Apr 24, 2019 • 3M

Sunnyday Cello

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Purists may whine that the best days of music are behind us, that capital “M” music has seen its peak and is no longer relevant. But here at Play It Like It's Music we believe the opposite: not only is the act of musicmaking an essential life skill with a lineage stretching back to the beginnings of human history, but the vocation of the professional musician is more vital today than it ever has been. Once a month, join musician, songwriter and producer Trevor Exter as he drops in on working musicians from every genre.
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Greetings from an LA café. In this edition:

  1. Some sunny day cello.

  2. Some freedom of epression.

  3. A movie to not sleep on.

[Serious-er times with John Kimock]

Freedom Of Expression

The more smart and connected one gets, the more elusive our freedom of expression.

It's a slippery sword we try to wield: as long as the music means little and is heard by few, total freedom is possible. But as it acquires weight, relationships and influences responsibility creeps in and our “freedom” gets clouded.

Here’s what I’ve learned: the freedom of the player has to become the liberation of the listener, else our playing circumstance will start to contract.

I used to be that kid who would find the piano in every building, run to it and start playing. It never occurred to me that I might be driving anyone crazy. My only concern was that there wasn't music before I’d started, and now there was. What could be wrong?

We all start there, discovering the sound and celebrating it. But as our sound expands, so does our awareness. Becoming aware of the room and any potential listeners within it, I inevitably start to hear through their ears and my sound inevitably changes.

But the line between empathy and pandering is invisible.

Before I know it, my “freedom” fades into a stack of new considerations. And that's when the real work begins, because the quest for individuation demands a discipline which will ultimately bring us a greater measure of freedom.

Music is a disciplined journey into deep liberation. In order to play freely we have to create a new space within the wider space.

Especially because when the listeners arrive, the stakes go up.

You never know whose life you might alter or how.

Music is a powerful thing, it works on us in powerful ways. [Cue Stan Lee.]

So we get smart, become connected and our freedom becomes service: we work to free the sound, and the sound frees us in return.




Please see this if you haven’t:

If Beale Street Could Talk

Nicholas Britell’s score is one of the many wonders of this movie. The string writing and production gave me goosebumps throughout, but the film as a whole is a miracle.

Somehow, I felt a throbbing love in my heart from start to finish. For the characters, the filmmakers, James Baldwin… everybody. There’s lots of stuff out there to see, but make the time for this one. Trust me.

Thank you for reading and subscribing.

I appreciate you. Enjoy spring!

Love your ears,





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