Musicians and Dancers

July 12, 2009

Welcome to my blog.  If you traveled here from my website, please know that an update for dancers will be coming soon.

I have written about creating and performing music, individually and collaboratively.  One of the ways we respond to music’s influence is through dance.  This opens into a new realm of creativity and skill.  The dancer takes the creative force of the music and in turn creatively interprets and expresses it through his or her body.

Along with the experience of being moved by music at a core level, what ties these artists together is a desire to share what really is a very personal expression with others.  The skills that are used are unique to each, but the drive and dedication to develop those skills are common to both.

Sometimes conflicts and stress can arise, either while working with fellow artists, or within other important relationships.  It may be helpful to take time to identify their cause and learn new ways to address them.

My goal is to help you more fully embrace and enjoy what brings you life as an artist.


Counseling musicians and bands

March 15, 2009

I enjoyed a delightful conversation with a colleague, Mike Jolkovsi, on the East Coast this week (for those of you who don’t know, I’m in Seattle).  Check out his website and blog at http://workingthrough.com

We talked about what our experience has taught us about some of the challenges that creative people face.  Firstly, that being a visionary and wanting to exercise control over the creative process, is not a bad thing, though it is often one of the main ingredients in band conflict.  The energy and commitment to one’s artistic ideas is the foundation upon which most bands exist.  The problem is “in the human difficulty of working together” (Mike’s words).  Merging more than one strong-minded artist into a united entity can be exciting and rewarding.  Being able to communicate well, while working with so much creative intensity, can be difficult.

Secondly, we have both seen that personal backgrounds and subconscious material come into play when conflict arises.  This can be a great invitation to become aware of the areas that elicit strong reactions and to deal with them openly.  It is my firm belief that this choice leads to richer creativity.  In addition, working together as a band on ways of communicating and learning more about each other solidifies the band and sets it on a better path for band longevity.

Lastly, we agreed that talking over ideas and concerns, whether in an individual or group setting, is a great way to embrace one’s talents and to go after the “more” that is always out there.

We share a passion to support musicians, bands, and other creative people in their endeavors.


Thoughts on music and dance

February 8, 2009

I have been enjoying, not only a lot of good music, but also learning dance.

In many cultures, the two are inextricably linked.  Music reaches deep into our souls and sometimes the response must be expressed through our bodies.  Singing and dancing together with others can also create a very special bond.  This is part of what is so indescribable about a concert experience-a sense of oneness with hundreds, maybe thousands, of others.

The deep emotions experienced can bring joyful and painful memories.  The memories call us to know ourselves better.  Take time to explore them.  It is a path to richer enjoyment of, and freedom to be, who we are.


Happy Holidays!

December 25, 2008

May music enhance hope and peace for you this season.

Happy 2009!

Deb  🙂


Stuck in band conflict?

November 23, 2008

Since posting my most recent blog, I have received valuable feedback some of which I would like to include here.  I thank David Knight at http://www.musictalkssessions.com/ for taking the time to respond.

David wrote that he experienced the dissolution of his band because of the members’ inability to manage and resolve conflict.  “Much of the anger comes from past experiences with other people in our personal and private lives. That’s what’s really in battle during conflicts, past experiences and everyone’s ego. That’s the reason why it’s so important to establish a time when anger is diminished and people are in better control of their feelings.”  I appreciate the strong connection he makes between past experience and the present moment.

When you and your fellow musicians can establish a later time to engage in discussion, you can consider and observe together how these dynamics are in play.  This kind of reflection as a band will make it easier to mediate tension in future rehearsals.  It will help you to understand and appreciate each other in new ways.  And, musically/artistically, you will be able to take your creativity and collaboration to new levels.

One of the ways I help musicians and bands is to facilitate these kinds of discussions.  It can be very helpful to have someone outside of the band lead the way.

One last thought:  I would love to hear from anyone reading this!  Please tell me your experience with band conflict and how you’ve thought about it.  If you prefer not to post a response on this blog, you can send me an email at my website:  deb@debmashock.com

I look forward to hearing from you!


Stuck in a moment

November 2, 2008

Band conflict is most often seen as a bad thing.  It demonstrates that there are competing views and differences of opinion.  This in and of itself is not the problem.  The way conflict is handled is where the problem lies.

Often there is a predictable course that rehearsals take when there is ongoing conflict in a band.  It begins with an unspoken agreement to avoid topics that cause tension.  Since collaboration is so crucial, the subject inevitably gets voiced.  Tension in the room rises and words are exchanged that have been said many times before.  The rehashing with no constructive resolution is so frustrating that one or more members storm out and the rehearsal ends.

For example, say a band of four members has two that have co-written a song.  The jamming is going well and then comes to a decision of whether to include a drum solo.  Good arguments are put forth for both cases, but everyone begins to feel the clash of personalities.  Neither artist can “lose” the debate because there is more at stake than the decision itself.  For each artist, there are issues of who “wins” that have roots in each of their individual histories.  There are also models of how these scenarios have played out in each of their lives (with parents, siblings, girlfriends/boyfriends, etc.).  When the conflict ends by simply separating, or setting the song aside to work on a different one, little is gained.

However, a lot can be gained by staying in the conflict and changing up the predictable pattern.  Maybe one of the two can decide to defer to the other’s opinion, when normally his style is a “fight to the death.”  Then, at a later more peaceful time, there could be a conversation about experiences of the past and how they creep into conflicts in the band.  Another change might be to pause the rehearsal to talk about the tension itself.  Everyone could be asked to talk about how the fights are affecting their feelings about being in the band.  This likely will lead some members to refer to difficult past experiences (whether or not they choose to speak in specifics).

These ideas of handling conflict in new ways take a certain amount of courage and kindness and are not easy to enact.  But taking the less predictable path leads to fresh discovery interpersonally and artistically.  And, knowing your fellow band members better will also help you play together better!


Travis’ words

October 12, 2008

Great to read Travis Barker’s own words(from his MySpace blog):

I want to give my deepest thanks to everyone who has helped deal with the current situation. First and foremost, Chris and Che were my friends. I would give up anything to have them here with us today, healthy and happy. To call them my employees does them such a disservice, as they were so much more than that. Chris was my best friend before anything else, and I can never put into words how much he will be missed. Che was an amazing person as well, and I was honored to have him in my life.

I am simply amazed and will be forever grateful for all the support everyone has shown to Chris and Che’s families. Its a testament to how many lives they touched in a positive way.

Like the doctors said from the beginning, its been a slow recovery process. I am coming up on the 7th of my surgeries Monday. Today I finally was able to move all my fingers on my right hand. Every step seems huge at this point, and Im doing EVERYTHING I can possibly do to get back to my kids. Yes, I did start eating meat again, but if it helps me to be home holding my little humans sooner, then its all worth it.

I got to see AM the other day. Seeing him after he was discharged was an inspiration. I saw just how awesome the doctors’ work here is, and got to see how well he is doing. I am so happy to see him doing well, and we are both so lucky and grateful that we are alive today.

Now Im just counting the days until I can leave. I cant wait to get home to play drums with my son, and go for bike rides with my daughter. I cant wait to see the pictures from Landon’s “Jack and Sally Nightmare Before Christmas” birthday party that we had for him today. I am bummed that I couldn’t be there, but thank God Ill be around to see many, many more.

Thank you everyone for your support!

I posted a brief comment to his blog and was struck by the hundreds of comments pouring in.  This is just a fraction of the people that Travis has in some way touched.

There is more I could write but everything pales in light of such quintessential gratitude for life while bearing such profound loss.