The Volume

What is “the volume?” It’s both physical and mental.

Years ago, I bought some handmade Turkish cymbals. One day, I started playing them very softly with mallets. That’s when I discovered something profound. When I played softly, I could hear much more variety in tone. I tuned into the subtle vibrations and frequencies. I even became more aware of the sounds around me.

Ever since my experience with the Turkish cymbals, I’ve realized that we can often hear more detail when we turn down the volume. And when we hear more, we can create greater subtleties in the textures of our work.

This idea of lowering the volume lends itself to anything creative. I used to use more profanity in my writing, but I’ve realized that that was simply too loud. It didn’t allow me to stretch my vocabulary as much as I could. A painter or photographer might select more subtle color combinations.

There’s another kind of volume we have to deal with. All the stuff going on in our heads. I won’t tell anyone to meditate. I don’t. However, I do use walking as a way to clear my head. Often, a short walk is all I need.

Turning down the volume helps us to focus on the real work at hand, the core. Almost anyone can plug in an electric guitar in and strum a power chord. Only a select few can play Bach on a classical guitar with proficiency. Why? Because the latter takes much more attention to detail, including the quiet parts.

Sometimes it’s good to turn down the volume. – dse

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Author: Dan Steven Erickson

Dan Steven Erickson is a great undiscovered American songwriter.