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The Channeling (Ways to reach your Muse)
The Muse In Oz
By Shaman Sean
© 1999-2001 Shaman Sean. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission.

One of the things that I would like to address is musicianship.  (Indulge me with my oversimplification for a moment.)  There are two kinds of people who are playing out today.  Those with musicianship and those without.   Youíve probably gotten the impression from my previous articles that your relationship with the muse is highly dependent on your personal integrity.

Friends of mine in the movie biz tote a similar version of what Iím about to say.  They refer to the belief of karma or the ďwhat comes around goes aroundĒ belief.  Without supporting the concept of karma, a very natural thing occurs when you treat people badly, (even when they deserve it.)  The whole concept revolves around personal responsibility regardless of other people's irresponsibility.  This is directly linked to maturity of character, which is directly linked to your ability to communicate effectively and empathize.  This in turn is directly linked to your fluency with performance & writing.  In short, if you are putting out bad vibes in the world, you are sending bad vibes to your own development. 

What I mean by ďbad vibesĒ is how you treat people; specifically, other musicians.  When I sit in the room, if Iím checking out a new band member, or theyíre checking me out;  it takes a short amount of time to see whether a person is a good-witch or a bad-witch (if you get my drift.)  The question we should examine is how easy is it to work with a bad-witch??  The applications of how this theory works in the music world depends on the context.

Itís about an explosive band ripping argument, instead of a discussion about what should happen. 

Its about someone trying to take credit where they donít deserve, or not giving credit where credit is due.  Its about how you react to other people's abuse of you as well.  Will you use someone elseís fault to justify your abusive behavior?  The difference between a good-witch and a bad-witch in the music biz can be summarized in one word:   ďfriendsĒ.   Friends do much more for each other than people who are not friends.  Being a friend to someone has nothing to do with them being a friend back.  Its really a matter of principal and personal growth.

How do you talk about other people?  Have you ever noticed that the majority of the stars and musicians in the public eye, usually speak well of other people?  Thereís a reason for this.  They arenít going to be the bad-witch.  I can tell you right now, that if someone is a bad-witch, you will not turn them around by being a bad-witch back.  Being a bad-witch will only give them a reason to continue being a bad-witch themselves.  Deals and musical partnerships are made (and if I may take a liberty) the longstanding musical control that I have seen have been in the hands of good-witches.  Bad-witches on the other hand, canít control themselves, much less where they are heading.

When people insult you it's up to you to decide what you will do.  When people take advantage of you because you werenít aware, sure, seek justice if you wish; but donít allow it to corrupt your character and taint you.  When Pearl Jam (Given to Fly-Yield) was accused of stealing the melody from ďGoing to CaliforniaĒ by Led Zeppelin, the press went nuts as they usually do.  During the hubbub, I caught a short interview clip of Plant and Page.  They were asked what they thought of it:  Page looked at Plant.  Plant turned to the interviewer and said, ďI doubt that theyíve ever even heard of that song.Ē  He said it with a smirk.  Thereís an extreme example:  a good-good-witch. 

Plant & Pages reputation wasnít at stake (like yours or mine might be as unknowns), they know that they are a part of music history!  But they could have pursued the matter in court.  They had the American right to try and sue the pants off of them for money.  This is what I mean.  The good-witches have a community, the bad-witches donít because they are so self absorbed.  Are you a good-witch or a bad-witch?

Have you ever tried to create music with a bad-witch?  Its terrible.  Instead of being inspired, you canít even relax to think.  Theyíre too busy with hidden agendas.  Theyíre not honest.  How can a person relax enough to allow the muse to come with a bad-witch around??  You're worried about when they're going to back stab you.  Bad-witches may make music, but they donít create real magic that often.  Good luck getting something off the ground with someone like that.

This also goes for bandĖband relations.  I make it a habit to do favors when I can for the bands that I know.  Why?  Because people have done that for me.  Plus I donít really lose anything.  Wouldnít it be better to have a community that does favors?  Every musician Iíve ever had a chance to sit with, who is respectable, is a good-witch.  They donít step on other people.  They donít try to impose or force other people to their bidding.  They give people the benefit of the doubt.  They're not stupid or naÔve, but they are not vindictive when someone does them wrong.  Theyíre artists.  Performers.  They care about people.  (But many of their own bands were ruined because of a bad witch.)  Just listen to the greats talk about their inter-band relations, all youíll hear is how special that relationship is to their process.

I would never claim to be totally a good-witch or to have the authority to say what I am; but being a good-witch is something I strive for constantly.  Plain and simple, I donít want to be responsible for putting bad vibes out there.  I donít want to be remembered as a bad-witch.  People arenít stupid.  Donít allow yourself to abuse people for a minor gain.  You may gain, but you're ruining your own character.  You may gain something, but you will most likely turn the bridges that you came across.

The lack of musicianship can stop progress in its tracks.  It begins with you.  Make an effort to treat people well, and you will liberate yourself.  If you donít already, give it a test and see what Iím talking about.  Musicianship shouldnít be rare at the ground level.  Really, musicianship is just treating people as friends.  If you donít have friends, what do you have?  All Iíve seen in successful music is that itís a network of friends, not a network of people using each other.

Please write me if you would like me to elaborate on anything.  I hope that this reflection helps you toward your personal goals in music.  What you do with this is up to you.  Until next time, may the muse be with you.

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