In one part of my life, as I started to revisit learning decade-old music, I noticed some differences in my 19 year-old playing to how I approach it now as a semi-mature 33 year-old. Granted, it’s been a few years and my mindset and how I am as a person has changed. For one thing, I have about 14 more years of experience with playing music and I’ve listened to more and experienced more in general since we recorded music in December of 1993.
In another part of my life, I’ve been working on a couple of designs for both personal and work-related websites AND I’ve been working on some art projects away from the web. The web is the web. In working in the creative realm with both music and design, I’ve realized what really makes creativity happen.
It’s the little things.
In art, it’s the crows-feet on a drawing of a face. In music, it’s striking a drum or plucking a string to accentuate a word or phrase. It’s the subtle accents that make something like “Starry Night” go from lines on a page to a flowing accent of brushes and paint. It’s how someone like Branford Marsalis can lay down a sax line on a Sting track and not take away from the beautiful words. It’s the difference between a lateral taste from a bland meal to a subtle taste of spices, meat, veggies in something Thomas Keller creates.
Sometimes the little things are what cripple me and slow me down. It also adds to my reputation for being critical, even down to the pixel. Little things make me look at a piece of music and feel like I’m not giving my all, since I can’t really make myself happy with the piece. It’s tension but sometimes within tension that’s the motivation to do something different. It makes you reach back and not go by memory or by the past, it’s where you reach upon something that maybe…you’ve never tried or something you’ve only read about.
Be simple but be creative. Be innovative but be traditional. Be original and remember that sometimes it’s the salt that makes the dish.