Archive for July 2014

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A thought

Norm Specific Rhythms……

“It’s not ‘where’ you are in the rhythm but that you are ‘there’ in the rhythm.

Some time ago I attended a talk given by the parent of a child on the autistic spectrum.
She used the term ‘Norm specific’ to describe those of us not identified as being on the spectrum.
It occurred to me this week that we as musicians often fall into the same sort of trap and come to recognise our structured time signatures as being the norm and some how legitimising our music.
Working with groups where keeping to a regular pulse is often a major challenge either because of physical or processing factors I find myself with the temptation to try and restore/create that norm specific pulse that I have become used to.
I began to consider that rather than trying to draw everyone to ‘my’ pulse I should rather be trying to listen to the existing pulse and understand it’s ebb and flow and what might appear initially to be irregularities, listen to the music being created rather than forcing it into a preformed norm specific shape.
Following this metaphor through I wonder what it has to teach us about how to communicate when we step outside the norm specific environment either because of a life changing event such as a stroke, or due to a lack of muscle tone that makes getting your hand to the same place at regular intervals a major challenge. The most effective communication comes when we are aware of our norm specific parameters and limitations and begin to listen to the music where it is, in all it’s random and irregular beauty. We just need to learn to hear the music that is there without asking it to conform to our pre-existing norms.

” It’s not where you are in the rhythm but that you are there in the rhythm that counts!”