Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Several years ago, I watched my 15 year-old son perform with his band, at an "all ages bar". It was a "non-smoking/no alcohol club" was great! What impressed me most was the support the bands received from the audience. All of the bands that performed that day, had overwhelming applause from a full-house of “teens”.

In 1970, when I performed at my high school for MY best, 25% of the audience paid attention. The remainder were huddled into groups through-out the gym discussing their “dramas of the day”. The lack of applause was not because our band was unworthy, was because the audience was “pre-occupied”.

In the mid ‘70's when I was trying to make a career of "rock 'n' roll", it seemed most Canadians were pre-occupied...with "British or American" music. Few people supported Canadian artists, which is why I was told, “if you want to make it in music, move to the United States.”.

The truth is, many outstanding Canadian musicians didn’t want to leave the country & consequently were overlooked by the Canadian public. So where are they now?...
Some work in recording studios, music stores or as music teachers...but sadly, too many of these "fine musicians" now have careers not related to music.

Now-a-days it’s a different story. All those “kids” that supported my sons' performance (and thousands of others across the country) are buying Canadian music. Today, there's a new "crop" of great musicians & bands in Canada making a living doing what they do best...playing, writing & performing good "Canadian" music. Guess I was born in the wrong generation!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Tai Chi "on the brain"
I read recently that it takes about two years to learn all of the 108 tai chi moves (ie. the "precision" and balance). This is like following a schematic or blueprint.

A tai chi master will execute the form in a precise & identical manner every time. A new student uses left brain functions to "compare" their moves to the instructor, "analysing & memorizing" through repetition. (The words in quotations are all left brain functions.)

After learning these moves, we can experience the energy flow as it is happening to us at every movement of the form. This is not easy to do, as we can easily go into "auto pilot" and do an unfelt, “robotic” version of tai chi that stays true to the blueprint, but is missing the spirit (shen) & spontaneity of the moment. Spontaneity or "going with the flow" is a right brain attribute.

When we do tai chi, if we are “in the now”, we respond to our environment...the fresh air, the fragrances of the flowers & trees. Our awareness is heightened by these factors. If we fully internalize (a right brain function) these aspects of the moment, tai chi is less likely to become "routine"(a left brain tendency). The perfectly executed tai chi form involves a constant "synchronicity" between the two brain hemispheres.