I've been busy working furiously on a Steve Coleman transcription and video for this blog, which by the way, is one of the more difficult transcriptions I've ever done. Since it's been a while, I thought I'd offer a little inspiration for today. I know I need it, this transcription is kicking my ass.
I was watching some clips of Allan Holdsworth tearing stuff up at some small club or another and there was a brief interview with him at the end where he was talking about the process of improvisation.
A small aside. I had the pleasure of meeting Allan once and got to talk with him at length about music and his learning process. We were interrupted constantly by fans at the club we were at, who kept telling him how "awesome" he is.
Pro tip: when talking to someone who is awesome, you don't need to tell them that -- they've heard it at least once or twice before. Why not try learning something from them? But I digress.
So in this video clip, Allan related a quotation about improvisation that I thought was inspirational as well as reassuring. Gary Husband, a frequent collaborator of his once told Allan, "If you start digging deep you can't expect to come up with no shit on your face once in a while."
The truth always has a directness to it, doesn't it?
I have a similar story. I attended a master class while in school with legendary saxophonist Dave Liebman. One of the other students raised his hand during the question period and asked how to learn how to stop making mistakes while performing.
Interesting question right?
I thought Dave's answer was amazing. He said, "That's impossible. I make mistakes all the time, still. The difference between you and me is when you make a mistake, you throw up a red flag telling everyone you've made one and call attention to it. I make a mistake, and I just move on."
So, if you get shit on your face while fumbling around looking for something good, just wipe it off, and keep going.