Audiobus: Use your music apps together.

What is Audiobus?Audiobus is an award-winning music app for iPhone and iPad which lets you use your other music apps together. Chain effects on your favourite synth, run the output of apps or Audio Units into an app like GarageBand or Loopy, or select a different audio interface output for each app. Route MIDI between apps — drive a synth from a MIDI sequencer, or add an arpeggiator to your MIDI keyboard — or sync with your external MIDI gear. And control your entire setup from a MIDI controller.

Download on the App Store

Audiobus is the app that makes the rest of your setup better.

The Essence of Creativity Pt 1

I, through luck, perseverance, education or good karma (which I’m skeptical about) have found my way. Not “the” way, but “a” way. This is a tech forum but there are creators here. It can be a lonely and fruitless pursuit. I know how I felt at 25. Lost. I wanted to be a jazz improviser, but I suffered constant breakdowns. A spot of hope and then the inevitable crash seconds later.

I was fortunate to live in NYC in a building of several successful classical musicians. Ironically, I found my teacher by asking a percussionist. How he knew of Lennie Tristano (my teacher’s teacher) I simply cannot fathom. He was not even a jazz fan, But that recommendation changed my life.

So, my first piece of cheap advice is be open and focus on your goal. The answer can come from the strangest places. Secondly, when you get a message from the unknown, listen to it! I didn’t have to act on on Dick Fitz’ suggestion (yes, Dick Fitz!), but, thankfully, I did. My teacher, Connie Crothers, was a golden needle in a haystack of woebegone base metal musicians who taught for extra bucks. Additionally, she was non judgmental and supremely affirming. Rare traits, even in a knowledgeable teacher. So, ideally, yes, find your teacher.

But this is often not possible. Not everyone lives in NYC. Your music is probably not jazz. Money, time, everything conspires against finding “a” way.

What is the answer? The truth is that the idea of making great music is a very fun idea. But as a propellant it is a pretty low grade fuel. Millions upon millions think it would be fun to play an instrument and millions do. For the majority a few lessons can lead to a lifetime of enjoyment, musical interaction and hobbyism. I call this adjunct musicality.... supplemental, not essential.... and perfectly ok.

However, there is a small number of us here for which music is, not necessarily, the breath of life, but, perhaps, the marijuana inhalation of life. It’s what peels the skin of mundanity away from day to day reality. And that reality can be a pretty soggy grape to peel.

I’m staring at a ninth decade, so maybe you can take my word on this.... first, be honest with yourself. Identify your own truth shorn of ego and musical materialism. There is nothing really to gain. Not fame, not fortune. These may come to a select few, but they have nothing to do with a love of creating music, and often destroy it and life itself.

If you honestly pass thru the first gate.... of self awareness... and find yourself a candidate... be helpless. Like a baby. When I was learning tai chi the baby image was a big thing. We come into the world, unless there is a tough womb experience, without resistance. Without muscular control, without self judgement and criticism. Damn, we even lack the concept of concept. All this must be lost all too quickly in order, so they say, to survive.

And thus, the first barrier, instruction by others. Instruction not only in the things of this world, but more critically, how to “see” this world. Natural selection works against the small c creator in this case. The way that works in “real” life is not the way things work for the creator. Adam named everything. That was his job other than fucking and staying away from “sin”. He corralled reality for the rest of us and we never looked back.

But I’m suggesting the aspiring creator must look back. Must revisit the basic lies we are told about life. This is a big job... even the idea of “a job” is a lie at its root. But the aspirant does not need to get to the end of that road... merely embark on it. A questioning mind might be the best way to describe it.

Beyond these entering points there is only one more critical gate, IMO. And that is openness. Simply being open. One of the hardest and dangerous things a body can do. And yet the simplest and most serene state. A true koan.

So what do I say about this most important element? Well, I need to figure that out! Hence the Part One bit. But, in my own field of openness, I have confidence I can say something relevant in Part 2. We shall see!

Comments

  • Your words are very musical in their own right sir! I enjoyed reading this and felt guided. I have been feeling the sense of inspiration all around me more and more lately… lessons from left field. It really makes life an adventure. For every new musical nugget I gain, three more life lessons follow. The lines between my creative outlets blur more and more everyday. I find myself solving design problems with musical solutions and solving customer experience problems with design solutions and so on and so forth. Thank you again @LinearLineman for affirming the unexpected path!

  • I’m glad this resonates with you @Stuntman_mike. Yes, calling it the “unexpected” is exactly right. All of life is so “unexpected”, but as routine based creatures we are taught to look away from such a world. We try to “plan” for the unexpected... but all those plans (life insurance, home insurance, nest egg, etc) are really all “expected” things. One cannot plan for the unexpected because... well, then it wouldn’t be unexpected. It is something that does not enter your mind.

    But you can welcome the unexpected... especially from a feeling place during the creation of music....
    Like the openness to field a ball that could come from any direction... even from the bleachers... even from the moon. It is not a thought thing, really. It’s more a sensing thing, But intellectually we can wrestle with the idea of expecting the unexpected. We donkt know what it will be, but we can have a sense of “readiness”.

    Thanks for your thoughts, Mike... actually I will use this in Part 2. I hadn’t thought of couching it as you have... the “unexpectedness” of creativity, but you gave me another way in... very “unexpected”!!
    🤔😳🔍😂😎🙏

  • I love to bask in the warm glow of your words of wisdom, my friend. Your years and travels have imparted a calmness and clarity that I yearn for. If it's not too much, I'd like to offer a few thoughts of my own.

    The biggest challenge for me is creation without expectation. By that I mean - making the art simply because the process brings me joy. Doing it because I wanna. I've found that the truest, purest, most satisfying art is made that way. It's also the hardest kind of art because it requires a meditation mindset - being clear, being present, letting go of chatter and baggage, not "trying" just doing, being a conduit to the great unknown, all that horse$#!t. ;)

    This being said, I've RARELY achieved this, and certainly without any consistency. But a simpler form is just making your own art and NOT APOLOGIZING. Who cares if your melody is derivative? Who cares if the vocals aren't loud enough in the mix? Who cares if you chumped that chord in the middle 8? Who cares if you only use the Pentatonic scale? Stop judging yourself so harshly and just go finish something - get it done, let it go. When I am able to exist in this space, I am at my happiest.

    Don't worry about being a rock star, people - just create things that makes you happy. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

  • @LinearLineman said:
    I’m glad this resonates with you @Stuntman_mike. Yes, calling it the “unexpected” is exactly right. All of life is so “unexpected”, but as routine based creatures we are taught to look away from such a world. We try to “plan” for the unexpected... but all those plans (life insurance, home insurance, nest egg, etc) are really all “expected” things. One cannot plan for the unexpected because... well, then it wouldn’t be unexpected. It is something that does not enter your mind.

    But you can welcome the unexpected... especially from a feeling place during the creation of music....
    Like the openness to field a ball that could come from any direction... even from the bleachers... even from the moon. It is not a thought thing, really. It’s more a sensing thing, But intellectually we can wrestle with the idea of expecting the unexpected. We donkt know what it will be, but we can have a sense of “readiness”.

    Thanks for your thoughts, Mike... actually I will use this in Part 2. I hadn’t thought of couching it as you have... the “unexpectedness” of creativity, but you gave me another way in... very “unexpected”!!
    🤔😳🔍😂😎🙏

    Wow, I’m humbled to be a contributor to your thoughts! I’ve noticed that the less I think the better I play. I know this probably a “duh” moment for seasoned musicians, but when I just let it be I play faster and better.

  • @Daveypoo said:
    I love to bask in the warm glow of your words of wisdom, my friend. Your years and travels have imparted a calmness and clarity that I yearn for. If it's not too much, I'd like to offer a few thoughts of my own.

    The biggest challenge for me is creation without expectation. By that I mean - making the art simply because the process brings me joy. Doing it because I wanna. I've found that the truest, purest, most satisfying art is made that way. It's also the hardest kind of art because it requires a meditation mindset - being clear, being present, letting go of chatter and baggage, not "trying" just doing, being a conduit to the great unknown, all that horse$#!t. ;)

    This being said, I've RARELY achieved this, and certainly without any consistency. But a simpler form is just making your own art and NOT APOLOGIZING. Who cares if your melody is derivative? Who cares if the vocals aren't loud enough in the mix? Who cares if you chumped that chord in the middle 8? Who cares if you only use the Pentatonic scale? Stop judging yourself so harshly and just go finish something - get it done, let it go. When I am able to exist in this space, I am at my happiest.

    Don't worry about being a rock star, people - just create things that makes you happy. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

    OMG yes!!! Quietude, especially for music has become a focal point for me. I’ve noticed I can hear the songs in my head if the tv is on or too many people are around. My best place for ideation is the shower. It’s like magic when the water is running and I’m standing in there letting drops fall where the may. I’m now exploring the idea of playing water noise when I create…

  • LL, you are not just a fine musician in your own right, you are a poet.

  • I'm often reminded of a quote from one of my favorite TV shows, Barney Miller. The character in question continually escaped prison. "The years force a certain amount of wisdom upon you, whether you like it or not."

  • Bumping this to take the heat off of my Greenwood thread. Life goes on.

  • Sure... try and take some of that heat off by opening a great political discussion thread.
    They always end it someone making @Michael stop his coding and shut down some
    powerful dialogue that is conducted more civilly here than anywhere else.

    But someone will make him do his job... again.

    Life is likely to stop sometime in the next 500 years unless we develop some more effective tools for atmosphere management. "Life" meaning civilization as we know and enjoy it.

    Creativity is overrated if you prefer genre music, by the way.

  • @McD said:

    Life is likely to stop sometime in the next 500 years unless we develop some more effective tools for atmosphere management. "Life" meaning civilization as we know and enjoy it.

    I don’t think there is anything to worry about really as nothing lasts forever (says the guy without kids ;) )

    Creativity is overrated if you prefer genre music, by the way.

    And much much easier if you don’t care whether or not you are in a genre. Good deal!

  • @McD said:
    They always end it someone making @Michael stop his coding and shut down some
    powerful dialogue that is conducted more civilly here than anywhere else.

    But someone will make him do his job... again.

    I do so hate that..

  • @Michael said:

    @McD said:
    They always end it someone making @Michael stop his coding and shut down some
    powerful dialogue that is conducted more civilly here than anywhere else.

    But someone will make him do his job... again.

    I do so hate that..

    Haha!

  • Thanks @NeuM self expression seems to have been a major theme in this go round,
    @Stuntman_mike, thank you for the “unexpected insight. Yeah, when it comes to thinking less is often more. Especially with creative stuff.
    @Daveypoo, good comments... maybe you should also comment on manifesting since you seem to do that pretty well,

  • edited June 4

    @LinearLineman said:
    @Daveypoo, good comments... maybe you should also comment on manifesting since you seem to do that pretty well,

    Manifestation = Hard Work & Perseverance, coupled with learning to identify opportunities when they present themselves, even when (especially when) they don't appear to be what you may want/need.

    Just takes practice, like anything else. I think someone had a thread around here about practicing @LinearLineman... ;)

  • @Daveypoo, I think manifesting is at its foundation is being open to possibility. All too often we come up with many negative reasons to block its blossoming.

    When I returned from Turkey the options were pretty bleak for me. But I wasn’t depressed by it. I just continued on the journey, suspecting the journey might be ending, but open to anything happening. Sure enough, I reunited with my ex wife... something I didn’t think was remotely possible.. but was something I really desired. There was no hard work or perseverance involved... just, as you also mentioned, openness to opportunity. Sometimes being open and wanting something is enough.

  • edited June 5

    Being open to possibility is the first step. Recognizing it when it shows up is the next. Being brave enough to grab on and hold tight for the ride is the last

    😉

  • This is my favorite quote of all time. I first heard right as I was getting into music making, and I've always tried to remember it when I sit down to write:

    "Art reaches its greatest peak when devoid of self-consciousness. Freedom discovers man the moment he loses concern over what impression he is making or about to make."
    -Bruce Lee

  • @Tarekith said:
    This is my favorite quote of all time. I first heard right as I was getting into music making, and I've always tried to remember it when I sit down to write:

    "Art reaches its greatest peak when devoid of self-consciousness. Freedom discovers man the moment he loses concern over what impression he is making or about to make."
    -Bruce Lee

    Eckhart Tolle talks about artists and athletes being “in the zone”. That’s what Bruce was talking about, too. The thing not emphasized in that quote is, IMO, is that the person we most want to impress when it comes to making art is ourself.

  • Speaking of being in the zone - I thought that Pixar's movie Soul had a fantastic take on that idea, and used the vehicle of an aging musician to tell the story.

    If you haven't, go watch it. It's powerful stuff packaged in a way my kids can digest it. Brilliance.

  • From martial arts I have learned the value of recognizing that any aspiration is no more than a journey on a path where you have a waypoint in mind. Sometimes you may leave the path in a different direction, or maybe rejoin it at a later stage.

    It’s not a destination that we should focus on, but simply the journey itself.

    As a friend of mine said many years ago (talking about solo World travel): “The hardest part of any journey is buying the ticket.”

  • edited June 6

    @michael_m said:
    From martial arts I have learned the value of recognizing that any aspiration is no more than a journey on a path where you have a waypoint in mind. Sometimes you may leave the path in a different direction, or maybe rejoin it at a later stage.

    It’s not a destination that we should focus on, but simply the journey itself.

    As a friend of mine said many years ago (talking about solo World travel): “The hardest part of any journey is buying the ticket.”

    I both agree and disagree with this, Michael. Of course the journey over the destination is the tried and true aphorism and works for most of us, myself included. But, astoundingly, there is a level of mastery of the creative arts that some reach... literally perfection. After that there may be evolution or shifting in the output, but the quality remains the same.... unimproveable. Of course, everyone has bad days. A toothache or a heartache can jostle that perfectness, but the underlying skill/mastery is still there.

    I, with necessary modesty and far from perfection, do find perfected aspects of my art that are pretty unfathomable. The biggest is how do I, with severe musical deficiencies (terrible musical memory and a rotten outer ear, for examples) create music as consistently satisfying to listen to (for me) music as I do?
    How does it have a breath of originality (IMO) when I have no overarching theoretical musical insight?
    And, perhaps, most importantly, how do I sit down, play for five minutes, come up with something that initially sounds like shit and yet can usually transform it, in an intensity of creation, to something that can range from reasonably good to great.... I think it is because I actually have gained access to that creative essence I’m trying to write about.

    I've mastered something over sixty years of playing, though it serves itself and not my ego’s guidance...Meaning it’s not really in my control.... and my understanding of music, what normal musicians have, is very incomplete.

    In other words, I somehow found a way, like the quadriplegic artist who paints with the brush in his teeth, to create art. I think I tapped into the creative essence that “great” artists... that’s the thinking part. On a feeling (feeling my beingness, not emotions) level,, again, unfathomably... and with the taking up of iOS),
    I “feel” that I have arrived. Is it genius level.no. Is the skill like Louis Armstrong or Bird... no. In fact, just the opposite.

    And that’s what makes the “arrival” so cool. My confidence, on the deepest level... cause it sure isn’t there when I “think” about it, is at destination point. Now, this does not mean I am confident it will continue, cause there is another aspect to creativity parallel to hooking into a creative, or “the” creative source... that’s the will to create... which I won’t go into here.

    Anyway, that’s the gist of my contouring of the “it’s the journey” POV. And, gosh darn @michael_m, I have to thank you, cause the heart of my final part 3 essay escaped my thinking mind in what I said above... and that was inspired by your comment.... just as part 2 was inspired by what @Stuntman_mike had to say about the “unexpected”.

  • @LinearLineman Don’t take the concept of a journey with no destination too literally, as it is a concept in martial arts that applies to many, but not all. There is a point that can be reached where it’s likely that all knowable knowledge has been gained, and additional progress is barely perceptible. That is probably the equivalent of truly mastering an instrument, but as with the higher levels of black belts in martial arts, it’s a rare level to reach.

    The journey will certainly be different for everyone who undertakes it, but who truly knows if the destination they have in mind is really the end of their journey?

  • Thanks for your clarification @michael_m.

  • I completely understand the concept of the journey being more important than the destination, but I guess with me I just don't see that I have completed any kind of journey yet - I can see that there's more to do with everything I do.

    Some instruments and concepts I am pretty good at, but others I am not that skilled at all. People (including other musicians) have been impressed with what I know and how well I play, but to me I am still learning.

    To give you some idea, I recently learned Gymnopédie No. 1 on piano, and while it might sound impressive to some people, I can't help but hear how I don't get the dynamics sounding as good as some versions I have heard - I know I need to keep practicing until I get that right. To others that might be a pretty easy thing to master, but to me the subtleties of playing it will probably take me quite some time.

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