The Final Episode: Nightscaping Radio on - 3/4/2015

This week (3/4) is the final show for Nightscaping Radio, and for this special extra-long "With A Little Help From My Friends" edition I’ll be paying tribute specifically to the various artists I’ve gotten to know over the years

Ambient Music School of Self-Discovery

Hoping to push this blog to the front page again...from April of 2013...make sure to read the comments/discussion, as well. From my point of view, we in contemporary Western Society (especially us more rebellious types) undervalue and underestimate the power of sitting in a room of like-minded people for days or weeks, without worrying or thinking about anything else, in the presence of a caring, knowledgable teacher, for days or weeks of total immersion into a subject that we are drawn to and are passionate about. Indigenous cultures, and ancient cultures knew/know the power of this kind of experience, but we in contemporary Western culture only get to experience it sporadically, if at all...sadly.

I've had some experiences over the years that have really taught me the value of total immersion into a subject of passion for a length of time with like-minded kindred spirits. As a result, I've often day-dreamed that it would be a really fun and incredible thing to create an "Ambient Music School of Self-Discovery." The centerpiece would not only be the creation, production, techniques, technical aspects, and sharing of ambient music, but the focus would also be deep and intense self-evolution and self-discovery, deep awareness of one's connection with one's surroundings, and the possibility for deep connection to others that can come from the creative act of making this kind of music. This nexus of experience—making the music, sharing the space for a length of time, sharing techniques, experiences and passion—would cause a kind of alchemical transformation, not in the abstract and just an idea, but in action and evidence in practice. 

I think the idea of a school is a really intriguing idea, because it seems that generally speaking, we as ambient musicians can be sort of reclusive, isolated and inward. Not to mention the fact that we are all scattered throughout the globe and only get to meet and greet one another at rare big events or occasional get-togethers...or in chat or blogs. So, just the idea of signing up for a class, traveling for it, extending oneself to others in order to learn and share, could move us out of our inwardness and into a new place emotionally and spiritually, learn and grow—and ultimately bring that knowledge back to our little individual caves of introspection. 

This school could be traveling, moving from location to location, or it could be an actual bricks and mortar building, with dorms, a kitchen, a studio and performance space. Of course, as with any class on a creative subject, there would be all levels of participants, from up-and-comers, established artists, newbies, multi-disciplinary artists who want to add music to their pallet of colors, therapists, scientists, etc. All these would be welcome, and naturally, each would be teachers in the classes in their own right, bringing unique insights and experiences that enrich everyone. Because of the highly individual nature of the music and the students, personal idiosyncrasy and method of expression would be just as open—there would be no creating musical clones or a cult or personality. The creative emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of making one's own personalized expressions, relative to one's own life, needs and experiences would be the emphasis. Of course, there would be a nominal tuition, that's how food, light, space, etc., would be paid for...ah-hem.

What do you think of this idea all you ambient musicians, lovers, thinkers? Maybe if we start intending it, it will come to fruition! Does this make your isolationist-indvidualistic-pioneering skin crawl, or does this dreaming-out-loud light you up with excitement?

Views: 1036

Tags: Ambient, Music, School, Self-Discovery, ambient, dreaming, loud, metaphysical, music, of, More…out, psychological, spiritual

Comment by Apollonius on April 3, 2013 at 12:43pm

It's a gem of an idea! I've never thought about something like it before but i believe it makes perfect sense. I like the idea of putting the emphasis on someone's life experience relative to the artistic expression a lot. Where does the expression come from? What's the dynamic behind it? I have to let it sink in a the way: that building in that setting alone is inspiring for such a school. Really amazing!

Comment by Steve Brand on April 3, 2013 at 1:03pm
It is, isn't it Appolonius? Nature has to be near by, I think. Gotta have a place for source recordings. ;-) I thought having a phot of a possible building would help in visualizations.
How about Ambient Music Mystery School? :-)
Comment by Frore on April 3, 2013 at 1:27pm

I love this idea. If people go pack up and go to Red Rocks or a similar place for a spa and / or health week, why not 'ambient school'. . . or art music school. Classes on sequencing, synth programing, acoustical and digital sounds, world instruments, the history of mindfulness and the use of music in various cultures and throughout history, working with software, making textures and drones. . . . a class on ragas. . .it's almost endless. This is similar to some of the audio schools out there, but kind of mixed with a retreat center. I like it. . . .  I'll be the janitor. 

Comment by Broken Harbour on April 3, 2013 at 1:48pm

Being entirely self-taught, I have some big 'knowledge holes' where I just don't know how to do something on a technical level that I can hear in my head... it would be very cool.

Comment by Frore on April 3, 2013 at 1:57pm

A professor. . . . but only if I get to drive a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia and wear tweed jackets with elbow patches. Seriously though, the idea for an alternative style music production school or course is a great idea. The list of speakers and courses are almost limitless   

Comment by eyes cast down on April 3, 2013 at 2:16pm

The idea is like the musical equivalent of a meditation retreat - that's just part of its cool factor. The retreat aspect, the caring teacher, connection with nature, total support of the entire group, total freedom to explore (hello, jam sessions!) and try out anything, and - most important - the internal connection, discovery and work, are all essential. Can I claim shotgun on leading the (non-sectarian) meditation chant? That could generate some serious droneage and drumming...

I've studied Just Intonation enough to be able to talk some about it, if anyone wants to join that particular cult. Better if we could get Robert Rich, though... :)

Any number of established retreat centers might be suitable. They can be found online easily enough. We need only choose a state.

Comment by Igneous Flame on April 3, 2013 at 2:16pm

Interesting idea Steve,

I'm of the isolationist  / teach yourself school and that works for me. For others, it may be just what they need.

Comment by Steve Brand on April 3, 2013 at 2:33pm

@Pete... Really? I don't think anyone knew that about you?! ;-) Doesn't have to be an either/or proposition. I think I made it pretty clear, it's not solely about teaching techniques and learning, but also about learning about oneself and sharing one's experiences with others. I'm sure you could share a great deal of valuable insights.

@Greg... Totally not al about sitting in a class and up-in-the-head stuff, but about experiential stuff that engages the mind and body. Group activities AND one-on-one activities. Synergy with self and with others. Love the idea of a group chant or drum circle...hikes, yoga or tai chi...lots of time to interact, chat, share, move, etc. Choose a state, states, country...why not...dreaming it all.

@Blake... If we're honest, we all have knowledge gaps and something to learn. Everyone could be a teacher for everyone else in this area...and others.

Comment by Jaja on April 3, 2013 at 3:32pm

Steve: I really trust that you can do such an event harmony school. I would love to visit then but reality says i wont make it. It is rare to have a place that you can call a home, a center to meet people, share music and art or just drink a coffee. In your school i would paint pictures i guess and maybe play a synth with headphones on, also i would have some great moments with others for sure. I went such places here in Germany and also every time i visited other countries. Human love and the greatness of mind, always brought good memories to me. Good luck !

Comment by John K-N on April 3, 2013 at 8:45pm

Initial thought after a super quick skim before I go to bed...  wow - nice idea, Steve!   I'll read in full asap!


You need to be a member of Relaxed Machinery to add comments!

Join Relaxed Machinery

© 2015   Created by John K-N.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service