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The Importance of Self-Care 

Sometimes, it’s hard to know what to say when you’re feeling the full weight of being human. It’s not necessarily depression. It’s more like the energy is down but the spirit is still there and it’s like something is whispering to me “just rest.” 

For the past few weeks I’ve been feeling a bit buried with many things to do. It’s been overwhelming. I always try to present the best of what my life is here and across my social media but sometimes, you just have to be honest and say how things really are and for me right now, I’m feeling the deeply pensive emotions of being a human struggling against the lack of energy to get things done. It hasn’t been helping either that my right shoulder has been hurting and feeling extremely tired. This is from an old injury I sustained in a car accident about 13 years ago. 

Perhaps, I’m experiencing all of this as a way of the universe/god/source or what ever you want to call this central energy letting me know that maybe, just maybe, this year needs to be a year of more self-care. Not the kind of self-care where you take a bubble bath and call it good but the kind where you dig deep into the muck to unearth more of the best parts of yourself that’s been buried by a landslide of social norms and practices. The kind where you recognize and acknowledge who and what you really are and not just what you've been told by others.

I know how hard it can be to start new habits especially when life is constantly pulling at you to “get things done.” But sometimes, you really have to set things aside to focus on taking care of yourself. I feel I’ve reached that point now and in doing so I’m realizing just how so central deep self-care is to being an artist. While the process of creation is a feedback loop that energizes you as much as takes energy, promoting that art and keeping up with all the day-to-day tasks can really take it out of you. I am not terribly gifted when it comes to finding the right words to promote my art and sometimes, I end up sitting for hours, struggling in front of my computer. Spending this kind of energy has been draining so I’m taking a step back and really looking at what I can do in the way of self-care to give myself the time and energy to recoup from my efforts. So, I’ve scheduled some major forest time for this weekend.

I'm also looking at what what are the deeper reasons for my malaise. For example, I am not the best decision maker in the world. I like to look at all angles of a decision and so often it takes me what seems like forever to get to a final decision. Acknowledging and accepting this shortfall has been huge but this doesn't mean I have accept this as my fate. So this year, I've started exercising my decision making muscles more so I can be more effective while I develop my career. Another example is what I expect from myself. When I look over the last several years of my life since leaving Seattle, I'm starting to see just how unrealistic my expectations of myself have been. So, this year, I've started readjusting my expectations and cutting myself a little slack (especially emotional slack) when it comes to what I can accomplish. Running your own business is not the easiest thing in the world, especially when you're doing it by yourself so I'm learning to give myself a bit more breathing space. The third thing I'm working on is getting better at asking for help when I need it. Like many other people, I've been so self-reliant that "I've got this!" has turned into somewhat of a laughable mantra. "Do you really?" is often my soul's reply. I can't think of a habit that trips a lot of us more than not having the nerve to ask for help even when we really need it. So, I'm learning that it's ok to ask. That people love helping. I know when people ask me for help, it makes me feel so good that they trust me enough to ask.

So these are a few of the bigger issues I'm beginning to tackle in the name of self-care in 2022 and I'm already starting to see myself in a better light. So what do you do when you feel overwhelmed, cranky or a bit down? Let us know because it may help someone else who is reading this. 

Many thanks for reading. Take good care and stay amazing! 

Pam

Autumn Continued: A New Song and Creative Life  

Hello Everyone!

Winter is on its way. It’s been storming, raining, windy and snowing like mad in the mountains for the past two days. It all has made the intense heat and dryness of this past summer a mere memory. I looked over at the Olympic Mountain Range earlier this morning and saw just how much it had snowed in the last 24 hours. Even at a distance, you can tell the trees were white. 

There is nothing still about this land. It’s this restlessness that is serving the inner fire of creativity that I feel rise every year at this time. Usually, it’s a quiet fire but not this year. Autumn this year has been like channeling the energy of wild horses that have just been set free and letting it manifest into songs like Sandstorm and this new piece that I just started. This new piece (which is yet to be named) is unlike anything I’ve ever written before for didgeridoo. It’s highly cinematic, large and totally unrestrained. I’ve been letting myself pull out all the stops and challenging myself to write in a more cinematic vein with and without didgeridoo. It’s been a fun challenge made even more so by songs like this one. Here are a couple of teaser clips of it.

 

It’s by no means a perfect mix and these aren't likely to be the images I use for a video but it can give you an idea of where I’m heading musically. 

Both Sandstorm and this new song have come along at the most perfect time for me. Their intense energy has allowed me to let go of so many emotions that have been building up ever since the pandemic began. In all honesty, my experience with these last two years have been just as challenging as anyone and I am so thankful that I'm able to be able to at least process some of it through making music. I know some have shared with me that they've been feeling the same about how channeling their creative energies have helped them process these same sorts of emotions. This is why I fully believe that the arts are so healing when it comes to challenging times like these - They get us to dive into ourselves and face our fears, our demons, our doubts and work our way through them through creativity and expression. There is a practice that Tibetan Buddhists do called Tonglen meditation which is taking the suffering in and sending out happiness. I feel this is what making music and art does for me.

I have been loving exploring this rich vein of music writing and can’t wait to share the whole song with you once it’s finished – which I’m guesstimating to be sometime in January. Until then, I will keep posting on the progress of it here and on my Patreon feed. Let me know what you think about this piece. I would love to hear your thoughts.   

One of the other things I’ve been working on have been making short video clips made from photos that I've taken in nature. Many of these photos are just of ordinary things like dirt, tree bark, a cluster of leaves, anything that has light and depth. I then edit it using mirror, coloring, and other effects to make a more fractal image. Them I use a simple app to add movement to it to make these looped clips.

I've been doing these for about two years now and some of them have ended up in videos like Hele and Walking Under Cedars. I've also been posting many of them on Instagram as I make them. Here are a couple of the clips I just posted on my Youtube channel.

 

Lastly, I've been doing more traveling of late, splitting my time between Washington and Oregon for the past two months to clean out and reorganize my storage unit. That is now finished and I'm starting my next step of searching for a space to set up a music studio. I have no idea what any of this will look like in the end but I am excited to start this step. I've been without a working space for over seven years now and it's been difficult not having much of my gear available to work and practice with. The thing I miss most is my full-sized keyboard that used to practice on all the time. So, I have a goal to be in my own studio by the end of next spring. At the moment it feels like it's far away until I start thinking about it and letting myself feel what it would be like to work in it. Letting myself do this, keeps me inspired to keep moving forward with this goal but also letting myself have a bit of fun along the way. So, I've posted a few of my favorite photos below of some of the amazing places I've been in the last several weeks. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them.

Until next time, take care all and sending much love, 

Pam


 

 

 

 

 

 

Things Are Evolving: Musical Project In the Making 

Tracks for Sandstorm

 

It can go without saying that the most challenging part of composing for didgeridoo is coming up with consistently interesting music for the listener who is not as familiar with this ancient instrument. This is one reason why I like writing for it. It challenges me to use rhythms, harmonies through using vocals, mouth shapes to synthesize sound organically, rhythmic and compositional textures as well as recording techniques and effects as part of the compositional process to write songs that are more than just primal rhythms strung together. The first didegridoo album I ever heard - Rainbow Serpent by David Hudson and Steve Roach - has been highly influential to me to explore didgeridoo's capabilities when it comes to songwriting. I first heard this album in 2005 and it opened a door for me to really dive in and explore my own gifts as a composer. The result has been seven distinctly different albums over the last 16 years that reflect the evolution of being a composer for didgeridoo. When I listen to the album TreeSpeak (2008) next to Coming Full Circle (2020), they sound like two entirely different players and two entirely different composers to me. In my estimation, that's just as it should be. 

Approaching didgeridoo from a composer's standpoint has allowed me to explore rhythm in place of melody, exploring sonic landscapes in place of harmonies and using vocals to sing through the didge to harmonize with it. It's been satifying work that often leads me down the rabbit hole of turning into somewhat of a sonic mad scientist. The evolution I've been experiencing has been nothing short of magical. Listening to bands like Sigur Ros, Dead Can Dance and Hammock and artists like Nitin Sawney, Jonsi and Amon Tobin are opening me up to exploring new ideas of writing for didge in ways I didn't think were possible. After a bit of exploration I can safely say, it's possible. By doing this, I feel like I've started the next leg of this journey as a composer by marrying my love of classical and film music together with didgeridoo.

For the past 10 years, I've dabbled with the idea of playing keyboard with didgeridoo at the same time. For the past few weeks, I've been reviving this idea by sitting down and just letting things evolve organically. It's been satifying work that often leads me down the rabbithole of becoming somewhat of a sonic mad scientist fitting together puzzle pieces of ideas some of which have been working. I've been using a couple of my own songs, Walking Under Cedars and Sandstorm as spring boards for this new chapter of my journey as a composer. At the moment, I'm feeling that Sandstorm in particular is the seed for a larger project, which is unfolding in front of me as I write this. It's an exciting time and I'm looking forward to sharing more or of this journey as it unfolds here on this blog and social media as well as my Patreon membership site where I'll share directly with my members through videos, music samples, behind the scenes looks, chats and whatever else I can think of. 

Before I go, I just want to say thank you to Gerhard, Tom, Daniel, Elisabeth and Randy for your purchase of Sandstorm. I know purchasing a single may not seem earth shattering but your support has helped so much to buoy my spirit. If you haven’t checked Sandstorm out yet, you can do so here. If you choose to download Sandstorm, you can set your own price and all of the money goes to help me develop this project further. 

Thank you so much for reading this. 

Take care all and be well,

Pam

New Single Release and Thoughts at 12:36am 

This is me at 12:36am. It’s getting to be late at night and I really should call it a day but I just released the Sandstorm video into the world tonight and I just wanted to say something about it. I always get nervous on how much traction a new video or piece of music or even a blogpost will get when I release it into the world. It’s an undeniable part of being an artist in this modern world. Will people like it? Or more to the point will enough people like it to make a living at it? 

I'll be honest here, Sandstorm is not a new song for me. I've had it harbored on my computer for eight years because it just didn't seem to fit anywhere on any of the albums I've made. So it seems fitting to release it as a single because it really is a piece unto itself. It's perfect that I release it right now becasue it's pretty much where I'm at in how I'm feeling about life - turbulent, unsettled, uncertain but also pushing forward into uncharted territory to stretch myself and grow into more of the kind of artist I know I can be. 

Sandstorm definitely has a cinematic feel to it and that's no accident considering how much I love film music and have been writing in that style for the past several months. I love writing this kind of music which, for me, creates these landscapes in my mind where scenes of life can play out. It's already drawn fond reminiscences of Dune from some of my listeners. I am honored. 

As this song goes out into the world to do its work, it's not lost on me how cathartic it's been to share such music. To just let go of what I think I should share and just simply share what I have. I'll finish up by saying making a living as a musician – especially one who is not well known – is the hardest things I’ve ever done. The hardship sometimes makes it difficult and makes me wonder if I should just quit and go back to the veltvety comfort of the 9-5 world. But like this song, I never really fit into that world so I keep going. I am thankful for the support I get through people purchasing the various products I have or through Patreon. It all helps.

Anyhow, enough of these late night ramblings. I’ll end it here but before I go, do go and check out Sandstorm and the new companion video here.

 

 

Let it carry you through whatever you’re going through and if you’re not going through anything in particular, then just dance to it if you’re moved to do so. Oh also, because I am attempting making a living at music like the crazy person I am, if you like it, consider supporting it by downloading it. You can set your own price and it would help me to keep making music. I will also forever hug you if you do! 

Thank you for reading this! I appreciate it more than you know. 

Sending you bunches of love and boatloads of hugs. 

Pam

Photoblog: Life In Autumn 2021 

Hello Everyone. I just wanted to some of the beauty of the forest during these days of October here in the Pacific Northwest. I always feel like I'm in heaven whenever I take these walks. Especially in Autumn.

This is is one of my most favorite times of the year. I know everyone says that but when the air turns crisp and the leaves begin to change color, you can feel the energy of summer settle into introspection and I love that! October is especially an amazing month here in the Pacific Northwest. The Summer is a memory and winter is yet to come and everything in life deepens. For me, energy becomes more balanced betweent he high energy of Summer and the stillness of Winter.  Below are a few photos of some of the forest walks I've taken over the past few weeks. And as you can see at the end, it's all left a smile on my face. I treasure these walks because I always come away feeling cleansed and refreshed. My soul is filled and I hope yours is too. 

Much love,

Pam 

Lessons In Repurposing Seeds To Serve A Dream 

My musical journey started with an instrument similar to what you see in the photo above. This is a Magnus table top chord organ that was made in the 60's and early 70's primarily for kids. If it hadn't been for this humble little instrument, I would not be here typing on this blog about my journey or making music or performing or recording or making didgeridoos or, or, or.... I most likely would have traveled a path of an endless string of service industry jobs till the day I could retire on a meagre income and I would have never gone past what I call a working class mindset. 

Like many artists, there have been many things I've overcome and are overcoming in order to thrive with my work. Chosing to be a full time musician is a huge risk. There are no guarantees you'll make it and enormous amounts of competition the farther you go so overcoming issues that you've carried with you is imperative to whether or not you succeed at your craft. One of the biggest issues I've been overcoming is that of the working class mindset. While this might not sound like much to overcome, it's actually a big issue for many of us who come from a blue collar working class background and one that is not so easily understood by those who come from more middle class. 

First let me lay out what those of us who come from this kind of background are up against. In our particular family we value practicality over dreaming, thrift over abundance and sticking with what you know over exploring possibilities. Authority rules over enthusiasm and emotions are thing to be avoided. So imagine being a kid who is a huge dreamer and isn't afraid of exploring potential and possibilities and is stubborn and audacious enough to push past the envelop to see what happens. That is me. 

I first discovered this part of me when I experienced the joy of exploring my musical gifts at the age of six. I remember sitting on top of a high boy dresser at a friends house playing the little chord organ she had. I don't remember exactly what i did but my mom explained it to me years later that I was picking out a song I heard on the radio. Apparently, she realized what I was doing and later that year got a chord organ for me for Christmas. Little did any of us know, it was game over at that point when it came to what was expected of me and being true to myself later on down the road. The door was opened for me to come in and discover what I had inside. It was an invitation far too tantalizing to resist.

It was also an invitation that set up a lot of conflict down the road as I came of working age. I wanted to go to college to learn music but it was expected of me that I go get a job or if I wanted to go to college it was strongly recommended that I study something more practical. It was the typical battle of wills that required flexibility on my part because parental authority and wishes were not to be messed with. So, I agreed to get a job but it would be a job that I would like and not just any job. I found what I thought was going to be a job teaching organ to beginners at a local organ and piano store but as it turned out I was 18 and didn't fully understand that it was up to me to bring in students. Needless to say, I wasn't very successful with this job and ended up working in fast food for the next five years. But even as I worked through the string of 9-5 jobs, I never let go of the idea that I was going to be a composer for film and television. 

But I digress......sort of.

Part of overcoming the working class mindset is not so much weeding out those seeds that no longer serve us but repurposing them so they can serve us in the moment while you cultivate better seeds. Thrift is one such seed that I've repurposed for the moment to direct much of the money I make back into my business so I can grow it. It means going without many other things for the moment but knowing that those things will show up when I need them or are ready for them. Practicality is another seed I've repurposed to serve the dream I have by taking action steps toward what I really want in life while keeping my eye on the prize. Even the string of jobs I had developed skills that I still use today. Skills like customer relations, typing, working with computers, fundraising, relationship development, marking and PR all of them I learned on the job and are serving me now. This is how I'm overcoming the working class mindset by repurposing it and making it serve a dream. So if you find yourself in the same boat, I want to invite you to take a different perspective of what you have and use your imagination to see how you can repurpose it to serve what you want out of life. Especially if you're an artist no matter what discipline you're in. And remember back to when you started your practice as a musician how it felt to engage in your explorations and let that enthusiasm return. This is what remembering playing a little chord organ has done for me. 

Thank you so much for reading this. If you're a musician or even a closet musician I hope you found it helpful.

Take care all and sending you much love,Pam

Wanna See Something Funny But Sweet? 

I swiped this image from my very first video I put out on Youtube back in 2008. It’s a song called Friend which you can find on the album Dogum that I put out in 2010. You can find the full video here

Yes, the sound is terrible (I didn’t know what I was doing putting the sound together), yes my hair looks weird long, no, I am not wearing some glam outfit and no, none of this matters. What mattered really was getting this video and song out there to share it with people. To push past the shyness I felt and share what I had in the moment. That’s why I can look at this video and be proud of what I did even though it’s not the most glamourous music video in the world. 

I believe we are coming on a time where we are all going to be able to open up and share the gifts we have. I’ve been watching this happening in the music world with so many people coming out and sharing their work in so many beautiful ways. All we need to do is simply start where we are and just let things grow from there. I know I still have to push past moments of shyness and getting on stage or in front of a camera is still a bit of a struggle but I do it anyway because the thrill of sharing something I’ve got is so much more powerful. I am so thankful that I have a bit of audacity to try new things to see where I can go because I won’t know until I try. 

Take care all and if there is something new you want to try, I just want to encourage you to just do it and see what happens! 

Many thanks for reading this and stay amazing! 

Pam

I Love It When This Happens 

This is a list of the songs I started this year. There are 105 of them. Only three of them were started late last year. This list does not include the 400 or 500 more songs that's on the other computer some of which will see completion. But most won't get past being a musical sketch - ideas that started with intention but lost steam. Some of those may end up as parts for other songs. This is the life of a composer - for every one song that sees completion there's about a dozen or so that don't. But those that do hopefully makes their way to ears that love to hear them. 

Like the songs in this list, I am a work in progress. Continuously working on refining parts of my life while taking a look at places where I'm stuck. What tools would I need to be better than I was before? What can be re-arranged to live a more harmonious life? A good composer asks questions, explores and experiments to see what works and uses good judgement to make a beautiful piece of music. These can also be used in creating a beautiful life and in this way, parallels are a beautiful thing.

Thanks for reading this. 

Stay happy, stay healthy and stay amazing!

Pam

If you really liked what you just read or just love what I do, I could really use your help in keeping things going by leaving a little something in my virtual tip jar. This would help for many things from putting gas in my car to helping to save up to buy my own studio space. You can find my virtual tip jar here.

Thank you so much for your consideration and generosity. It really means a lot!

 

There Are Reasons Why I Do This 

There are reasons why I sit and do this for hours. The first is to put a good quality instrument into the hands of players. When I get a message from a customer on how much they love their instrument, it's worth it to put the time in.

But it's more than that. When I work with the raw material, I get to know every little groove and bump I carve into it. In this way, it becomes a part of me and I become a part of it. Is it hard letting go when I ship them to new homes? You bet. But it's what I can do to help make this world a better place. 

Happy Saturday All!

Much Love, Pam

Summer Travels, New Music and Explorations 

Hello Everyone!

It's been awhile since I've written anything! Before I even start, I thought it would be a fun idea to share this piano and strings piece first. As you listen to it, you can look at the rest of the post. 

You can find it here. :-)

It’s the end of July and Summer is still riding high. It's been an intense time with traveling, creating, and exploring so many possibilities in life. I just returned from a whirlwind two-week trip to Oregon where I did some of my first dispersed camping on the Central Oregon Coast. It was a beautiful time spent listening to one of my favorite birds – Swainson’s thrush – and watching the ocean waves from my van while having breakfast. (Yes, this was the view from my van from my parking spot!) 😲

It was also a time to reconnect with so many friends and with Oregon itself. I went to many of the places I've been before to revisit them and to new places to explore. It felt so good to reconnect with the land and its energies. It felt healing in so many ways. I want to share with you a few photos of some of the places old and new I visited while I was there.

Otter Crest

With my beautiful sister and musician Tati

With my other beautiful sister and mom to be Harmony

With my beautiful sister and life artist Maggie

Fire dancing celebrating the grand opening of my friend Tyler's new venue

Alsea Bay BridgeSpencer Butte (Eugene)

At the top (2000 foot elevation gain)

From the top looking northeast across the Willamette Valley.From the top looking south

Laying down roots and obligitory forest shots

Performing at Flutestock Lite. 

At Mulkey Ridge (Corvallis) - One of my places of healing.

Some of you know that several years ago, I sought to make Oregon my home and spent time living in different places, trying them out and seeing where I would like to lay down roots. But sometimes where you intend to live is different than where your soul really wants to be. I felt this very strongly when I saw the Olympic Mountains (in Washington State) rise above the clouds on the way back from my trip. It was as if they were welcoming me home. 

I’ve been living on the Olympic Peninsula now for almost two years and it’s beginning to feel like my roots are being laid here. I know my soul is really longing to settle somewhere and the North Coast is feeling more like home than anywhere right now. Perhaps because I've been here for awhile. Still, I feel I would like to be with my tribe in Oregon so I haven’t quite given up the idea of living there yet. In the meantime, I will keep traveling, making music, writing blogs, creating videos and making an occasional didgeridoo.

Now about the song I posted above.

I’ve been back from Oregon now for a few days and for the last two days, I’ve been working on finishing up some songs while starting others. Yesterday, I finished this piece for piano and strings that I'm calling "Drift" for now. It came to me during breakfast and it perfectly sums up how I’m feeling with all of the intense change and explorations of where to head next in life. There’s a bit of longing for me in this song but there is also the feeling of moving forward in light even though a final destination is yet to be determined. It reflects the possibilities and the importance of being still in order to recenter and find a way. I hope you enjoy listening to this song as much as I did making it. I’m working on a video of my travels and of life in general and I’m sure this song will find its way into mix somewhere. I will let you know when I’ve uploaded it. For now, it’s back to editing so I can finish it and share it with all of you. 

Be well and happy and stay amazing! 

Much love

Pam

 

Fueling Dreams and Setting Intentions 

Whew! I’m back online after a whirlwind couple of weeks. June has been exceptionally busy with wrapping up projects and starting new projects but the biggest thing is beginning a new chapter in my life that will have me lving and working from my van at least for the summer, perhaps longer. This is partly to see sights and fulfil bucket list items but it’s also with the intention of finding space. In my experience, finding what you need is a matter of putting your shoes on and just going outside to see what’s available. It can also be simply drawing what you need to you but in this case, I think I need to go outside, so I’ve been converting my van into a living and work space. Much of the work is done and I’m sure there will be adjustments along the way but the idea is to have a decent work space where I can have a small mobile studio in addition to a living space. It’s a tall order for being in a mini van but I think for now, I’ve got it. 

It’s helped a lot to have had practice time throughout this pandemic. For the past year, I’ve been sleeping, eating and working in the van (I’ve named Ruby) to work out the details in space issues. What I’ve come up with is a modular approach where many things are foldable and can serve dual (or even triple) functions. Taking this approach has also kept things simple which is something that my singular mind really appreciates. It also helps to have a massive storage cargo box on top for didgeridoos, camp gear etc. 

So, just what are the plans for the summer? My number one goal is to find space to start building on my dream of having my own music studio. I’ve harboured this dream for about 40 years now and it’s time so I suspect I will mostly be driving between Oregon and Washington (in addition to looking on Craigslist etc.) to see what I can find. This will also allow me to see the places I haven’t been to and share the adventures I’m sure I will have along the way. Just to let you know, this is not some sudden fantasy trip that I dreamed up over the last couple of months. Let me tell this story. 

When I was eight or nine, my grandmother and her two cousins went on an eight month odyssey across the U.S. in a small Winnebego RV. They went partly to see family they hadn’t seen in years and partly to see sights. I remember getting postcards from my grandmother from places like Maine, Vermont, Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon and it totally fired my imagination about being a traveler. What makes this story so cool is that these ladies did this at a time when women their age simply didn’t do things like that (this was back around 1971). I’ve never forgotten that and so I’m letting this story guide me into this next chapter of my own life. It’s exciting, exhilarating and a bit daunting (I’m not gonna lie) but I’m doing it anyway. I suspect I will be stretched, shaped, challenged, bumfuzzled, given lessons and ultimately thrown into gratitude on this journey. I’ve waited and I’m ready as I can be. I won’t lie, there is a pert of me that is trepid. It wouldn’t be normal if I didn’t feel this but the excitement far outweighs the trepidation. 

I will be posting here as this journey unfolds and I hope you will join me. It’s always more fun to have you along! Of course, I plan on continuing to make music, videos and tutorials along the way. The only thing I won’t be doing is making didgeridoos. I am putting that on hiatus for the summer in order to make space and time for new projects. With that said, here are some photos of the last didge for awhile. I will have it up for sale in a couple of days and will post it here when it’s ready for a new home. 

Thank you so much for reading this if you made it this far. I want to extend a special thanks to all of you who have contributed through my virtual tip jar and to my Patreon supporters. I know I sound like a broken record but I really couldn’t have done any of this without your support. Thank you!! 

Take care All. Stay happy, stay healthy and stay amazing! 

Much Love, Pam

Born to Be 

At some point, you cross a threshold and become the artist you were born to be. When this happens, there’s a certain sweetness you can relax into and just let things flow the way they were meant to. This is what’s happening for me right now. 

It’s funny and somewhat confusing to be a musician these days. You’re told that you need to brand yourself, promote yourself, have a mission and purpose and engage in all the other businessy things to get your music out there to catch the industry’s eye. There are a million different ways to get yourself and your art out there to the world and there’s always a coach to help you in any one of those ways. Sometimes, it gets to a point where you don’t know which end is up and you get so wrapped around the axle over the business of music that it’s easy to forget about the artist. About a month ago, I finally had to put my foot down and shove the business stuff aside to dig through the rubble to find the artist. I’m glad I did because this reacquaintance is giving me a foundation to build on. 

For the past several years, I’ve adopted this magical forest gnome persona just to have something interesting to present to the world. There’s nothing wrong with that and I don’t regret this adoption. But at the same time, this particular shoe didn’t quite fit right either. I felt like I was faking it until my real artist was ready to come out. So just who IS my real artist? That’s a great question. I see her as enigmatic, defying all manner of genres, keeping things simple or throwing color all over the place, showing up when her hair is messy or showing up in androgynous dress. She is soft, primal, dark, light, dramatic, quiet, funny, reflective, shamanic and always in bliss when she is creating on her playground. And yes, that playful forest gnome is also in there. If this is my brand, I’ll take it! 

As I grow into this next version of being a musician and artist, I’m letting it reflect all over in my real world and online presence. Just yesterday, I pointed my camera at the wooden floor of the living room of the house I’m housesitting at and did a photoshoot. It satisfied the question I had of “what would it look like if I shot photos from above?” The photos looked exactly as I  imagined them and now they are showing up here on my site. 

This growth also means bringing some of the other instruments I play into the mix. Most of you may not know this but prior to my life as a didgeridoo player, keyboard had been the dominant force in my life. I played organ for 35 years and piano and synthesizer for nearly as long. I see keyboard as the perfect dichotomous match for didgeridoo and it seems fitting, since my inner artist seems to be made up of opposites anyhow. Where didgeridoo, satisfies the primal, shamanic side of me, playing keyboard satisfies the Old World part of me. Perhaps someday these two worlds will meet. I will definitely look forward to that. Until then, I will continue to create music without boundaries or worry about where it can fit within a industry that requires labels and tidy compartments. 

In the end, it’s been a somewhat arduous journey to get here but I’m content to stay in this vortex for a bit and see where it goes. As always, thank you for coming with me. Just like with a child, an artist needs her village as well. 

Take care all and stay amazing! 

Pam

Celebrating 16 Years Of Didgeridoo 

Sixteen years ago this month, a walked into a used CD store in Seattle to find some music to listen to. At the time, I was really into the music of Dead Can Dance, Sheila Chandra and anything with a Middle Eastern beat. This time, I wanted to hear something different so I went to the world music section and looked in Australia. There were three CDs – one by Yothu Yindi (a legendary Aboriginal rock band), some singer songwriter and a CD by David Hudson ( a super cool Aboriginal player) called Rainbow Serpent. The latter looked the most interesting, so I took it to the listening station up in front of the store, plopped the CD into the tray and donned a pair of headphones for the next hour. I hadn’t planned on listening that long but the music from Rainbow Serpent immediately drew me into its vortex and led me on an amazing journey. I had found my CD. 

I also found the fire to learn to play didgeridoo. At the time, I had this bamboo didgeridoo that was the size of a telephone pole but it didn’t matter. I played it anyway and tried my best to emulate the sounds I was hearing on the album. Of course, the sounds didn’t come out the same because A) I was a beginner and B) the didge I was playing was way different that the amazing eucalyptus sticks David was playing. But that didn’t matter either. I kept playing. 

For the next year, Rainbow Serpent was my teacher. There wasn’t much else out there. Youtube was just born with a handful of videos and as far as I knew, I was the only person playing didgeridoo in Seattle. But I kept playing and loving it. 

Little did I know, this was just the beginning of an amazing journey full of travel to places I had never even thought of going, experiences that have been game changers, but most of all meeting extraordinary people. I’ve met men, women, kids, dogs, cats, birds, a snake or two, doctors, lawyers, teachers, admins, tons of artists, tons of hippies, tree huggers, conservatives, liberals, old people, young people, babies, rich folks, poor folks, Earth folks and city people and all of them having a hand in shaping me into the person I am now. And it’s because of didgeridoo. When I play on stage, it’s not me up there playing for people – it’s all of us creating a time together where we dance, sway, smile, laugh, cheer and celebrate the miracle of being happy humans while we’re here. Creating moments that we look back to with warmth and forward to doing again and again. So, I’m celebrating 16 years of evolution as a musician and a human and I’m looking forward to many more years of people, music and time spent together to continue to help foster a planet of happy humans. 

Take care all and stay amazing! 

Pam

I Learned This From a Didgeridoo Mouthpiece 

Hey there, Been feeling the push to say this out loud and it may sound weird but I'm going say it anyway.

Lately, I’ve been feeling the push to expand beyond my current borders to grow into something bigger than what I've been. Some of you know I recently released a circular breathing video. I watched it last night (yes I watch my own videos sometimes) and I saw a very different person than normal. I felt like I was actually seeing Me for the first time in years. It was so refreshing. When I watched this video, it was about seeing more than just someone who was teaching circular breathing. I was watching myself emerge from my shell and show up in a way that I was meant to and I freakin' loved it!

So what does that have to do with the mouthpiece in the photos above? I feel these photos can demonstrate what I mean about bringing out the best in ourselves. 

These are photos of a mouthpiece I just got through sanding on yesterday afternoon. If you look at the pictures from left to right you’ll see the transformation from roughness to finished product. In order to bring out the beauty of the wood, I had to use sandpaper, lots of elbow grease and a vision of what I wanted to see. It’s an evolution I’ve fallen in love with over the years of crafting didgeridoos – watching and having a hand in something, taking it from five little rings of rough cut wood to a cohesive thing of beauty. I posted these photos on my social media accounts last night and as I did, it hit me that this is the kind of evolution that any one of us can make from where we are. I look at these multi-colored rings of wood as individual parts of ourselves that when put together, make a gorgeous whole. What it takes is a vision of where we want to be and then taking steps to get there while we maintain the enthusiasm of our vision. The trick is to not get attached to the final outcome of how we should think it should go. Just like learning circular breathing, we have to let go of how we think something should go and just jump into beginner’s mind and be present to the work in front of us. I could ramble on about this but I think you get the point. 

So I just want to ask, if there is a place you want to go or if you have a vision of what you want, what step can you take right now to get there? It doesn’t have to be a huge leap but something that can at least get you closer to where you want to go. Ok, nuff said. I hope you find this helpful in some way. Let me know in the comments below. I'd would love to hear it!

Many thanks for reading!

Take care all and stay amazing! 

Pam 

PS: If you haven’t seen the circular breathing video yet, you can find it here.

Having Trouble Staying Motivated in Your Didgeridoo Practice? Here’s What Helped Me  

One of the top comments I hear in teaching people how to play didgeridoo, is they have hard time staying motivated in their practice because they play by themselves. When I was first learning how to play didgeridoo, I had the same issue – I thought I was the only player in Seattle and so it was a little hard for me to stay motivated. As it turned out, there were a whole bunch of other players in the area who thought the same thing so a didgeridoo circle was formed and every week we would meet and hone our skills simply by playing along with each other. But what if there isn’t a didgeridoo circle in your area? How do you stay motivated in your practice? What worked for me (other than the didge circle) was going to Youtube and seeking out videos and playing along with them. By doing this, I was not only more motivated but my skills developed a lot quicker by trying to follow players that were better than me. . And because videos are visual, I learned how to do many techniques simply by watching the player and then giving it a try. I also learned to develop and hone my own unique sounds and found a sense of timing and rhythm through doing duets with these videos 

It can go without saying that we are social creatures who learn from each other best when we have access to someone with a higher skill level so we can observe how to do something. Now that Youtube has LOADS of didgeridoo videos these days, it’s really easy to find a player that you can resonate with. Some of the players (aside from my own videos) that you may find helpful to play along with are Stephen Kent, Adele Blanchin, Lies Beijerinck, David Hudson, William Barton, Tyler Spencer and Zalem (Rudy Delarbre). There are many other players out there but this can be a start for those of you who are looking for some inspiration and motivation. When you play along with videos, don’t be surprised if your skills improve much more quickly than playing alone and even though it may not come out sounding the same as what you hear, you can develop your own sounds and rhythms that are unique to you.  Also it’s a lot more fun to play along with others than it is to play by yourself to a wall. One last thing is I’ve found that when I just let go of any idea of what I think I’m supposed to sound like and just relax and play along, I end up l playing my best. That alone can be the best motivator. 

I hope you find this simple suggestion helpful in your practice. Let me know in the comments below! Also, I just want to mention that I’m putting together a video course on learning how to play didgeridoo for people who are busy and can’t always schedule a session with me. So far, I’m working on videos for basic skills as well as a circular breathing course but let me know what else you think you would like to learn in the comments below and I can start working on it. 

Many thanks for reading this! Take care all. Stay happy, stay healthy and stay Amazing! 

Pam

I'm Doing WHAT???!! 

Hey there Wonderfuls! 

I'm coming up for air long enough to fill you in on life's happenings. Most of the time life's happenings are inconsequential to the music making but in this case, it will have an effect on it and if I do this right, it will be an awesome effect. 

So what am I doing? 

After a year of pandemic and waiting to move forward, I've finally decided to give myself the green light to get into van life. This was something I was going to a year ago but then the pandemic hit and put a hold on those plans. It was all good though because it gave me the time to research this subject to give me an idea of what I would be getting into. 

 So what does vanlife mean? 

 It means that I am choosing to commit to living, working and traveling in my van while I make music, videos, tutorials and blog and vlogs posts. It's different from RVing in that instead of going out on a vacation and then coming back to work (or retirement life), I take my work with me on the road. In this way, vanlife, itself, becomes part of the work that I'll be doing through blogging, vlogging and perhaps even a travel song or two. 

How did I come to this decision? 

When I left Seattle in 2014, it was with the idea that I would move to Oregon. I spent the next few years living in different places to test out where I really wanted to plant myself. The problem was I loved all the places I lived in so it made it hard for me to decide on a single place. Couple that with finally admitting to myself that I'm really a nomad at heart and it's easy to see why committing to vanlife is a great decision. I'm stoked! Can you tell by the look on my face in the photo? 😁 

Does this mean I'll quit making music? 

Nope. As I mentioned above, this is a way I can integrate the two things I'm most passionate about at the moment - making music and traveling. So, what better way to marry these two than through incorporating vanlife into the fold. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find that the two will compliment each other nicely. I'm super excited about bringing these two sides of my life together and seeing where it takes me....literally and figuratively. 

Do I know what I'm doing? 

Heck no........! Well Sort of, but I'm doing it anyway because have the propensity to jump into the unknown, untested and uncertain to learn new things, make mistakes, see amazing places, make new friends (as safety allows), have new experiences, eat new foods and share it all with you while making music. WHEW! That was a mouthful. The difference for me this time is that I feel I have a mission, plan and purpose and I can't wait to share it all with you! 

So, what am I doing right now?

At the moment, I'm prepping the van for a series of road trips probably mostly in the Pacific Northwest. This means I'm about to take the seats out of my 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan to make storage space for what I need on the road and purchasing what I need to make sure I'm dry, safe and well-fed. I'll be camping, glamping, perhaps doing a homestay or two and wondering if I bit off more than I can chew. Just kidding. 

The bottom line is, I've done enough long distance road trips to know that it totally lights me up. It's also one of the best ways I know of to push myself past my own envelope and grow through living in the moment. By sharing the life I love living, it inspires and encourages others to do the same! Frankly, I can't think of a better mission than that. 

I don't really know how all of this will look down the road but I can guarantee things will definitely evolve as I make plans and take steps to make them happen.  The best part is, I get to take you with me1 Which is so much more fun than traveling alone! 

This feels like a good stopping point for now. Thank you for reading this! As always, I would love to hear your thoughts or if you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them. If you would like to help support this new leg of my journey you can do so by either becoming a Patreon patron or leave a tip in my Virtual Tip Jar. This will help keep me bringing the music, the videos, the tutorials, the blogs, vlogs and whatever else I can think of directly to you as a benefit. And If you REALLY love what I do, share this post with a friend who you may think would be interested! Because sharing is caring and very sexy. 

See you soon! Take care! Stay happy, stay healthy and stay amazing! 

Pam