If I can give one musical lesson over the Internet, it would be to play with silence.

Whether you write electronica, folk, pop, or metal, I strongly believe this to be a worthwhile practice.

At first, it seems a silly idea – how and why would one ever do such a thing?

Well, to answer those questions in order –

  • How: As you would expect – find a quiet place, create a sound, stop, create another sound. A singing note, a tap on the table – use any sound to juxtapose no sound.
  • Why: The practice of this is, in essence, a meditation. All objects are created by having some opposite existence. One side of a coin would not exist without the other. In this case, silence is created by the non-existence of sound.

Focusing on this aspect of silence is a place of focus much as the breath would be for another meditation. In physical terms, it is the same as lifting a weight repeatedly. This practice is an exercise regimen for music.

Not only does one develop a deeper recognition of silence as a rarity in the world but also the simple and powerful relationship between sound and no-sound. It is the most fundamental aspect of music and speech.

Before there is speech, there is sound and rhythm, and before those there is silence. Recognizing and respecting the power of that primacy can make a tremendous difference in gaining mastery in the arts of sound.