Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Why Do Musicians Play, Rather Than Just Listen?

Great question recently brought up in a LinkedIn Music Group.  Many equally great and very related answers were provided to which I could nearly say "all of the above."  Someone mentioned "pain relief," which is quite astute, touching on many levels and really hitting home with me.  I could simply claim this as reason enough but that would fall short.  When my body was smashed into many pieces I was 19, (2 years into my professional music career) my life passed over then was miraculously returned.  This second chance gave me a second sight, a rare extremely painful bone disease, constant creative drive and a desperate need to feel worthy, which I try to fulfill by offering my time and talents to Humanitarian Causes through A4H.  When immersed in writing (songs and/or freelancing for the industry), producing and most notably performing - my pain is eased far more than by any medication.  When I see toes are tapping, hear folks are singing along, I feel my music in its own small way is beneficial to the human condition.  All reasons enough for me to stay dedicated to my craft, yet far from the only ones.  There are times when worldly needs may keep my ax's hanging and studio door closed.  Then suddenly I'll realize that clinical depression has begun to set in, consequently I'm in agreement with the most common answer musicians in the group provided - that playing is an absolute necessity, just as art forever has been and will be for any artist. 



In regards to the deeper psychological aspects of the questions, a noted Psychiatrist chimed in with clinical reasons for this necessity, all of which I agreed with.  I'd like to offer an additional thought to our common "need" for playing and I'd love to hear what other players, pro or amateurs make of this; I feel it safe to say that "creative energy" can be called the fuel that gets music from our minds and into our instruments.  Further, I believe it is very closely related to our natural, life influencing "pro-creative energy" and as we age, hormones settling down (at least to some degree), this powerful drive branches out, seeking new outlets.  A petty criminal may become the latest Dr. Evil or an amateur songwriter may suddenly come out with the next chart topper.  Some who once played now and then may naturally grow into an incredibly talented player unable to imagine life without their instruments, discovering a life long avenue for creative/pro-creative energies, providing pleasure for themselves and others alike, along with helping to keep the music world alive and well - as commerce and art - the fine line all professionals must face. Something I've often thought about and in the words of C.S.N. & Y, I mention it here - "for what it's worth."

This is truly is a great question and the group provided exceptional insight into why we players do what we must.  It was reassuring to read many examples documenting the importance of music as an essential part of so many lives.  To all players out there, I wish you the best in your creative efforts and implore you to keep on shining your light and enriching the lives of listeners.  How would you answer this question? Let us know your views on the importance of music in your life, as a player, listener or both. If you question it's value, try if you can to imagine a world without music, would it be deafening or silent? 

Peace, Love & Music!

Jeff Hayford 

www.reverbnation.com/jeffhayford



Copyright, 2014 A4H Productions, all rights reserved.

Monday, February 3, 2014

A tragic loss... and a lot of misunderstanding....

I've read many insensitive remarks about the loss of the extremely talented Phillip Seymore Hoffman and they've gotten my goat.  Saying "addiction" is a choice and not a disease shows a total lack of empathy - dragons are being chased in corners of your world - I guarantee you.  It's truly an epidemic in our great land and for many reasons.  Here's one few are aware of - people from all walks of life have been severely injured in our great city's and treated in insanely busy hospitals with extremely addictive medications - it takes just one to be captured for some, then they're sent home with no proper "ween off" scripts. This leads to people seeking off the streets, far more often than anyone one realizes.  The medical profession itself, documents and admits to not knowing how to correct this horrible problem.

I know this was not the case with Hoffman, his addiction battle was well documented, even on 60 minutes. He spoke of how he brook free and later admitted to falling back.  He may well have had serious pain issues. I live in chronic pain from being smashed to pieces when a car blind sided me on my motorcycle 30 years ago.  I have an extremely rare bone disease with no known treatment and a lower leg with half the muscle gone and 13 pieces of bone that were miraculously put back together by a truly great woman.  The first 3 doctors wanted to amputate, saying there was "no hope for it."  Kathleen Robinson, RIP - did not agree, she had worked M.A.S.H. units in Korea and had seen ONE similar leg injury from a land mine.  For 4 weeks I had multiple surgeries and had to sign an approval every time.  Each time they came in I expected it to say "amputation."  Amazingly she saved it, one morning saying "we're out of the woods now," however there's just one bone, no Tibia and extensive nerve damage.  Still I prefer it over some prosthesis.  Get blown apart in a terrorist attack and you become a Rock Star - having it happen on a highway in NH gets you nothing but monstrous medical bills and severe pain.

I've tried every possible pain treatment I could find and sadly, a narcotic is the only thing that allows me to be writing now and it's very difficult to admit to this.  However, without it I would probably take my own life as my father did - the pain is just intolerable. Alcoholics are spoken of as diseased people - take a narcotic and you're just a "user."  This is a sad misconception that I hope in my small way to help correct.  I tell no one about my medications, yet "abusers" have broken into my home and stolen them - they're desperation will make them turn on their best friend or even family members.  There is a HUGE difference between people who are in genuine need and those just seeking a high.  So, yes there are many, many abusers that become diseased by their own actions. However, pigeon hole stereotyping people who take narcotics is a terrible issue for those of us truly in need, taking them properly as prescribed - not snorting or shooting up, they are the safest, historically longest known long term pain relievers.  They develop the very same chemical that our brains do to fight pain on our own.  A "high" for people like myself is feeling well enough to make our way in this world, or for me to tell this story - without being in absolute agony.

This new A4H blog is about the music and entertainment business primarily and here's the first post being somewhat off subject, sadly the recent news about Hoffman showed the world how big the misconception is when it comes to fighting the demons - self created or forced upon us - they are completely different worlds and people. Look to your hearts and realize this and find a little empathy for all who live with this battle - just don't assume they're all self inflicted wounds done by "choice."

Up Next:  How Bob Dylan suddenly got loads of money from a song he never finished writing in 1971....

Peace, enjoy good health and the beauty of every sunrise and sunset.

- Jeff H
A4H "Arts4Humanity"