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The Assembly of Sampling Conformity B(L)og 027

Well what’s going on? I’m hoping for the best for you. It’s been a while here at the B(L)og area of the website. Today we’re going to discuss conformity. The desire to identify with a group or a common level of understanding has caused many aspiring and seasoned musicians to abandon their own creative intuition in lieu of identifying with what now can be seen as generalized normal tried and true practices. These widely accepted practices are so normal and consistent that they can barely be considered creative anymore.

Were Does It Begin?

This idea of conforming to the norm isn’t always intentional. And in most cases, it simply starts out as a quest to “talk shop” with other artists. A search to enrich your musical skill. You can learn a lot by learning about how others operate in your field of work. And as thoughts and ideas are freely shared, a hierarchical database begins to form. These very said ideas begin to be critiqued. Sifted and ranked so methodically that no one involved really realizes that this type judgment is being made. It’s a transparent voting system where the most respected ideas are adopted and defended by the majority And the other ideas? Well they get gently suppressed until they simply aren’t discussed anymore. Ultimately the need to be acknowledged becomes so strong that musicians simply begin to say what they know will get them rewarded with approval from their contemporaries. At this point, no new ideas are shared. Only thoughts that are readily accepted and easily adapted. Why? There’s comfort in conformity. Conforming to anything doesn’t require you to think to much (if at all). It won’t challenge you and it’s easy to accept. There’s no wrong way to do music when you’re doing it your way. Experimenting and deriving your own methods is rewarding and original. As long as what you are doing is not harmful to yourself or others; it’s all bets are on!

Similar to artists; A patch bay appears to be a group of conformity, but each patch point leads to an unique destination.

How Do I Know If I’m An Artist?

You know you’re a true artist if you’re able to assimilate knowledge to your own creative ends. Thus, deriving a result that bears little resemblance (if any) to its source. You know you’re not a musician and just pretending an artist; If you’re eager to find a standard way of working (even if that standard is presented as the secret sauce and known to only the chosen few). Musicianship is the ability to radiate your individuality through the medium of sound based on common principles of the genre you’re subscribed to at the moment. You’re born an individual. That’s your distinct gift. You don’t have to acquire it. You’re equipped with the largest piece of the puzzle. From there you simply have to merge yourself into an art form so that whenever you create, your individualism remains evident; and ultimately audible. That is the major area that an artist should spend their time working on. The knowledge and tools are clearly available. That’s not hard to find. Nothing is in this present time. It’s nothing special. What’s special is you! Nobody can teach you about yourself. They can point you in a direction to self-actualization. But your ability to harness your innate creative liveliness and translate it into sound is a top level of expertise. Now if you don’t want to do all of that; Then being part of a congregation that places hording mass amounts of tips and tricks to no avail, while attempting to sound original………….? We’ll we’ve seen what happens when masses of people do what their told without question haven’t, we? Oh never mind me……. If that’s your level of comfort. Then the church of conformity is for you! Now here’s the double-edged sword. All artists have a duty to teach. So then, isn’t it hypocritical to teach something that could potentially become a standard practice by those who listen? The answer is conditionally YES! Here’s the condition. You as an educator, are then obligated to make it known to any potential students that any information given is secondary, by a wide margin, to ones ability to express their individuality within the art form.

On The Contrary

There is a subgroup of musicians out there that are just contrarians. Different just to be defiant. Up is down and down is up with these types. They consciously seek out what the standard opinion is and do the opposite just so they can stand out. This approach is neither clever or original. In fact, it’s a form of conforming. They are still basing their creative decisions on conformist views. Not their own. Their entire thought process depends on it. You don’t really want to be this way. There's no logical rhyme or reason behind it.

Your Sampler & Your Self-Esteem

Now onto your samplers. The same principle applies here as well. They’re not that important in the grand scheme of things. It’s better to regard yourself as the ultimate instrument played by creativity. In this light, you can view creativity as your conscience. Your intuition. Your gut feeling. Your soul. Whichever term you’d like, as long as the emphasis is placed on your intelligence. Unless you feel that your sampler is a more complex and intelligent being than you; Why then, would you hold an instrument in higher esteem than yourself? You’re the real standalone. Not your vintage sampler.

Pops Is That You?

Perhaps you haven’t thought about your own identity. Possibly, you’ve spent most of your time looking for someone to live through. You’re not the only one. It’s a common phenomenon. People live through others sometimes. Be it our spouses, children, mentors, fictional heroes. And even more intriguing; We create imaginary alter egos and personas, and live through them! I’m certain you’ve come across musicians like this. They’re looking for their figurative father. Someone who they can rely on to be artistically and morally fulfilling of their expectations of what the perfect artist is. Thus, by looking up to them they hope to receive the blueprint for being a picture-perfect artist themselves. In a case like this, art can closely imitate life. Often people like this really do have a strained or severed relationship with their paternal father. And since music of all art forms is very therapeutic in nature, the link between protection, safety and guidance is sought through a musical mentor/educator. We always don’t get what we need in life, yet we do get the tools to correct and repair the circumstances that we’ve been exposed to. And by now you might have guessed that the answer to change is always contingent on your understanding of yourself and your ability to use what you know to get where you need to go.

Okay So How Do I Be Myself?

My gut reaction is to say that you’re most likely doing it quite well in other areas of life. Yeah you are! You know who you’re attracted to, right? You know what food you like, right? You don’t need anyone to tell you when you’re hungry or sleepy....... right? You rely on yourself to make a sound choice and course of action based on your understanding of yourself! That very same thing that you do to come to those decisions are the very said things that you can do to make decisions regarding your music. No one can do it for you! So I’d encourage all reading to pursue the gift of your life by being yourself in art. It’s not too scary, it’s actually exhilarating; which can be seen as frightening so I understand. Nevertheless, it’s worth it! Thanks for reading! TDS

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