Thomas Wilson

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Music and the Flow State

What is sound, what are Chords? Humans like labels, we use them to describe what we perceive, but  I feel as though we go overboard often. We use labels too liberally, in ways that can get us in trouble, or more importantly, hold us back from seeing a the bigger picture. I play guitar, I know about 4 chords, and although they may be useful, I have found my success has been derived from the sound. I have chosen not to sit and learn a song, or memorize chords, or even scales, because they do not let me see the bigger picture. Noise. When I attempt to structure noise into a song, I think about sound, I refuse to think about what is supposed to come next because music does not work that way, it is flow, it can tap into your soul if you let it. Nothing is supposed to come next with music, it is expression in a different form. Albeit some noise is much much worse than others. Label 1. So what sounds good and what sounds bad? Scales, label 2. They provide a rough pattern, but they are not rules, I believe that is the misconception. Rules in music, tyranny. Structure: Necessary.

Patterns, the flow state, things seem to meld with other like things. A piece of music that flows has rhythm, melody, conflict, resolve, some form of complexity. What happens if we apply those forms of structure to our own life, I believe that is the basis for many things. Comfort level, mastery, flow. Grace in all things, that is Kung Fu, a step beyond to my estimation would be a structure of graceful things. Now your actions are like Schrödinger cat, they are both planned and unplanned, you know what you will do next but not how you will do it, it approaches swiftly… perhaps you do not know what will happen next, but you must flow with it to ensure the future. The wrong note in musical improvisation can be worked with to see that it does not stand out, same with life, work with it.

How to tap this frequently, it must be an application thereof. A synchronicity within yourself. Adequate sleep, adequate eating, adequate exercise, adequate meditation, adequate mindset. Somewhere between the when and how, adequacy begins to take form, then once built, we can continue to branch.

Built…. We must build, this is important, the action is often underestimated and subsequently forgotten about, This is Practice. Flow is natural, but flow requires us to dip into what we do not know, because flow is part you and part everything else. Build.

We set up our baseline, ultimate comfort, and begin to explore. Failure is the paradoxical requirement to success, not a new idea there, but perhaps not fully understood. Risk. How far can we go before ultimate failure. Many things have no level of catastrophe, others do. The creation of music is safe, nothing will happen when you mess up the flow. Contrary, many things will see to the end of your days. That is Risk. All areas are available to be explored. Explore them in Flow, with finesse, adequate risk. Life or death situations, either ultimate flow, accidental success, or certain death. What changes the outcome is how well we can navigate an infinity of situations. Musical improvisation is practice in a rapidly changing set of parameters, not unlike our lives. Hence, our lives are a reflection of how well we can grapple with the Flow, and a good place to start is music.