What is creativity’s purpose?

What is creativity’s purpose?
To me the words that flow through my brain connect and make me able to express my deepest feelings, whether it be in writings or music or simply conversing with others, gives me a reason to wake and try to fight sleep so I can go on with my journey through the labyrinth of my being. My music brings out my emotions, I can show my true workings and bare my soul. Painting lets me put my visions into others eyes. Knitting enables me to put my stamp on others, myself and my surroundings.
Every aspect of my life seems to be forcing me to share myself so I can connect with others and realise I am one brain in a sea of many trying to reach the same shore.
Creativity’s purpose in my life is keeping me alive, hungry, appreciative of life, the universe, people and all creatures. It lets me inquire, inspire and reflect.
Without creative juices flowing through my system daily I feel lost. I am not someone who can work 9-5, watch telly and enjoy mind numbing muscle relaxing beer. I am fired up continuously wanting/needing to expel my inner being, see my creations with my eyes instead of my mind and somehow touch the very core of humanity.
That, is creativity’s purpose for me.

Kirsty ‘Mad Eye’ McIntosh 2013

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What Is Happening When I Play Music In My Head?

By Kirsty McIntosh

When I hear a piece of music in my head, I know it’s only remnants not the piece in full glory. It’s almost like it is playing in my ears. What I as a drummer, hear strongly are the drums and bass guitar. Sometimes my memory can recreate a guitar or piano but because my body hasn’t played these instruments well or my association with them has been limited, I cannot play the riff, melody or sometimes the tone. Why is this?

I am not a neurologist, so the conclusion I have come to is this.

I remember a drum sound and can connect with it because I can see the movement or the tab in my mind. The bass I can somewhat put on a stave merely by tone, but without accuracy. My visual part of the brain kicks in, placing what beats I hear into my eyes and then my muscles. Is this how everyone does it? When you recreate or make up a new composition do your muscles respond?

The way I teach has more to do with movement and memory than skills taught from a score. I am not an amazing musician but over time I’m sure this will change, after all practice makes perfect. When I go out and watch live shows I am learning new skills or awakening old ones. Even the old 4/4 played by someone new can teach me how to position my body and sticks without me focusing too hard on the players sound. I can pre-empt their moves merely by the music’s structure and character of the musician. We’ve all heard & seen bad performers who mess up a fill or their timing is way out and how do we react? With a cringe or a yikes. Even non-musicians do this because they remember what a good drummer should sound like, well most of us do anyway, unless you are tone def or music blind with a medical impairment.

Do people who are lacking in one or more of the senses have a problem finding the beat? Do people who are blind from birth feel or hear music in the same way? I can only guess, as I have not done any research yet, that they must not. I know that the body overcompensates and heightens other senses when all are not being used. Vibration & movement can tell the audience what they are supposed to feel, but do they get the full effect if they cannot see the performance. I will research this as much as I can, but for now I can only look into my own workings.

Today I played along with White Room by Cream. Firstly I listened to the song a couple of times to refresh my mind and awaken my body. I then looked at a video of other drummers’ covers. From that, I was able to break down the movements needed to undertake the task. It’s a very simple rhythm but the feel is unique to whoever was executing it. After a few minutes I was able to play along from memory. The song played in my head and my muscles reacted to what they previously viewed & heard. Had I not watched the videos before I could’ve played along but not with the same muscle memory. True, I have skills in the area due to years of practice and knowledge of drum scores and genres, but I have not played all genres. For instance, Jazz drumming is not my forte but with practice and many video hours I could master it no doubt, but even with my understanding of drums I possibly could not achieve an honest interpretation of this genre without using my sight in the learning process.

For the first lesson with a student, I will play what I have planned for them and get them to listen, watch and absorb the rhythm. I ask a student to pick up the sticks, get into position and then close their eyes for a moment. I try to get them to feel everything, from how their feet rest on the pedals, how the sticks sit in their hands, the position of their fingers, wrists and arms and then I ask if they are comfortable. I ask them to soak it up and get their body to remember. From there I get them to open their eyes and play all voices on the kit so they can hear the sound they, the player, makes when striking them. With these first few steps I get them in control of their body and their sound.

I instruct them to play one beat at a time, repeat and feel their own response. Playing slowly is harder, as control is lacking or weak in many limbs and the student becomes stiff with the unnatural movements. After a few repetitions I get them to speed up not stopping after mistakes just letting the flow come to the surface. When the student is capable of playing the beat faster (even with mistakes) I then get them to assess their version against mine.

How did it sound and feel? What was your body doing when you made the mistakes? What was your mind thinking?

I ask them to close their eyes and play the piece again, assess and repeat the questioning. The response is one of surprise from them, they managed to feel it better, hear it better and therefore play it better. I don’t carry out this act every lesson but after giving them a new piece that they conquer with sight a few times, I remove the score and get them to play from memory vocalising the tune as they play. Nearly all the senses are used when playing and by giving my students these skills they can eventually play along with anything.

When I practice sometimes it’s from a score, sometimes memory, sometimes from video or music. When playing without any knowledge of the piece obviously, as one would imagine, it is harder. In the past I have gotten up and played with people I do not know and songs I’ve never heard, that’s when something incredible happens. My body picks up on the vibe, the other performers body language, the songs structure the law of musical notation & composition and memory kicks in.  This works because of the practice and musical knowledge gained over time but sometimes, it doesn’t work, and when it doesn’t I put it down to human chemistry. Some people just can’t play together even if they’re proficient musicians. Are their minds not allowing them to remember the genre or are they just not on the same wavelength? I bet when they get off the stage they kick themselves knowing they could’ve done better and the tunes they played run around in their head with muscle twitches reacting.

My experience of muscle movement when listening to internal rhythms is, the body knows through memory of sound, sight and musical knowledge what should be played. If one of these is lacking my movement slows or ceases. When a new instrument is being studied and all of these skills are yet to be gained, new pathways are opened firing up fresh neurons, which will then embed on the brain starting new memories for that particular instrument, almost like a filing system separating each instruments muscle memory.  Even with my understanding of music the brain never ceases to amaze me and encourage me to explore.

Never Give In

F That!

Everyday is a constant question

Am I good enough for you all?

Am I good enough for myself?

The answer

No.

How to be better still eludes me.

I’m trying hard, but not fast enough

You look down your nose

Cut off my conversation with your friends

Mock my work.

Gladly

I would bow out if the moment arose.

Happily I would forget becoming more

And go back to a mere housewife

With no purpose but to create calm and then

Frustratingly

Fuck that

I’m a rock drummer!

 I create order in chaos

I smooth out dissonance

Leave space for silence

And play to my own rhythm.

I will not give in to the weak scared,

Fragile childlike ego-less inner being

That is driving this body,

I will steer to victory, the victory over myself.

I will beat the coward and conquer the future

With or without you

Follow Up on Previous Post Where Is The Love?

Alright, so I said a lot of things in that post about humanities abuse of the natural world.

My husband thought it was well written, but him being an academic (associate professor in physics) did not agree with my humanistic, natural, more ‘normal’ outlook on science and technology.

As you have probably gathered, I am not very technologically minded and only just manage to put basic posts on here. Sometimes I even mess them up, photos not linking, links not linked, categories not ticked! That does not bother or affect me as it would to someone whose job and life revolve around the Internet and computers. I am an out-of-doors type that has to be physically moving to feel they have achieved something, so sitting writing on here is quite a challenge for me. Not bombing off to paint something or drum, clean the house (inside and out, even the roof) or put in a French drain! Yes I put in a French drain down the side of our house, which took me 2 weeks. Everyday after work (cleaning houses, running a cafe) I would adorn my builder’s outfit (holey jeans, paint covered shirt) and crack on digging, cutting drains, laying concrete etc. The job took a long time, to most people, but I had the patience and some time (even when it got dark) to complete the task to an almost perfect standard. I did not use power tools, and I know had it not been for the invention of plastic, concrete and glue that the drain would not exist and had those things not been invented I would not have a house to make use of it.

I fully understand that scientific & technological inventions are fundamental to our future, but when they get put into the wrong hands, that’s when it all goes pear shaped. Example: someone who wants the quality of life for thousands of people to be bettered invents a dam. A solo person cannot make this happen and needs the backing of government to create it. Money is injected and handfuls of people work together eventually removing the project from the scientist & engineer. In the beginning everyone benefits, but after a while all responsibility for the upkeep is left solely to the government & water board. They then tax the water usage, add whatever toxins to detoxify & clarify the water, drain excess water to prevent failure and inform the public if they need to reduce water usage in times of drought, all in the best interests for the people. Sounds good, right? But what involvement & knowledge do we really have of our water? The scientist has been paid and let go, until something goes wrong and their knowledge is needed to rectify a problem. Said scientist might have concerns of what chemicals are being added and maybe try to persuade the dam owner to try more natural products, having full insight into how things might pan out in future. If the suggestions made, cost the government too much money then all moral issues of the health & welfare of the public, goes out the window. Business brains knock out the scientific rational brains. I’m not an expert on dams or water so this example is a mere skim of government involvement in our lives.

I respect scientists that have made a morally correct contribution and have enriched our lives, giving the majority of us lucky few, healthy, educated, adventurous, safe, long lives. I do not have respect for governing bodies that have abused these concepts, capitalized on their creation and stomped on morality. Many politicians are not corrupt and have gone into the business hoping to do good, but they either get voted out or cannot bare to be associated with such a body and leave with a hole in their heart and their esteem quashed.

What I was trying to get across in the last paragraph on the piece (the one my husband took issue with) was indeed we need new inventions, exploration and understanding but do we have to do it in such a fashion that it devours & exploits nature. Should we not be working with gravity, solar/wind/water energy, plants, seasons, animals to harmonize our existence so the Earth can sustain our future races?

By “downing tools and pondering not probing” I was merely suggesting that a reduced speed, giving people time to gather data and assess future responses, might be the way to go. I did not say, “Lets down tools, live in caves and give up all technology for it is bad!” I kind of like living in my house with all it’s conveniences, but I am happy picking up my two sticks a bit of wool and creating something that will keep myself or fellow beings warm.

My grandmother was born on the Shetland Islands, off the coast of Scotland. She lived in small house with 13 brothers & sisters and was put to work gathering potatoes, looking after the land and knitting fishing nets, from a very young age to help the family survive. She had simple pleasures and worked hard all her life creating a clean, safe environment, warming meals and clothing for her family. She was not a university graduate, nor did she have a career as such, but she taught me more than anyone could on how to be a capable, tough, content, self-enriched, independent woman.  Without her ‘primal’ upbringing to guide me, I would not have been able to put in that French drain. Thanks Mam!

I hope this has enlightened the academic thinkers as to where my ‘normal, substandard, not as intelligent as you’ brain explores. And that I’m not turning my back on science, just hate being a hypocrite when we discuss the issue, because obviously I couldn’t get my point across to the world without technology & science and am therefore stuck in the continuous self flagellating predicament. Thanks Technology!

I wanted to post this today, but the electric was switched off for maintenance, big thanks to the powers that be!!

Road Rage Is Unacceptable!

Today I had the pleasure of embarrassing a lady with severe self importance issues. I was on my way to visit a friend who lives further in the country, it was raining, my windows started to steam up slightly, I had just come off a bend and was approaching a junction. The sign said 80 and given my situation I slowed to 60  for about 30 seconds, before stopping at the turning. During this 30 (long) seconds, I was being harassed by an aggressive driver, who clearly was way more important than me.

She continued to go 80 and wasn’t far off my bumper & when she was close enough decided to throw her hands up in disgust at my inconsiderate driving.

As we approached the village, speed limit 50 normally but given that it was school time, 40. I slowed, she didn’t. I ignored she gave me the bird!

As I indicated to pull off she pulled in & parked, so I parked got out and confronted her. “Did you have a problem with my driving” I asked, “Yes, you were going 60 in an 80” she said. “It’s not illegal to go slower than the limit and you have no idea what was going on in my car” I said. She walked off into the cafe, so I followed. When I asked her why she was angry at me going slightly slower because I was approaching a turning, I couldn’t see clearly for a second so adjusted my driving. She replied “Well you should have pulled over and got out my way.” I had to tell her to look at me, because she clearly didn’t want to and by not noticing me can remove responsibility & guilt for her actions. To this I reminded her that she is not the only person on the road, I am a human being and if I have a slight problem should she not be a little more considerate. “You are inconsiderate driving slower and you should not make your problems my problems” was her response.

I believe she knows she was in the wrong but she was angry that I had the audacity to confront her, in a public place.

I did not feel good about this, given that I do not like to upset others, cause a seen or make myself look foolish, but I believe we need to start helping people understand what effect their behavior has on others.

I hope my actions have embarrassed her enough to think more behind the wheel.

Where Is The Love?

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Why Have We Let Psychopaths Rule?

By Kirsty McIntosh

They are in our government, boardrooms, health systems, and schools even in science. A psychopath is someone hell bent on making themselves happier, richer, more comfortable and less responsible than anyone else. They make decisions based on how it will affect them in the short term mainly, although some, have the ability to think to the future.

The ones in power, the ones that make big decisions for us all and say it’s in our best interest. From politicians influencing every aspect of our lives, the way we live, how much we pay and get paid, the resources we can have, the food we eat, the cars we drive, the way our environment looks. The scientists creating amazing, but mostly destructive tools that enable us to have warmth, water, mobility, entertainment, knowledge, connectivity so we can lead richer fuller stress-free lives. The doctors giving us healthier ways to live (ha), diets to mess with our natural state, pills that sustain life, new faces & bodies if we don’t like what we’re born with, cures to diseases that they, along with scientists and government backing, created.  The teachers holding back knowledge to dumb down our kids, our future, so they don’t ask the questions to see the true picture.

The ones at the top of these fields have only there best interests at heart. To be the next leader of a country, the next Nobel Prize winner or the ones that got them there. All looking for praise, all looking for glory.

Without all these people we would be a primitive race, but would that truly be a bad thing? We have developed into a wonder race. We can touch the stars. The planets are far away for a reason and by bringing the universe closer we are bringing it down on our heads.

Should we not rein in our thoughts on domination, conquer and control of all things and realise we are not bigger than the Earth or the Universe, the things that gave us life!

You do not try and dominate, conquer and control your mother, or at least no stable person would. You should at most, respect and be thankful to the ones that gave birth to you even if you don’t understand, have a connection with, know or love them. Without them you would not exist.

We, as a collective, need to extend our human feelings to the planet and beyond. Stop playing with it as if it were a toy. We are not in control, nor should we ever be, of nature. And all projects leading to the domination of it should cease.

It is a seriously dangerous and wrong thing to try & overrule a country and it’s people without full knowledge & understanding of its place with our world order, but to try and overrule something as awesome as the universe is deranged. Humans are no bigger than ants in small numbers and therefore the effect they have on the universal system would be little to none. But in the size we have gotten to, the destruction is immense and possibly irreversible.

I am no politician, scientist, doctor or academic teacher, but I am a mother, a student of the universe, a respecter of nature & other living things and I know my place in the vast intricate system that sustains my being.

I implore all people to down tools, sit back & observe in awe and wonderment the place in which we are so lucky to live. I beg each and every one of you to care about the future for all things around us. Be thankful for what you have, share what you have. Stop probing for answers, ponder yes, but don’t touch what you do not and never will, understand or deserve.

Don’t try to be the best thing in the universe, as you never will be. Respect what it has given you and live everyday in peace!

#Disrespect Makes Me Angry!!

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I am beyond angry right now!!!!!
Mother arranged daughter’s lesson today, ( a bank holiday) 11.30am. All fine with me as it leaves the rest of the day.
This is the daughter’s third lesson, well would’ve been if they had bothered to turn up and didn’t cancel the last one. The daughter has down syndrome and looks very comfortable on the kit, she has a great sound, feel and concentration. She loves music and I believe would pick up drumming rather quickly.
Unfortunately the parents, like most that want their children to play an instrument, have no idea how much effort and dedication it takes from both student and teacher. I hear comments like “oh we’re not musical but want him/her to learn an instrument” then the next time ” he/she wants to try another instrument so we’re just going to sell the other”. Most of the time the parents are not passionate about anything, let alone music, and cannot understand the utter joy, relaxation, peace, enlightenment, confidence, respect that a person finds playing an instrument. The ability to focus, understand the workings of your body & mind are, I believe, very important to a human to be able to adapt to the ways of the world.
I get my students to play, then stop and close their eyes. I want them to visualize with touch how their body is positioned and if they are comfortable and are sitting in the most efficient position to move around the kit. I get them to to try and move their mind to one spot on their body and get all the senses firing there. Getting them to do this helps their body remember the best position so when next time they get on the kit they feel great and in control.
This teaching method is more important and has greater affect on my students with disabilities, most of whom have twitches and to control their limbs takes a lot of effort.
I love teaching. I love to watch people find their groove. I get excited when I hear something new and start dancing and singing round the room, sometimes I jam with them on the timbales, djembe or toms. I get a flush of adrenaline and get them to play like they never thought they would, because of their inner rhythm, the rhythm that naturally flows and reveals itself with every hit of the drum skin, an invisible force takes over and compels them/you to keep playing until a natural cadence is reached.
What a great work out as well.

The parents who come to me asking me to teach their children, have very little or no respect for the drums, they just think it’s cool that a woman plays the kit and how cool it would be for their kids (’cause drummers don’t get picked on). I have noticed it’s the people that are just over the working class line, the ones who have a touch more money to throw around, disrespect most music teachers. They believe you can work miracles because a few dollars have been flung at you and you will make their child a prodigy. They are late for lessons, sometimes leave their children to go and have coffee and are late back. Don’t ever encourage them to practice, or encourage them by saying they will cancel lessons and sell the instrument. Or sometimes just Don’t Turn Up or Call!

Music is supposed to be fun, yes it takes dedication to gain knowledge, but if people understood the therapeutic effects music has on us and realize it makes us calmer, sociable, creative, empathetic and heightens our intellect, then the world would be a noisier, but better place.

It’s a shame that children are missing out on a whole other world because of the stupidity of their parents. Maths is super important to get you through life, so some say. If a child does not understand maths, you hire a tutor if you cannot teach them yourself. Not all people understand maths to great depth, but still believe it’s one of the most important subjects that you need to get a great job.
Music is mathematical, but I think because of it’s complexity and various genres, the stupid Mr & Mrs Blogs thinks it is merely entertainment and have not got the brains to think beyond the sound to really work out what it’s doing to our bodies.

There are so many social aspects that I cannot cover, but the bottom line is those with money seem to put monetary value on music. Those with little or none, understand and appreciate music for what it is. So maybe I should just forget getting paid and give free lessons, by doing so I will connect the ones that need & want music in their lives and weed out the empty minded, up their own backsides,  moronic trend chasers that make me angreeeeeeeeeeeeeee! (I know it’s not spelled right, just needs it)