new music video: below the weather & the waves by Melanie Ida Chopko

below the weather & the waves

I'm proud to share this new video, made for the NPR Tiny Desk Contest (hence the desk marooned on the beach) It's a dialogue between myself and the ocean, the centered around a Zen-ish teaching: "During difficulty, see the place that has no difficulty." I find this teaching so profound, for both my inner life and how I engage with making a more just and beautiful world. When I orient toward the "quiet constant truth," something different is possible.

(My favorite part is how the sun sets over the course of the take, the light changing from warm to cool. If you like it, please share it with your meditation friends, and leave a comment to let me know what you think!)

Special thanks to Jason Simmons, Manon Rudant and Juan-Carlos Foust and so many others for making this one with me. I'm also in the midst of making a full band arrangement of the song, gorgeous in piano, arco bass and guitar. It's just plain beautiful.

gorgeous, obscure & soft-hearted by Melanie Ida Chopko

You may be sick of hearing Jingle Bells by now, so I wanted to share with you the current musical jewelry in my mind, favorite winter and Christmas music from Sufjan Stevens, beloved friends Robinson & Rohe and of course, Charlie Brown. We've got songs instructing humanity (Midwintersong & Lo' How a Rose), reflecting on seasonal depression (Sister Winter), family christmas gone awry (finally, right?! That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!) and just plain ol' bad ass goodness (Mary Had a Baby)I think you'll love them - write back and tell me what you think!

(I can almost play that Vince Guaraldi piano piece - whoa! A Christmas/musical development miracle.)

I'm wishing you a Happy New Year and days rich with warmth and connection as we walk in the dark.

Pebbles in the Bucket by Melanie Ida Chopko

 CLICK HERE to download an empty Pebbles log for your own creative project.

I'm making a new watercolor version of this for my Institute of Sound students- (you can download one too, at my link above!) It's one of the tools I created for teaching and quickly realized it was something I had been needing all along for myself. How easily can I think the playing isn't progressing, but my log shows the facts: How I spent my week, where to keep  carving instead of traipsing around. Whether or not I actually spaced out completely (like the week of Oct 9!) My hero Austin Kleon (of Steal Like an Artist) calls them logbooks, like we're on a ship logging its progress over what seems like an undifferentiated sea of process. This summer I started a digital version of this that's shared with one of my teachers, Moorea Dickason - a fantastic way to turn up the heat a bit on following through on my goal of playing 2 hours a day, 5 days a week.