I share my music with my middle school students. In the corner of my whiteboard I write “Extraneous Solutions has a new single out”.
Sometimes the students will ask me to play it for them, just proof that kids will do anything to get out of doing school work. I enjoy seeing their reactions, sometimes a whole class will choreograph dance moves to accompany the track.
But inevitably, someone in the class will ask
“How many have you sold??”
And there it is, the justification our society has placed on the majority of human endeavors – Financial Gain. The main reason I became a music teacher was to ensure that I had a stable livelihood, so isn’t that why I write songs?? HECK NO!!
See here’s the thing, I was writing songs before I started playing guitar. I was writing songs before I knew anything about music theory and composition. I was writing songs when I thought I wanted to be a Guidance Counselor. The music conservatory couldn’t beat it out of me, and public school teaching didn’t kill it either.
So when a kid asks me “how many have you sold”,
I answer “Some, but that’s not why I do it.”
You see, I have to write songs. I have to compose music. It is like breathing for me. For years, I didn’t share my songs with anyone but my closest musical circle – my wife, my father, and my brother-in-law. I would make a collection of songs each year and put them on a CD (or tape back in the day), and listen in the car on my way to work. I liked the music but I was afraid no one else would, so I never pursued distribution (the quality of those recordings was horrid, so you’re not missing much).
When I made my first original classical guitar CD and a few months later Pure Kirtan’s first album at Clark Creative Studio (owned and operated by Mike Clark – awesome engineer), I began dreaming of being able to make high-quality recordings like that in my own home. He gave me some great advice and I bought a professional Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). I began piecing together the equipment I already had and made some test recordings. These recordings were compiled and released as an album called “By Candlelight”. Buoyed by the reception these recordings received from strangers, I decided to make Pure Kirtan’s second album “Of The Heart” in my studio (Shavasana Kitty). That album has sold copies all over the world and has helped many folks start their own mantra practice.
So, I have this wonderful studio, but no music to record. It takes a while to piece together an album’s worth of songs and I was itching to make more recordings. I had some choices: I could take a class and learn by mixing other recordings ($$/time/homework), open up my studio to record other bands and musicians (another job) or I could start recording my songs that were not classical guitar or kirtan music (FUN/LOVE).
That’s how Extraneous Solutions was born. I needed a band. One I didn’t have to teach (I do plenty of that already). One that didn’t care what kind of music I wrote or how quirky my lyrics were. But most importantly, I needed public accountability. I started this website, a YouTube Channel, and created a CDbaby page and bio for Extraneous Solutions. I also started my song a month challenge.
When I look back, the only thing that was stopping me from doing this a long time ago was fear and insecurity. But after 11 months of sharing my heart, I can say with certainty that the reason I do this is because it is FUN and I LOVE it. There really isn’t any other reason to do it is there?
Well, that’s enough typing, I am going to go make music…..
Thank You for being in my Inner Music Circle!!
ps. Next Month’s fun little tune is called “Vegan Cafe”
pps. In the works is return to the world introduced in “The Last Testament” with a song called “Dust”.