About four years ago, I had dreams of becoming a great musician. I wasn’t completely sure about what that meant to me then, but I knew that I wanted to be the best that I could be at whatever I did. I always had the passion to learn and explore music, but I didn’t have anyone to guide me until I met my current music teacher with whom I’ve been studying with for 3 years or so. This teacher recognized hidden talents and sensitivities within me that I didn’t even know existed. Ever since I started taking lessons from him, I’ve experienced such immensely profound growth in myself as a consummate artist, intellectual, and spiritual person.
In the short time that I’ve studied music seriously, I went from knowing a handful of 7th chords and scales on guitar to discovering what makes up my own artistry. And, it’s actually quite simple. The way I define myself as a musician falls under two things: 1.) Aside from my music mentor, I don’t know of anyone who is hearing and/or pursuing the sounds that I hear. 2.) I will work relentlessly to find these sounds (even if it takes a couple hours only to find one chord!).
I associate these sounds with the color purple because of their dark complexion and richness. By exploring this world of pan-tonality, I’ve discovered what really turns me on as a music creator. Music that constantly reaches for higher intellectuality (i.e. a higher sense of harmonic sophistication, rhythmic unpredictability, extreme contrast in range and timbre, etc.) is what I always strive for. I want to always push boundaries and be as exciting as I can without compromising the integrity of the music itself.
Though my principal instrument is guitar, I would not be able to discover nearly half the sounds that I do now if it weren’t for my learning keyboard. Being able to visualize endless possibilities of notes has really opened me up as a guitarist and overall musician. Most people will say that I have a pianistic approach to playing guitar because of my use of counterpoint and unusual voicings.
In addition to my growth as an instrumentalist, the keyboard has also given me insights as to what effective arranging is to me: always introducing new ideas through the use of sequencing, contrasting range and dynamics, and adding voices. Seldom do I arrange or compose ideas without playing them on the keyboard. Since I consider this instrument as a part of my musicality, I plan on getting as proficient on it as I am with guitar.
My journey as an artist has been filled with such profound revelations about music and myself. I had no idea how much impact the exploration of “purple” harmonies, applying it to my arranging/composing, and learning keyboard would have on me for the rest of my musical life. My desire is to continue on this path of self-discovery and to share it with others so that they too may experience something as meaningful to them.
@2017 Luis McDougal