Monday, February 20, 2017

When to parameter

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I strongly believe in using parameters, or imposed restrictions, as a creative tool.

When used as a tool to create solos, a parameter can be like putting your thumb over a running hose.  You get a stronger stream that shoots further, because it's so focused.  You might not want nor need it for general use, but it might be the perfect thing for a particular purpose.

Maybe you're trying to come up with a new solo move or new patterns, so you put a parameter in that says "play double the amount of notes you normally play" or "incorporate a lot of spins".  It forces you to do things differently, and often can spark some really creative ideas you might not normally have come up with.

When used as a tool to create songs, a parameter can be a way to generate new ideas, but also a way to limit them if you're not careful.  For example, maybe you have too many ideas and making yourself focus on "only naname" or "use lots of hand percussion" helps set you on a path that gains momentum.  However, in my case, I learned that limiting myself too early on made things more difficult than they needed to be.

I was thinking of writing a piece but I didn't want it to be too much like this or too much like that, so I was hampering my creativity.  Better to just let it come out the way it wants to, and then steer it in a direction away from where you don't want to go, rather than never start because you're worried it might "go there".

Parameters have given me and many other people some incredible ideas and insights, and I can't recommend them highly enough!  If anyone wants some ideas on how to use them or what kinds there are, get in touch and I'll be happy to tell you!

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