Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Be There Before The Light Arrives

Andrew Bird is an innovative musician, songwriter, multi instrumentalist, and quite possibly the most talented whistler in the history of folk music. He’s also a regular columnist for The New York Times, contributing occasional articles on how to write a song and other mysteries, pulling back the curtain on his creative process and the pleasures and pains of being a musician.

In one particular article, he recalls the childhood memory of learning the language of music through repetition and molding. Specifically, by chewing his cereal along to melodies, breathing in and out to music in every waking moment:

“At any moment, I’ll have half a dozen strong, fully realized melodies all filed away in my head. And when I’m waiting for a plane or walking across town, I can mentally access any of the melodies, press play, and begin fiddling with them. The goal is not to arrive at a perfectly crafted melody and stay there, but to find fertile ground where that spark of conception keeps firing every time I sit down to play.”

Andrew proves that it’s not being in the light, it’s about being there before it arrives. Or, to take it one step further, instead of waiting to be hit by the light, he decides to become the light instead.