Post by Bill Turlock Post by John Hatpin
But it was cheap, and it was the best of the class until Casio
released those little white mini-synths in, what, 1980 or so? They
were fun: a sequencer and ADSR control built-in, plus an actual sort
of keyboard thing and a selection of tawdry rhythms. I have one
I bought one of those for myself for Christmas, '86. Took it home, put a
roast of beef in the oven, then started doodling with the kbd. Looked up
15 minutes later (subjective time) to discover that the roast was done.
I don't often use the opposite side of my brain. I can't get my
intellect of of the way when I'm trying to do music, I guess I
understand why some musicians are fond of herbal substances, etc.
It's incredible how quickly time passes when you're getting into
playing music. Unless you're forced by circumstances to play bad
music, in which case it drags amazingly. I feel sorry for drummers,
who *have* to remove their watches in order to play properly (never
really needed to do that for keyboards, but did because it just felt
As for the side-of-the-brain thing, it's something you acquire with
practice. At first, you're thinking about every damned thing you do,
then you learn not to think, and it suddenly gets better.
Enduring memory: as a fledgeling jazz pianist, getting up on stage at
this pub on jazz night:Loading Image...
Suddenly, I realised that, instead of viewing the piano keyboard as
being composed of notes such as A, C#, Bb and so on, I could view it
as something like a blank canvas, stretching from one end of the
keyboard to the other. That was a case of discarding logical,
analytical, intellectual thought, and replacing it with a relaxed
feeling of complete control and freedom. An epiphany, that was.
From that day on, I allowed my brain to control my fingers
subconsciously (it actually feels as if your fingers are thinking for
themselves, a common analogy), freeing my conscious brain for more of
a kind of strategic role, and I became what I'd describe as a "proper"
The psychology of musicianship is intruiging, and I think you're
right to make the connection with "herbal substances". They help to
free your mind from intellectual considerations, and hence in some
ways, can greatly improve your playing. In the right dosage, they
don't make you stupid or slow or anything, just give you freedom to
explore your subconscious and interpret your feelings through your
instrument without hindrance.
Times like this, I miss the cannabis. I haven't smoked it for many
years now, and probably couldn't handle it if I tried.
John Hatpin, in the kitchen, with the laptop.