Friday, January 2, 2009

Upgrading Your Life Away

Well happy new year guys! I woke up sick this morning. I was supposed to drive up to LA to do some song writing with Charlotte Martin but I got sick and found out she’s sick too. I’m actually a bit glad though cause I kinda needed some time to get settled. Its been over a month that I’ve been home to sleep in my own bed. From the December tour to visiting family in Colorado. Even after a break, when I don’t have time at home, I need a few days to get myself back together.

Pro Tools HD (my main recording software) came out with their new version of software called Pro Tools 8 which has some new amazing things to it. One of them is that it has notation software built into it. I have spent the last few years writing notation out by hand for violists, cellist, and instrumentalists. Now, anything I play on the keyboard can be automatically written out in notation and printed. In essence, that’s kind of a cool thing. But I think a part of me is sad. My early years of learning music consisted of learning how to draw a treble clef and learning which way the stems of music should go. This picture is some chicken scratch of a page I used in a recording session.

I’m torn about technology. Sometimes it takes away the art and process. I love the feeling of sketching out notes with paper and pencil. It creates something. Technology gets me stuck sometimes. Although I depend on it and love what it does, sometimes, I forget I’m creating music. I end up trying to get something to work or trying to figure out how to optimize the system.

Do you yourself constantly keeping up with it? After paying $250 for the new Pro Tools upgrade, I realize that if I install it, it won’t work on my MacOS Tiger. So now I have to pay another $120 to get Leapord on my system. It all snoballs. I have to keep spending more money to get updated. Soon, I will have to buy a whole new computer just to keep things running!

A way I’ve dealt with that in the past is by just being okay with being behind. I know a lot of recording guys who do the same. Because sometimes when you update your system, it throws the whole thing off. Plugins don’t work and work-flow is behind because you can’t figure out how to use the dang thing. So as a musician, I have to be okay knowing that I don’t have the biggest best most souped up system out there. I have what works with me. And I can focus on the music. It makes me think of life in its other forms of the “keeping up” disease. I know too many guys who are making really bad music because they care more about the gear and technology than the actual sounds. Its silly because most of the gear I have that sounds good is decades old!

There are messages built into our lives that are constantly telling us that we are behind. We need to catch up with the new thing, the new program, the new style. The problem is that we cannot succeed in this. There were always be something new. Marketing is BUILT on this principle.

So anyway, yes it is finally time to upgrade for me. I’ll spend the next few days exited about the new program but tearing my hair out cause I can’t figure out how to use it. I’m excited about the new year. I feel a great sense of hope and renewal.


spinacci said...

Hehehe...I know how you feel. I upgraded to Ableton Live Suite last year. It was basically the same cost as previous version!!!

LaPierre said...

wow this gives me perspective on the idea of "trendiness"

thanks for the indirect wake up call!

God bless you brother,


Ben said...

I have to agree about the thought on technology seeming to take away something from us as we work with it. I do a lot of graphic and web design, and all my work that sits somewhere behind the computer screen takes up so much time that it leaves me little to actually sit down with a notebook and pencil to draw something into existence.

The problem is, the things we create digitally don't seem as real or as present, at least to me. They're out there somewhere, but not really in the real world. And I can't help but wonder if all of these electronic other-worlds are things that Satan uses to distract us from so many good things. Not that they are evil things by any means, only that they distract us and take up far more than they are worth.

I've enjoyed perusing your blog over the last several months ever since stumbling upon it via the FOF website. Well done with your course musically (Twilight was the soundtrack for a 2 1/2 month road trip I took over this last summer and I have yet to tire of it). Keep on pressing further up and further in.