Rhythm, timing, and music have always seemed like a handicap to me. I mean, sometimes at concerts I feel self conscious just trying to clap on beat. As an artist, sometimes I decide to dive into the things that I’m bad at. I think you see rapid growth, and the limitations of our weaknesses might produce something unique if we do the best we can, with what we have.
I was juggling in a park with my good friend Matt Dinaro - he’s an amazing artist, writer, and now in a great band called The Toads. He looked at me and said, “This is just like music.” That line woke me up. How could I be good at juggling but horrible at music?
Sometime later, I was at at a theater workshop and we were doing a group activity in a circle, where we’d take two synchronized steps into the circle and then clap together. I realized I could get the timing right because of the the steps with our feet.
A light bulb went off when I was watching a musician on stage and he was snapping to the beats, but his hand was not still in space - it moved from his shoulder and snapped at his knee. I realized that he was using the distance between those points to get the timing right. So if the balls I was juggling were instruments like bells, I would be creating music naturally by the patterns I create in space.
These made me realize two key points
I created a song by flipping a coin in the air, finding a pattern in the way my fingers naturally snap together, and then riffling a deck of cards. The song is a different length every time because it’s about the organic pattern of movement.
The second problem is: I cannot sing. I decided to whisper the song and it worked, because a whisper can be heard in giant crowds over regular voice. The “backing music” can be heard when not mic’d, and the whole thing came together.
The element that makes the song bigger than itself is the audience participation when singing the chorus. I know I personally feel uncomfortable about singing along when I go to a show. But here, people don’t have to sing - they just have to mimic the sound of the wind during the chorus. It allows the audience to let go and get involved with performance.
I talked to so many musicians and no one could tell me what a bridge was. I decided to make the bridge the part of the song where I fling the cards into the air - make it as much about the visual as the sound. It shows there’s more than one way to play bridge with a deck of cards - good for you if you got that joke!
That is it for me, I’m still exploring music and magic with new ideas to come. I don’t know if the song is good or bad, but it was a fun creative project.