suggested I may like to relocate to a new room – into a converted rumpus room on the ground floor of our new house. While I was a little tentative at first, I quickly saw my new space as my own palace. I set up the room with low lighting – lots of lamps around the corners of the room, each with different coloured cellophane projecting up onto the walls. There were usually two or three candles burning, borrowed from my parents many dinner parties, adding to the subdued ambient lighting. Posters of pop culture icons of the day from the local music rag GoSet adorned my walls, beckoning me down a particular path.
Upright Pianola.P2
(My inherited grandfather’s pianola)
My grandfather’s pianola stood at the foot of my bed; alongside an old radio gramophone that blasted out my collection of 45rpms and am radio station hits for many hours of the day. I recall listening to all of the music and sounds that emanated from that gramophone, drawn into another world. I had friends, but with a very protective mother, I found my self spending a lot of time in my palace – my sanctuary – listening to a very wide range of music at every chance I had.
Whilst I loved the sound of the pianola (essentially a piano, but with some more high register tones present in each of the notes), I found the keyboard layout quite complex to understand. None of my family were players (that I knew of). However, I continued to tinker, I experimented but I admit that I never sat long enough, to learn how to play the piano. Over the next few years, my brother started playing guitar. He was cool, part of the politically savvy crowd. He listened to politically inspired music as part of the hippy movement, calling for change to the establishment. I was drawn in – not so much to the message – but to the instrument that seemed to be at the centre of this crowd – the guitar.
The guitar seemed to be far more simple to play than the piano, with its’ chord shapes. My brother was right-handed, and I was left-handed. So whilst I was drawn in, I did not find it easy to mimic what he was telling me to do, to play his guitar. I was frustrated, but my fascination was established. I would spend my time listening to music, sifting through the music magazines, looking at pictures of guitars. Several years later after much – quiet but persistent – badgering, my dad arrived back from overseas with an acoustic guitar in hand, for me.
I started guitar lessons the following week with a local guitar teacher who was teaching my brother. He taught me the notes on the strings, and then introduced a number of songs as a way of learning to play. One of the first songs I can recall learning was: Clearance Clearwater Revival’s (CCR) “Proud Mary” (Creedence Clearwater Revival 1969).
(Creedence Clearwater Revival 1969 music video)
 This song was followed shortly afterwards with CCR’s latest single, “Looking’ Out My Back Door” (Creedence Clearwater Revival 1970a).
(Creedence Clearwater Revival 1970 music video)
The album that these songs came off was Creedence Clearwater Revival 1970’s album, “Cosmo’s Factory” (Creedence Clearwater Revival 1970b).  My brother did eventually buy this album, and therefore I not only heard it many times, I ended up playing the album many times over myself.

Creedence_Clearwater_Revival_-_Cosmo's_Factory.P1

(Creedence Clearwater Revival 1970c).
This album produced so many singles that became popular hits on the radio; song’s that were country rock in flavour, that were predominantly based around the semi-acoustic electric guitar. I loved every song on the album, and therefore I used to played the album – when my brother wasn’t around – with the purpose of studying each and every song. I recall listening to each song over and over, learning to play them, and to try to emulate the guitar rhythm and vocal phrasing.  If I was practicing a particular section of the song – for a example a phrase – I would play it through, and then pick up the needle and play through again, over and over, until I could work out what the phrasing, harmony or melody was. I had also learnt a trick from my cousin in Victoria; putting a coin on the album while it was playing, would slow down the rotating record down, and therefore making it easier to hear the particular phrase I was trying to learn. I experimented for really difficult phrasing, adding the weight of a second coin.

Creedence_Clearwater_Revival_-_Cosmo's_Factory.P2

(Creedence Clearwater Revival 2008)
The following year Paul and Linda McCartney released their first studio album “Ram” after the Beatles had officially disbanded as a group (Paul and Linda McCartney. 1971). A single off the album “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” was released and played on AM radio on a regular basis. I recall falling in love with this song instantaneously. The song was 4 minutes 50 seconds long – quite long for the day – and progressed from one style of music, to another style of music. It was as though Paul McCartney had gotten two songs, and joined them together. I recall being fascinated by this arrangement. But most particularly, the production. Listening to the song on the radio I could hear so many elements and textures that I had never heard before in any other song.  I was in awe!. I recall saving the money I earnt from doing my weekly chores, and going to the local music store to buy the 45rpm record of the single (Paul and Linda McCartney. 1971).
As it happened, on the B side was another song – more of a traditional pop rock song – but again with an interesting arrangement. This song “Too Many People” (Paul and Linda McCartney. 1971), became the first song I requested my guitar teacher to teach me how to play on the guitar.

Uncle Albert Admiral Halsey 45rpm

 (The Beatles Discography, 1971)
(Paul & Linda McCartney 1971 music video)
 In the same year that I had bought my first 45rpm, I heard another artist across the airwaves: the songs of Cat Stevens. I was mesmerised by his craft – sultry vocal tones, accompanied minimally, with an acoustic guitar, and sometime a bass line. The vocal had a lot of – mmm, how could I describe it – a lot of space around it – presence.  The guitar was very simple – a strummed guitar, and a fingerpicked guitar, recorded very precisely, and cleanly. There was often a bass riff present, and sometimes some percussive elements, in light support of the rhythm and harmony.  Often, there was a piano in accompaniment. Occasionally, the central instrument was a piano. Irrespective, what struck me of Cat Stevens’ songs were: the central element of his performances and the productions were – the song.
Cat Stevens was a UK troubadour with a social and spiritual conscience, carrying forth the tradition of the 1960’s confessional singer-songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Leonard Cohen. Cat Stevens was soon to be joined by other rising troubadours such as Carol King, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Jackson Browne and Don McLean (Greenwald 1992, 58). The songs of these troubadours took me to places that I hadn’t been before. To places that were quiet, considered and contemplative. I considered these songs poetic, in a similar vein as so many of the great poets before them. Their songs weaved words, turn of phrase – lyrics with melody and harmony in simple but cleverly crafted ways.
As a ten (10) year old, I remember thinking to myself – can I? could I? could I ever be able to learn to do what they do? could I dare to consider that I could learn to do what they do? Could I ever become a singer-songwriter-performer as they are? Could I ever learn how to transport a listener to a place that they hadn’t been to before? As they did to me? As they did for me? Could I possibly? Unfortunately though, irrespective of any logic, the seed was planted.  I recall Cat Steven’s influence on my desire to practice music was instantaneous: in terms of guitar playing, singing, songwriting and arranging – to a depth of personal experience that I had never heard before. I saved my pocket money, and a short time later I was holding my first album, Cat Steven’s “Tea for the Tillerman”.

Tea_for_the_Tillerman

(Cat Stevens 1970a)
(Cat Stevens 1970b)
The many songs that were on “Tea for the Tillerman” became the next group of songs I requested my guitar teacher to teach me how to play on the guitar. I spent much of the next year trying to emulate the guitar playing, singing, and feel of these Cat Steven’s songs.
A year later a follow up album came out “Teaser and the Firecat”.  I spent much of that year again trying to emulate the guitar playing, singing, and feel of these Cat Steven’s songs. Whilst I don’t feel I ever arrived at being able to play any of Cat Steven’s songs to my satisfaction, I do trust and believe this particular artist’s influence on my development as a music practitioner was significant. Cat Steven’s style had become engrained into my being; into my soul.

Teaser + The Firecat_Cat Stevens.P1

(Cat Stevens 1971)
(Cat Stevens 1970c)
I continued to progress with the guitar, but found that I had been drawn somewhat back to the piano through the songs of performers such as Cat Stevens. A number of his songs on both “Tea for the Tillerman” and “Teaser and the Firecat” featured piano as the central instrument. I wasn’t so interested in learning to play the piano, but would spend hours listening – tinkering and experimenting – to the sounds that emanated from it.
I got a Labrador-cross pup for my eleventh birthday. We looked very similar – in that her coat colouring was similar to my skin complexion – fair with freckles. She and I became inseparable over the next five (5) years. As she grew, she would lay at the foot of my bed with one eye open, almost as if she was making sure I was ok. More often that not, I was occupied with any form of music practice.
  • I would play guitar – strumming the strings, forming chord shapes – and listen to the sounds that would emanate from the wooden body.
  • I was intrigued with how much change in tone could occur with subtle change in any aspect of my playing – such as my attack with the plectrum – velocity or speed, or the actual thickness or material of the plectrum;
  • I would focus on my right hand with the forming of chords, moving the angle of my wrist around the back of the neck. The clarity of the note would change as I did this to produce different qualities of sound;
  • I would try to sing the songs of my favourite artists, trying to emulate the phrasing of the vocal line, the rhythm and harmony of the music playing on old gramophone;
  • I would tinker on the piano’s ivories, listening to the notes as they rose out of the wooden cabinet:
  • I noted how these notes varied, depending on how hard I struck each of the keys;
  • I noted how these notes varied, depending on which foot pedal on the piano I was holding down;
  • I listened to the resonance of the notes as they sang out, bouncing off and out of the rosewood wooden cabinet, after the piano key hammer had come to rest on a particular string;
  • I immersed myself listening to a range of productions via the radio, albums, or 45rpm singles. I was in awe – full of wonder, joy and intrigue – listening to the cacophony of music and sonic textures that played out of the speakers;
  • With every song, I tried to strum out chords on my acoustic guitar along to it; or
  • I would mimic a live performance, guitar around my neck, standing behind my father’s camera tripod, mounted with a bicycle horn on top as my pretend microphone, strumming away to songs playing on the radio gramophone.
  • Yes, I could see my audience, I could hear the audience, I could feel the audience.
These are the earliest recollections I have of my creative activities.

The next step of my creative practice…..

However, at some point, I did work out that I was not born into music. My mother didn’t play an instrument, my father didn’t play an instrument – they were fans. Our house was not filled with our music – it was filled with the music of others. We listened to others perform.
A few short years later, a significant event occurred that led me to put down the guitar for about 9-10 years. This event had a profound impact on my confidence and belief in my worthiness to play music.
Some years later at University, after meeting some musical souls, I picked up the guitar again. But this time it was to be an electric guitar. Over the next few years I progressed into writing, singing, performing, arranging, recording, and playing bass. I also taught music, delved into project management and became an industry advisor.
I spent 3 years in Japan, where I fortunate enough to establish a platform across so many of these areas. I am so blessed for my Japan experience. Japan was so influential in my reconnecting and implanting a music practice flame within me that I still carry to this day.  It was one of the most productive periods I have had in terms of my performing and writing, including recording and experimenting in production. It was a wonderful period for me – one that I hoped would never end. But like everything in life, at some point there were enough taps on my shoulder that indicated it was time for me to return to Australia.
japan_grunge_flag
I arrived back into Australia and evaluated my options. I moved city, up to Brisbane, and made an effort to connect to players in that scene. I chose to refuse to play in the pub scene – blue jean, intoxicated punters, nicotine-filled live scene that contrasted significantly to the clubs and festivals I had played in Japan. Instead, as part of my tithing value to give back to society, I invested what spare time I had to assisting a range of community music programs. What resonated to me here was donating my breadth of experience as a player, teacher, coach & mentor, providing guidance and assistance to social groups that had mostly not had the opportunity of music practice due to lack of opportunity because of either economics, social situation or just the busyness of life.
Boxing Kangaroo
I have always found ways in my life to generate income streams from a variety of sources . My father always (somewhat condescendingly) referred to my creative industry activities as a hobby. Whilst I have been sponsored by the Australian Government at numerous times in my Creative Industries career, I have been fortunate enough to  maintain a professional career to develop my music practice, often overlapping into education, project management, and educational management here in Australia and overseas. After a study period at the Guitar Institute in California’s Musicians Institute in 2006, I returned home to accept an Executive Management role to manage an overseas multi-site educational organisation. Whilst it was going to disrupt my local live playing, it was an opportunity to lead what had previously been a multi-million dollar organisation (now facing closure due to non-compliance and financial adversity) in all aspects of governance and general management (including , stakeholder negotiation, change management, educational teaching practice, staff development and management). Whilst I played a few live gigs during that 3 year overseas posting, I focussed on alternative mediums to be creative musically. This opened the opportunity for the development of my music production skills within the virtual world of a DAW – both in Pro Tools and Logic Pro.
Somewhat ironic, this juncture in my music practice is at the core of my current doctoral studies: Contemporary DIY music practice and the practitioner self.
This blog series is planned to continue with Life is About the Moment. It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
References
Australian Boxing Kangaroo Flag Image courtesy of: Boxing Kangaroo  Accessed 8th March, 2014.
Cat Stevens. 1971, Teaser and the Firecat, A&M Records. Album
Cat Stevens. 1970a, Tea for the Tillerman, A&M Records. Album
Cat Stevens 1970b music video link performing Wild World courtesy of: BBC©1970   Accessed 15th May, 2016.
Cat Stevens 1970c music video link performing How Can I Tell You courtesy of: BBC©1970   Accessed 15th May, 2016.
Creedence Clearwater Revival. 2008, Cosmo’s Factory, Fantasy Records. Compact Disc
Creedence Clearwater Revival. 2008. Cosmo’s Factory back image courtesy of All Music.com  Accessed 15th May, 2016.
Creedence Clearwater Revival. 1970a, Looking Out My Back Door, Concorde Music. 45rpm
Creedence Clearwater Revival. 1970b, Cosmo’s Factory, Fantasy Records. Album
Creedence Clearwater Revival. 1970c. Cosmo’s Factory image courtesy of All Music.com  Accessed 15th May, 2016.
Creedence Clearwater Revival 1970 music video link performing Lookin’ Out My Back Door courtesy of: Concord Music Group, Inc©2009   Accessed 15th May, 2016.
Creedence Clearwater Revival. 1969, Proud Mary, Fantasy Records. 45rpm
Creedence Clearwater Revival 1969 music video link performing Proud Mary courtesy of: Fantasy Records©1969   Accessed 15th May, 2016.
DLP images courtesy of David L Page  Accessed 15th May, 2016.
Greenwald, Ted. 1992. Rock and roll: the music, musicians, and the mania. New York: Friedman Group Book.
Japan Grunge Flag Image courtesy of:  Japan Flag  Accessed 8th March, 2014.
My inherited grandfather’s pianola image courtesy of: David L Page  Accessed 15th May, 2016.
Paul and Linda McCartney. 1971, RAM, Apple Records. Album
Paul and Linda McCartney. 1971 Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey Apple Records. 45rpm
Paul and Linda McCartney 1971 music video link Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey courtesy of: Apple Records©1971   Accessed 8th March, 2014.
Terry-Toons Comics. 1945-1951. Mighty Mouse in Mighty Mouse #38-85  Accessed 8th March, 2014.
The Beatles Discography. 1971. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey 45rpm image  Accessed 8th March, 2014.
– ©David L Page 09/04/2014
– updated ©David L Page 15/05/2016
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.