Empty and marvelous is a phrase from one of Zen practitioner and philosopher Allan Watts books. It represents a state of being where desire is gone and only acceptance of the present is known.
In a way, that's what improvisation is about too! We empty ourselves of ego and allow the music to take us away. And we are amazed by this process because it seems that the music has a life of its own - if we let it.
This requires a certain attitude. One that many find hard to attain because of the need to be in charge.
If we learn to empty ourselves of what kind of music we want to create, we come up with something that has a special quality that could never have been created by ego alone! This is the X factor that is missing from so much music today.
Here in the West, we are used to achieving something. We want a good music, a nice music, or something that is worthy of performance. We don't want music to change or transform us. This wouldn't be something we could use. We aren't used to attaching value to something unless it can do something for us. But it is exactly this kind of music that gives us so much and has much to offer!
If we play and enjoy the process, just for process sake, we begin to understand the true meaning of the phrase "empty and marvelous." We begin to feel the music and know that something special is taking place. It's like a musical meditation that heals and comforts, not just the player, but everyone around who is fortunate enough to be listening.
Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Visit http://www.quiescencemusic.com/ now and get a FREE piano lesson!