The Nature of Consciousness: Correspondence

We’d love to encourage you to write to David with questions or comments that you have about his music. He loves hearing your thoughts and feelings. Get in touch on the Contact page.

June 6, 2015: Mark Weidenaar wrote David with the following question:

How does your knowledge of consciousness impact the music you write, and how do you feel your music has evolved along with your own personal journey?

David responded as follows:

Your question is pretty much all-inclusive! Not so easy to get at, but I will try to give some ideas. I don’t think of music as depicting consciousness but as a manifestation of it. Music is not “about” consciousness, but the thing itself in sound. When I am working with performers I might use images and stories to give them a personal context, but fundamentally and persistently I am giving them permission to allow the full value of each musical element. The permission idea is a really important one. I can give them the safe place to open themselves fully. Ideally this is what conductors do. It takes a centered sense of self, and a developed musical imagination. The key issue here is that each musical moment can and must be actively imagined by the conductor, and through that, consciously opened in the players. Much music making is relatively passive, without full conscious engagement by the performers. You can get okay performances, but it will be the happy and relatively rare accident when real heat shows up.

The question of […]

By |2016-12-09T23:08:45+00:009 June 2015|A Child's Garden of Dreams, Correspondence|

What young composers need

This is an email message sent 13 April 2013 to Roger Briggs, composition chair, and Chris Bianco, director of bands, at Western Washington University. David had just returned from working with the wind ensemble and student composers.

Hi Roger,

I am very glad that we had some time together, and thanks again for sharing your beautiful piano work!

I mentioned my feeling that your student composers showed a quality of depression. Chris Bianco had also asked me about my time with the student composers and I shared some of those thoughts with him as well. The more I think about it the stronger it feels to me that that depression is a real thing. I will suggest that it has to do with overreliance on the computer as the main tool for making music. I have focused on the playback issue because it is so obvious. We certainly know intellectually that the computer is not a band or orchestra, but unconsciously we do NOT know this, and persistent use of the machine as the source of feedback about the nature of “real” sound results in a deep depression, and this is because the computer sound is denatured. It has no living vitality. Because of the availability of computer music programs young people think they can become composers without any significant contact with live music making. They don’t even have to play an instrument. This is entirely against the nature of what music is, and what its living function is.

Off the top of my […]

By |2016-12-09T23:08:46+00:0013 April 2013|Correspondence|