I often don't know what I'm talking about.
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- His music can seem simple to play but works must take and enormous amount of concentration to execute properly.
You're not wrong. I had to play in an ensemble performing the second movement of his Electronic Counterpoint compositions. If I remember correctly, each guitar had to play a 3 bar loop with each bar having a different time signature. Some people were required to come in on weird off-beats too. In total I think there were around 13 guitarists, including 2 bassists. Those damn bassists messed it up when we did the final performance. The conductor did not look too impressed.
There's a lot of important reflection in your post. I'll start at the end.
- Intellectually, I know the only way to get better is to do it. What I have to figure out, though, is how to reduce my frustration levels to a manageable level, since right now that side tends to win out. I also kind of psyche myself out, where I expect frustration to be the only result, so don't bother trying... I know some of you on here do various creative pursuits, so how do y'all cope with this?
It is an inevitable truth that you have to accept when it comes to art. The process of mastering anything is unavoidably full of frustration: a finished piece is never as good as what you initially imagined, things always take longer than you expect, there's often no-one around to just tell you what you need to do to improve. In the long run, it's likely that you'll quite often find yourself periods of frustration on various levels of the process. There's a great excerpt from the book 'Infinite Jest' that that touches on this:
- "...His point is that progress towards genuine Show-caliber mastery is slow, frustrating, humbling. A question of less talent than temperament... You proceed toward mastery through a series of plateaus, so there's like radical improvement up to a certain plateau and then what looks like a stall, on the plateau, with the only way to get off one of the plateaus and climb up to the next one up ahead is with a whole lot of frustrating mindless repetitive practice and patience and hanging in there." Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace (Full Excerpt)
Ultimately, the only way through this frustration is will power and trust in the process. This isn't the answer people generally like to hear, but it's the truth. And honestly, the frustration never gets that much easier. But you you will get used to feeling frustrated and start to see it not as burden but as catalyst for action. Because if you're frustrated it at least means you know something 'is wrong, which means your on the first step improving and getting better.
There is one thing that makes it a bit easier though: discipline. Sit down every day (or whatever you schedule) and do some drawing. Make it purposeful drawing too; coming to a blank piece of paper with no impetus is often fatal to the process. So before you sit down, known what it is you're going to, even if it's just a rough idea. Today you're going to draw a flower; tomorrow you're going to practice your shading; the next day you're just going to use pens, whatever; maybe you liked the flower and the shading practice gave you new ideas, so you revisit and revise the flower. Keep the momentum going and keep completing pieces. Soon enough you'll feel compelled to work regardless of frustration.
In regards to your Kung Fu vs. drawing issue, I think it may be that you're relating to your Kung Fu development on a micro level (i.e. individual techniques) and drawing on a macro level (i.e. a complete picture).
In my limited martial arts experience, whenever I touched hands with a senior student or teacher, I was directly practising a singular technique. A kick, punch, or block. I not only got real-time feedback of my own attempts, but got to feel what it was like to be on the receiving end of my partner's higher mastery of the technique. This adds up to create a highly efficient and effective learning environment. On the other hand, with drawing it seems like you're looking at a great artist's complete picture, comparing it your own, and getting demoralised. This is like watching a black belt perfectly execute their grading routine after you've just managed your first complete run through of a white belt routine. Then the black belt turns to you and says "good luck, kid." Do you see what I'm getting at?
- With kung fu it's more a question of degree...that is, a technique may work more or less, but there are ways to refine it
It's essentially the same with drawing, or any art. Even humanity's greatest masterpieces can be broken down into a collection of techniques. Use of shading, contrast, colour, line thickness, etc. And these things can always be refined. So whilst it's unavoidable that you'll judge your drawing as complete picture, remember to also analyse it from the a technique level. Maybe you don't like the drawing overall, but you can see you did the shading really well. Or perhaps you do like the picture overall, but you feel your use of colour let you down. These are the sort things that you can then take to your next piece and improve upon or combine in different ways. Practice that technique specifically like you would a punch in Kung Fu if it really needs work. Also do this for the artist's work who you admire. Why do you like it? What techniques are they using and how? Then steal their ideas and try them yourself.
In my own compositions about half a year ago, I identified that my sound design wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. I have been composing for 10 years and have produced a good amount of tracks, so it wasn't one of those things that was just going to improve on it's own. So I sat down and practiced it specifically. I found a in depth online course to help me along and made sure that I found ways to use my new skills in my work. Now, 6 months later, my sound design is a hell of a lot better. It's still not where I want it to be, but it's getting there.
I think this is the kind of approach you need to have.
- With drawing, if I'm genuinely unhappy with what I've done, then why am I doing it? It's not really about showing off or being embarassed about where I am, but more that some theoretical future improvement is just too abstract
That's art for you. With Kung Fu there's a structural progression and concrete, defined things you need to do to reach the peak of that progression. With art, there is none of that and you have to decide what your end goal is and then figure out your own steps to get there. I can relate to you on this. I've always felt that I've been working towards some ideal in my head. Yet that ideal is obscured and I can only discover what it looks like by creating things which align to. Unfortunately, I think this is again just the way it is. But remember, just because you're unhappy with what you've done, it doesn't mean that it wasn't beneficial to do.
So when it comes down it, you answered your own question. The solution is to do hard work and lots of it. In the moment, the work is often far from as enjoyable or as fulfilling as you might like. Stick with it for the long run, and it will be. It's great you're willing to do it, but you also need to be willing to put up with all the hurdles and hardship along the way.
ButterflyEffect made a post for people to share their 2017 goals:
That's closest to anything 'official'. I don't think I'll do the spreadsheet again this year; people's motivation to fill it in seemed to diminish significantly throughout the year. Not that I can blame them, it was a bit clunky and didn't really add that much to anything. I did enjoy making it though. Props to those of you who filled out the majority of your months though. I believe francopoli ended up with the most points for 2016.
This is my favourite of the ones we've done together. Thanks for reminding me of it, it was a pleasure to have it be the first thing I heard after just waking up.
I'll be honest, I only initially started reading this out of respect for being personally mentioned. But it was actually fascinating, like you said. I was largely apathetic about HS2 but having read this article it's hard to ignore what a farce it all seems.
I'm reluctant to share an opinion on what I'd do differently for fear of talking out of my arse. What I will say is a lot of railway infrastructure here is outdated. From a brief perusal of google, upgrading existing lines doesn't seem to be an option. The places that would be the focus of any redevelopment have already been upgraded three times (1960, 2004, 2008) and now offer diminishing returns. Not to mention that it would be outweighed by the years of mass disruption it would cause to existing lines.
My preliminary conclusion is that maybe the UK does need something like HS2. However, the cost is ludcrious and the way it has proceeded through government until now is inadequate and needs to go back a good few steps. We need to make sure things are being done properly and that all alternatives, including variations on the existing HS2 model, are given due consideration. I do not think this will happen though, and they will pigheadedly plow ahead on the shaky foundation, for better or worse.
Thanks for the mention, it was a good read.
Fair enough. It seems I'm behind on the times along with rrrrr.
I don't doubt that there's tools with a lot more utility than Adobe's software provides when it comes to editing vocal takes and such, like the one you linked. And like you said, it's not really that bad of a process to do manually. At least not from the limited experience I've had of it.
The main interest I had in what Adobe showed was the ability to type in new words and phrases that a person hasn't actually said and the software's ability to produce a somewhat realistic sounding take. That's the cool part for me, vs. the basic vocal adjustment capability.
I know we haven't directly interacted much, but I want to say that I appreciate the positivity you always strive to bring to the community.
I hope you don't mind me sharing this pertinent extract from a book I read recently. Maybe you will find some value in it, maybe not:
- We have no cause to be mistrustful of our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors they are our terrors; if it has abysses those abysses belong to us, if dangers are there we must strive to love them. And if only we regulate our life according to that principle which advises us always to hold the difficult, what even now appears most alien to us will become most familiar and loyal. How could we forget those old myths which are to be found in beginnings of every people; the myths of the dragons which are transformed, at the last moment, into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our life are princesses, who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything is at bottom the helplessness that seeks our help.
If something in your proceedings is diseased, do reflect that disease is the means by which an organism rids itself of a foreign body; you must then simply help it to be ill, to have its full disease and to let it break out, for that is its development.
(Letter to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke)
Damn, you weren't kidding about it being a long read. It was however a valuable one. It helped give some structure to, and a different perspective on, things I've been considering. Thanks for sharing.