Creative Process that often goes unnoticed but is necessary to understand for every creator – My experience as a songwriter/musician in Sikkim.
Inspiration – okay, I checked the dictionary for its meaning. “A divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul.” (Some thinking going on here for a few seconds) Seems I have a similar meaning for it in my mind, just chose to choose different words instead. An inspiration for me is absorption, a lesson learned, an ambience felt, a thought process, an introspection from and due to the things that I experience, see, feel, listen and many more in my living days. For me, it is key for creating art. More like a key for implementation of the things processed by my mind, heart and soul. I’m a musician. And creating and playing one’s own music is an art. But it takes time. It takes patience. It takes a lot of practice. It takes time to learn how to let things inspire you.
Music: Music is something which is a part of every person’s life that I know of. If you ask ten people what exactly music means to them, you may get ten different answers. It encompasses things. It breaks boundaries. It connects. Music is like the sky, common for everyone. It is like an ocean, vast and deep. It is like the mountains, magical, serene and beautiful. It is like a stream, simple and seamless. It is like a meadow, silent but sounding. It is like the moon, always there when you feel blue. I could go on. But what I really mean is, like all of these things, the sky, the ocean, the mountains, a stream, a meadow, the moon – music lasts forever. It’s always there. It is something which all of us have in common. It is something which is taken seriously and taken for granted at the same time.
For me, music is a way of life. I love it. Every morning after I wake up, there’s something that I do related to music. Anything. Same goes for the afternoon, the evening and the night. It’s my staple diet. To create music, explore it, learn and help others to learn, express myself, play, is what I want to do for the rest of my life as a musician.
I play the guitar. It has been ten years since I started learning the instrument. I’ve learned and still am learning western classical music. I’ve got a few achievements, here and there. I became a member of
Rhythmic Soul Collective, a band from Gangtok, not so long ago. I’ve played a lot in and around the capital and have gone to other neighbouring countries with the band, to perform. My band is like my family. I feel lucky to have met such beautiful people in my life.
I started making my own music a few months before I joined my band. It started as an experiment to explore other alternate tunings on my guitar as my 6th string was damaged and couldn’t be tuned higher than a drop B. Since then, I’ve made many pieces of my own. And I got interested in writing songs a year after that. I’ve written a few since then, expressing my feelings, experiences and lessons learned from my days. To be honest, it is no easy task, to be able to express what I exactly feel like on the instrument and with words that could make up a song. I’m still a learner. I will always be one.
Making music :
My guitar teacher used to tell me that every musician will always be a learner. Nobody can be an expert in music. I’m no expert. The first piece I composed which was satisfactory to me at that time, took more than just a lot of tries and patience. I’ve come to know about a lot of things that are required to make a piece of self-satisfactory music, which the audience loves too. First, you have to loosen up. Loosen up your mind, heart, and then your fingers. Thinking “I’m going to compose something today” and getting amped up doesn’t really help. I’ve tried more than I can remember to make something out of nothing. I start playing random things on the frets and then wander off to randomness. Eventually, I give up and keep my guitar on my bed. Very rarely, the attempt is a success. To go with the flow of your energy is the best way to start. If I am not able to make something today, it’s fine. There’s tomorrow. Saying “Today I’m going to compose something within an hour” didn’t help either. There doesn’t have to be a timeline.
Then it takes some inspiration. A reason to create. A feeling, an experience, a desire. Had a fight with your loved one? Had a really bad day at the office? Had classes all day? Feeling blue? Is it raining outside? Is it sunny? Is there a moon shining? Go and get your instrument. Absorb the things around you. Let the energy of your experiences and feelings be the key to unlocking your creative self. And then, it takes honesty. Honesty about your feelings. For me, even if the final product sounds not that good but if it reflects what I felt like and exactly what I wanted to express, it is a success for me. That’s how I feel like I’ve grown as a musician over the past few years. I’ve stopped thinking about things like
“Oh if I play it like this the people are gonna love it” or “This is what I need to do to get more comments and shares” etc etc. It was a slow process, but I’ve learned to be true to myself and just to focus on my material. Then, it takes patience and perseverance. Things don’t happen all of a sudden. It takes time to achieve the final goal, the final product. For me, it takes time to say “Yes, this is what I want it to sound like.”. Sometimes, while composing, I come across something which I can’t play properly at that moment. And so it becomes me vs me situation. This is the competition that I love the most. I take my time to perfect that particular portion of the piece and then gradually the whole piece. Same goes while practising a piece on my classical guitar. I believe that competition with the self is really important.
Finding one’s taste is one of the most important things that a musician needs to discover, I believe. And there is no such rule written anywhere that there can be only one taste that a musician can acquire.
There is so much freedom in music. Love jazz? Love R&B? A Metalhead? Go experiment, fuse things,
create a whole new genre. Every musician has got the power to do so.
Not a lot of time has passed since I wrote my first song. It is inspired by my experiences. I had composed the music used in it as a small piece a few months back. I did not know that it would be useful for such a
thing. I started writing the lyrics. And I finished it in two days. It felt like I knew exactly what to write.
Since then, I’ve written a few more songs with similar enthusiasm based on what I felt like. I used to write since my high school days – small poems and stuff. I still do. And now I’ve made a habit of writing something every day. I just know how good I was when I first started writing. And now, due to this constant practice that has now become a habit, I feel like I’ve become somewhat better at it. It is an endless process, very similar to making music and very similar to the things I shared that come with it. I try to be honest with myself while writing. I want what I write to be a reflection of myself. I want the person listening to my song or reading what I wrote to connect, to feel, to see things. I want the person to understand each and every word I’ve written. I try to make it as simple as possible. Simple things can be beautiful.
Skill can only be developed after hours and hours of beating on one’s craft, period. It takes time to perfect an art. Practice is an endless process. If one is passionate enough he/she will find a way to success and self-satisfaction. At times, I do get fed up, frustrated and irritated because of my failures.
But I know that it’s just temporary. I take my time and come back to my craft again. I believe that is how
I have grown. I believe that is how I am growing.