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Ryan Manchester » Zen and Music as Life
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Zen and Music as Life

October 1st, 2010

Upon finishing the solo percussion piece for Melanie S.T. Sehman and due to increasing my yoga practice with such fantastic teachers as Shanda Woods and Tara Stiles, I started thinking about endings in life.  Completing this piece made me think about everything I’ve learned since moving to New York a little over a year ago.

When things end in our lives, more often the momentum gained from completing that phase in life or piece of art opens beginnings. Related to composition, this means the end of writing a piece is actually the beginning of that piece’s life. That piece will go through revisions and different interpretations by performers that sometimes exceed our expectations as composers or fail. These revisions and interpretations are the piece’s breath, and through the the changes, both good and bad,  it breathes and survives. If we are lucky as composers, our pieces do more than survive, they enter the repertory canon and thrive.

Just as we hope and do our best for the best outcome for each piece we create, we should approach life with the same positivity and hopefulness.  I am finding the more that I stay positive, the more energy I have to work hard to create beginnings in each perceived ending, and this results in opportunities arising of which I’ve never dreamed.  This is true for everyone.  We all have everything we need right now to experience success, however large or small.

Since I’ve moved to New York, I have enjoyed success, endured failure, but most importantly have changed. It took and still takes everything I have to survive here and only now do I feel that I’m starting to thrive. But like pieces of music, all of these things make up who I am and what I will eventually become and all that I can do in the mean time is breathe. In fact, that is all any of us can do between endings and beginnings–breathe.

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