Clark Media Productions

Clark Media Productions is a place for me to share my love of audio production, music, trombone, and music technology. Subscribe to my email list for late breaking blog posts, videos, and educational content!

Filtering by Tag: creativity

I love this quote from Brian Eno... (via Austin Kleon)

If you've followed my site for any length of time, you know my fondness for Austin Kleon and his wonderful books, Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work.  Kleon writes a lot about music and all things arts-related, and his Tumblr and Twitter feed are great resources to add to your daily social media feed.  He posted this quote by Brian Eno this year, and it really hits home when I relate it to my own feelings while being on US Marine Band tours, and shorter tours with Valor Brass... Great insight from the life of a rock star!

 I noticed that touring — which is wonderful in some ways — is absolutely confining in other ways.  It’s so difficult… you just can’t think about anything else. You try your hardest: You take books with you and word processors, and you’re definitely going to do something with the time. And you never do. It’s so easy for it to become your exclusive life, this one and a half hours every evening that you play. And I just thought, “I’m losing touch with what I really like doing.” What I really like doing is what I call Import and Export. I like taking ideas from one place and putting them into another place and seeing what happens when you do that. I think you could probably sum up nearly everything I’ve done under that umbrella. Understanding something that’s happening in painting, say, and then seeing how that applies to music. Or understanding something that’s happening in experimental music and seeing what that could be like if you used it as a base for popular music. It’s a research job, a lot of it. You spend a lot of time sitting around, fiddling around with things, quite undramatically, and finally something clicks into place and you think, ”Oh, thats really worth doing.” The time spent researching is a big part of it. I never imagined a pop star life that would’ve permitted that. 

Brian Eno out of work brewer (that happens to play trombone)...

"Daddy, why don't you work at the brewery anymore?" That was my 6-year-old son's question a few weeks ago when we drove by the brewery that opened near my normal place of employment a little over a year ago. Kyle sounded a little sad and disappointed, even though we were on our way to hear some music performed by my fantastic colleagues on my son's day off from school.

Well, the answer was easy. I explained that I had simply run out of time, and that I needed to devote my energy and time to my regular job, and to him, his mother, and his newly adopted 2-year-old brother. While volunteering at the brewery, I got to show up once a week, do a lot of cool stuff brewers get to do, then go home. No pay, no set hours, no stress. It was fantastic.

My work at the brewery lasted from September of last year until about May of 2014. I connected with Bluejacket through mutual friends of the original head brewer, Megan Parisi. I learned a lot about brewing beer on a commercial scale. Recipe formulation, sanitizing procedures, recipe creation, and many other aspects were all taught to me by the 2 Brewers I worked most closely with. I could write 10 posts on what I learned from a brewing perspective. What knocked me out is what I learned about work, managing, leading, and passion from two very talented and hard working guys that get to make their living putting a smile on people's faces.

You might think on the surface that being a musician and a brewer have really nothing in common. Frankly, nothing could be further from the truth. The parallels lie both in the creative part of the job (making recipes, improvising with ingredients) as well as in the more blue collar aspects of the two crafts. In a brewery, sanitation procedures are key. Creating recipes, dry hopping beers, and pouring tastes from the latest cool rum-barrel-aged Belgain sour are the glamorous parts that only happen after the fundamentals are taken care of. Sounds a lot like music! As a trombonist, daily routines, practice, and study of the art are key. I got to watch some of the best in the business, and certainly the most motivated, in working under Bobby Bump and Josh Chapman. The guys about worked me into the ground my first couple of work days!

Most impressive to me, Bobby and Josh (and now Owen, too!) aren't afraid to make something and put it out there. Many times as musicians, we are taught and coached to practice and refine until we unintentionally drive all the life and spontaneity out of our creation! Because beer is a living thing, brewers don't get too much say on when and if a particular beer is ready to drink. Natural processes of fermentation, hopping, clarity, and conditioning all happen in their own time. I watched these guys making new beers, for the first time, on a system that was brand new to them, and putting that beer out for the public to drink, putting their reputation and that of the brewery on the line every day. That isn't to say they don't have standards. I witnessed a couple of occasions where beer was deemed not worthy and unceremoniously dumped. But, that was only a couple of batches out of over 100 brewed in the first 9 months of being open. What was interesting was that they didn't let the insignificant details hang them up and prevent them from moving towards the ideal of a particular recipe. In other words, if the concept was right and the beer was a pleasure to drink, they didn't let themselves get hung up on technical imperfections. They still served their beer.

And that's where we get to the hard part. Putting it out there. Do the work. Be the man (or woman) in the arena. We are all going to make some (lots of) mistakes. Keep coming back. Keep creating. Keep serving your customers.


Virtual Trombonist

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