Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Musicians who Challenge the Limits

Musicians who want to share their music find themselves compelled at some point to describe the music they make, to locate themselves or their music in a genre.  

The market and search engines require categorization.  

Genre by definition is exclusive-a division between what belongs and what does not.  

What if you don’t fit in a genre? What if you don’t want to be pigeon holed or beholden to a genre?

Sure, being able to describe your music as this or that genre gives people a sense of what to expect, a sense of anticipation for loving, hating, or tolerating. It may even determine whether people will give it a listen. It also allows people to find you.

It might even begin to limit what kind of music you allow yourself to create…

Yes, this is an argument for challenging the limits of musical genres.  

When we listen to music, do we really hear the music itself? Or is it tempered by the conversation we are having with ourselves?  
“This is good.”
“This is bad.”
“Is it as good as that last record or song I loved?”
“This isn’t country.” 
“It’s too pop.”
“This is like X.”

Our analytical brains are forever classifying, comparing, contrasting, naming, seeking the familiar and predictable, the known, the answer.  It’s by design,  It ensures our survival. 

This brilliant design costs us something.

We lose something of the pure experience of life.

We interact with our ideas versus the actual thing itself.  

Imagine a world without musical genres for just a moment.  
Someone somewhere pushes play, or lowers the needle into the shiny black grooves of the record and music fills your ears. You feel it moving through your body.  The music is in you. You are the music. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

Music Appreciation Seeds of Sound

Music appreciation goes beyond casual listening, it implies a focused intentional listening-a meditation if you will. Mostly when we hear the term “music appreciation” we conjure thoughts of listening to and enjoying different kinds of music.  Experiencing the dopamine release produced by melody, harmony and rhythm. Escaping mundane reality and language.  Inhabiting pure emotion, or our physical body being taken over by the music. 

Similar to the “why’s” for meditation, getting lost in music comes from a desire to be grounded in the body, to transcend life circumstances, or encounter bliss, release, and peace-to quiet the noise of being human-to celebrate the noise of being human.

What about the artist, the musician? What is it like for them to make the music? Is it a similar experience?

When we listen to music, noise enters us.  When Jeanette makes music, noise emerges from and through her. 

Where does the noise come from? 
Usually Jeanette’s music arrives as a seed of sound in her dreams.  Waking in the middle of the night, she will record this kernel of sound. Expanding upon this initial seed over time becomes her meditation practice.  She returns to the seed again and again, much like a mantra recitation. Sometimes, the seed of sound lodges itself somewhere in the recesses of memory and she awakes with some vague recollection.  When this happens she grants time and space, allowing the seed to bubble up to the surface before she records the new start and begins developing the next piece.

“Other times my music is sparked by emotion. Happiness, joy and love will spark these seed sounds that turn into my song. Or the worst times of life, when I experience loneliness and anger, or feel abandoned.” High emotions, both positive and negative, provide the raw materials for Jeanette’s meditations in music.

“Making music is meditation,” she says. “The process doesn’t feel like meditation when I start.  It’s more I need to get something out…a catharsis.  Making music is healing medicine for me. It’s therapeutic. I make music because I want wholeness and peace. When you meditate you want to ground, go within, let go of things that are making a lot of noise. Making noise provides the same access.  Putting that noise out into the world…love is expressed, sadness is shared and released.”

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Jeanette Stofleth of Seattle WA manages her own independent record label, Jeanette Records LLC and has written and recorded music as a member of The Acoustics for the last two decades along side her sibling River James Stofleth. In addition to providing the band with lead vocals and original songs, Jeanette Stofleth is a self taught guitarist.  Jeanette Stofleth is also bassist, drummer, and enjoys play the piano. 
The Acoustics have an ambient, mysterious and sometimes haunting sound. Jeanette Stofleth and River James Stofleth attempt to share the sounds and visions that have come to them in dreams.  Music that sounds like nothing you have ever experienced, The Acoustics sounds intrigue many who listen to their music.
The Acoustics are preparing to release their latest full length album, which will feature a release for each individual song as creative projects.  “As I”, has been mastered and sequenced by Dan Trager.  Jeanette Stofleth and River James Stofleth will start releasing their newest music project for your listening enjoyment at some point in 2017.  

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

WAVE, Women Against Violence Everywhere

Jeanette Stofleth is a gifted musician with an aptitude for multiple instruments and a love for unique musical styles. A cofounder of Seattle-based band The Acoustics, Jeanette Stofleth finds time outside of her musical ventures to give back to organizations she believes in, such as WAVE, Women Against Violence Everywhere.

With 1 out of 3 women experiencing a form of domestic violence in their lifetime, Women Against Violence Everywhere was formed in 2000 to combat this troubling statistic. The signature event of the organization is Cycle the WAVE, a women's cycling event t has raised over $1 million to help women escape from these dangerous home situations.

Throughout Washington State, WAVE travels to schools and community centers to teach young people basic self-defense, sexual assault awareness, and violence education. Empowering children to set boundaries and build confidence, WAVE caters its classes to the needs of those attending, from elementary, middle, and high school boys and girls to young people enrolled in comprehensive college programs. 

The organization also hosts the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes program, which calls on men of all ages to, quite literally, walk one mile around the University of Washington campus in high heels, with proceeds benefiting WAVE.