In this video we discuss Zen as it applies to the process of music production. Recently, I’ve been researching Zen, and in particular a book called Zen and the Art of Archery. I’ve found many parallels between the concepts of this book, and the art of music production, providing inspiration for this video. I myself have been studying the art of archery since I was a kid. From about 12 years old, I’ve been target shooting. Something about it was always soothing, meditative almost. I used to shoot before exams at school to calm my mind. I never looked at it as meditation before reading Zen and the Art of Archery.
But let’s get to the point here and discuss how it applies to music production:
1) Ritualization. Before the archer even draws the bow, there is a whole process to be followed. A ritual, if you will. Every movement is meticulous (I love this type of precision that is everpresent in Japanese culture). This preparatory phase ensures that when the archer does, finally, draw the bow, he or she has reached a state of presence. This state of a clear and focused mind empowers a spiritual connection with the shot. Try turning your attention to how you approach time in the studio. Do you rush in, frantically with a cup of coffee? Is your cell phone constantly buzzing? Are you on Facebook? Or are you focused, clear, present and prepared to create something special. Perhaps there is a ritual you can use to prepare for your studio time?
2) The goal is not to hit the target. Interestingly, the archer’s mind is not focused on the target at all. It is focused on everything BUT the target. On the breath, on having a clear mind, on the stance. When the archer’s attention is on these things, then there is no other result that can occur OTHER than to hit the target. For music producers, these things are sound design, synthesis, mixing skills, song arrangement etc. If you are doing all of these things well, and with meticulous precision, you cannot do anything BUT create an excellent piece of music.
3) Taking the shot. In Zen archery, the archer does not “take” the shot. The shot is said to happen all on it’s own. It is the archer’s duty to get out of the way, wait at the state of highest tension, and release attachment. In music, if we pressure ourselves to write a banger of a tune then we run the risk of placing undue stress on ourselves and taking us out of creative flow.
Hope you enjoy it!