Hammond organ wizard Cory Henry says he gets his inspiration from Jesus. Does that mean that atheists can’t get inspiration? No doubt, connection with some “higher” power helps a lot of people. But what if even that, for you, is malarkey?

Another question might be: does inspiration just boil down to having a good flow of ideas of what to play next? Without answering that, let’s watch MonoNeon dubbing his bass to the video you just saw:

So what drove him to overdub bass onto a track like that, apart from the inspiration he got from the track itself? This guy is motivated! To find out more, go to 4:35 and pause the video to check out MonoNeon’s art manifesto, just legible despite the low resolution:

Write your own vision and read it daily.

Have the southern soul/blues and funk at the bottom and the experimental/avant garde at the top… (YOUR SOUND!)

Make your life audible daily with the mistakes, the flaws… er’thang

Understand that some people are going to like what you do… and some are going to dislike it … when you understand and accept that dichotomy… move on!

Polychromatic color schemes. High visibility clothing


Reject the worldly idea of becoming a great musician… JUST LIVE MUSIC

Here is another of my favourite musicians who does just that:

It might be worth making the distinction between inspiration – that uplifting of the spirit into a state of receptivity to some creative force – and sourcing, i.e. finding a rich vein of material to use in your playing.

Without inspiration, your playing might just become a meaningless stringing together of ideas that you have sourced from listening and practising.

Olivier Messiaen had plenty of sources, from birdsong to Indian tāla rhythms, but drew his inspiration from his religious faith. His synaesthesia – seeing colours in sounds – became part of his technique.

Here MonoNeon is sourcing his material from Cory Henry. And he has distilled his moments of inspiration into words of wisdom pasted on his wall to remind him of them and get him back into the Zone. It’s what keeps him aiming higher.

So where are you getting your inspiration from? What keeps you aiming higher? Even if you don’t believe in the supernatural, you have no shortage of inspirational quotes to pin on your wall.

But for me, the key advice from MonoNeon’s manifesto is the first sentence:

Write your own vision and read it daily.

About jazzpanflute

jazz panpipe pioneer and designer
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