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Thoughts

posted 10 Apr 2016, 04:22 by Nikola Kyosev   [ updated 10 Apr 2016, 04:22 ]

Hello!

It has been a while since I last wrote here, life sure does seem busy sometimes, but I rather think it is more the lack of space to write that has prevented me from doing it for so long. I need peace and quiet, so that I can sit down and focus my thoughts, but nowadays this is something difficult to obtain.

Let’s take Mozart for example (and by no means, I consider myself equal to compare with Mozart) – in his time there were no mobile phones, no Facebook and no computers to distract him with the constant Ta-Ding! noise of an incoming message. In his time you would get a letter through the post and the sender would not expect an answer in the next 30 seconds. When did we become so rushed?

Do you find yourself lacking concentration when you have to read a longer article? I remember, it was a few months back, I was sitting and going through an online article and suddenly this thought popped-up in my head “It would have been so much easier, if this was a video instead”. My mind had become lazy!

“Why is that, how did that happened?” I asked myself and through some time of observing my habits and reflection, I came to the conclusion that through technology I have become “addicted” to fast answers. If I am sitting in the practice room, playing a piece and there’s a musical terminology that I cannot remember the meaning of – I use Google instead of the big encyclopaedia that I have in the library a few meters away from me. If there is a composer that I do not know much about – I use Google; if there is a piece I would like to look up – my first place to check is the internet. You get the idea.

Do not get me wrong, of course the internet is useful, it saves time, it gives us access to so much knowledge, the ability to contact people, watch videos and share ideas, but it also leads us to believing that we can achieve everything without perseverance and constant work and music is all about that. Music needs time to explore, to go to different concerts, to create, to practice, to be stuck, to look for solutions, to be wrong and to find your way around. Mozart had that time (going back to my previous example) and we must find it too, because practice doesn’t finish with the amount of hours you spend with the flute.

I remember, it was maybe a month ago, I had the chance to sit and listen to one of the great legends of today’s jazz life – Mike Stern. I was sitting in the back of the full concert hall, it was dark and there was this special ambience that you don’t get in every concert. The music was unbelievably beautiful, creative and inspirational. The stage presence of Mike was so captivating and in the same time – relaxed; his touch of the strings – mesmerizing and each time he came up to play a solo, you could sense the public holding their breath. Magical atmosphere! ... And then, a few seats to my right a light came on, someone was checking their phone. That broke my concentration and suddenly I grew more aware of my surroundings. I threw a glance around and noticed so many similar dimmed lights around the packed hall. Where have we come to? Is it more important to tweet about what you are doing than experience it? I guess so. Anyway, I didn’t waste too much time on these thoughts at the moment and I send my attention back to the music once again, but I was disappointed, disappointed by the fact that we see everything through the “lenses” of our mobile phones and we do not appreciate what we experience.

At the end of the day, who am I to judge people? We all have only one life to live and we should choose how to spend it, but I believe we should aim at trying to give something back to the world that has created us and not just be mere consumers, whether we succeed or not – this sometimes is not under our control, but nonetheless we should try.

I would like to finish with a quotation of the great Trevor Wye who says that playing is a question of “time, patience and intelligent work”! Those words have always inspired me, not only in my music making, but in my general live as a human being. I hope they will help you too!

Take care!

Live Music Performance for People with Dementia

posted 30 Sept 2015, 12:12 by Nikola Kyosev   [ updated 30 Sept 2015, 12:18 ]



Without understanding music theory,

We can appreciate music as pleasure or art.

Without knowing, we Dance.

Without understanding, we Sing.

Without learning, we Know. “

John M Ortiz from "The Tao of Music"

 

It has been more than 5 years since I joined the ranks of Live Music Now! Scotland. Together with the brilliant pianist Silviya Mihaylova, we have played concerts for LMN in various types of venues – concert halls, schools, homes for elderly people and more. But what I love about those concerts is the connection that I feel with whoever my audience is. It makes me feel like I am bard, getting out of the classical idea for a concert hall (don’t get me wrong, I love performing in every setting) and having this more “primal” connection with the audience. It makes me feel like I am not a classical, but rather a folk musician.

However, I am not going to speak more about the performing side of being a musician for Live Music Now, but for something else. One of the great many strengths of LMN is the training opportunities that it provides for all musicians, it is rare to see people so dedicated to their work as all the administration in the organisation.

I would like to dedicate this post to one of my trainings that we recently had, it was about performing music to people suffering from dementia, led by Diana Kerr.

Up to now I have had quite a few trainings on this topic, but I must say by far this was the best one ever. It will be difficult to find a person that is equally as capable of talking about the subject as Diana Kerr. Not only we gained theoretical and practical knowledge about dementia – how it develops, how it affects our bodies, but it was the way that she managed to charm all of the present people. Truly a magnificent speaker.

If you are a musical therapist or a musician working with elderly people, I would strongly recommend attending a talk of Diana Kerr, or if that is not possible have a look at her book – “Singing Groups for people with Dementia”.  It was recently published (on 26 June, 2015), so it is easy to find it. Although it is more oriented at singing (as the title clearly states), there are many practical advices that can be taken into account from any musician.

If you found this post interesting and you have some more questions, please leave a comment in the box below and I will be happy to answer. 


Best wishes,
Nikola



Find out more about Diana Kerr, here!




First Blog Post

posted 22 Sept 2015, 12:11 by Nikola Kyosev   [ updated 22 Sept 2015, 12:36 ]

Hello! 

Thank you once again for coming to my website! It has been quite a while since I had proper time to sit down and do things around my website - the calendar was not exactly up to date, my ideas for the "Useful Materials" and "Teaching" sections were running behind, I haven't uploaded pictures, posters and videos from so many events, etc. But everything wants time, doesn't it? 

Just a few months ago I have graduated from my Masters program at the Royal Conservatory of Gent, two-years spent with great professionals and colleagues! It took me some time to finally realize that I have finished. First, I enjoyed a well-deserved rest, traveled a bit, met with my relatives and spend time not only with my friends, but with myself - gathering ideas, caught up on reading books and watching movies, did some hill walking and generally let my mind relax a bit. 

It was great 2-3 months of my life that I do feel like I needed, but now my body has recharged mentally and physically and I feel my fingers itching to do something creative. Among other ideas, I've decided it is due time to (re-) organize my website a bit and finally do some things that have been on my mind for quite a while. Starting this Blog is just the first step.  

Here I would like to share some more personal ideas about music and the life of the musician. I do hope that you will find them interesting, as much as I do. 

Keep an eye for any new information by subscribing to the newsletter !


Take care!
Nikola



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