Notes to the audience for  an imagined event by  Spring Garden Music

This will be the making of sounds out of an imagination of free playing that is not grounded in musical ability, concepts, compositions, or styles of playing. It extends our experience with our bodies and the objects you see on the stage in order to create experience we ourselves have not had, and in its specifics neither have you. Doing this reveals to us and possibly to you what we collectively expect music to do and its function in our lives, in a way that affects us personally. It is as difficult for those who think themselves musicians as it is for those known as “audience.” Authentic experience however necessitates a certain amount of confusion for oneself, and that is the direction in which we are pointed.

Those you see on the stage form a company of initiators who most often play in private sessions. Our assigned role has been music providers and performers, but only to the extent that there is no other social category we fit in. The musician ego, which each of us has constructed over time to a greater or lesser extent, is unfortunately what defends us against experience and self-knowledge. We find it both deceiving and a burden on our desire to enter a state of playing freely. Anyone who performs develops this ego and can decide to base their sense of themselves and their activity on it or not. While the musician ego aims at getting a positive response from the audience, our aim is to see what happens when we don’t know where things will go.

You came to a performance but we will not be performing for you.  If you are affected by what is going on it will be in the course of things and is not our intent. Whatever effect this event has on you belongs strictly to you, something you can talk about later or just think about. Discussion will follow the playing, which could take more than an hour. You probably won’t notice the length, for in the presence of those who themselves don’t know what will come next, completely vulnerable to the moment, there is no way to avoid paying attention.

Ordinarily our audience is other players and partners who are simply not playing at that time, but we are even more excited to see non-players. The audience normally observes and judges whether their pleasure equals what they expected. They are blocked from participating when they see others in a defined role as musicians, and all the traditional ritual in place, like a church service.  If the playing is loose and open they often sense the limitations of their passive role. As happens often with young children, when they see others in spontaneous play they commonly want to join in. To be relieved of responsibility, the role of spectator, is today the recipe for boredom. If you feel moved to do something active, that’s fine, but do it behind the others silently, and leave them to absorb the event undisturbed. We will probably see you back there and may be inspired by you as we are by each other.

We will  play no sets or pieces of music, so no solos, duos or what have you. We play only when and if others arouse us to action. We are not under contract to make music or even to play freely, we play as we are stimulated to play. Those who feel they should play cannot play freely. Whatever you might think you want, we will imagine you want us to take steps beyond whatever we have done before.

Sound that is the result of free play evokes feelings that are often not known to us; to call it music might be only lazy and not wanting to offend. To make sounds that are not music is a huge challenge, for in today’s rush to bland tolerance “music” can be anything one intends to be music. The better challenge is to follow the feeling of where things are going without prescribing that feeling in advance. It will probably get called music retrospectively, but we’re already on to the next thing. It might enable what you don’t know is possible for you. That is our bond in common.