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Current Update as of March 30, 2003

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Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.

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Unintentional Music: Releasing Your Deepest Creativity
(Hampton RoadsPublisher)

Author's Name is LANE ARYE

WEBSITE: www.processworklane.com

Unintentional Music

Book Digest by Lillian Pailen
Edgar Cayce Institute for Intuitive Studies

To order this book from Amazon.com, click here!

Here is an unusual self-help book written expressly for the creatively challenged among us. Complete with practical exercises and life-affirming stories about people (musicians and non-musicians) who have overcome their creative blocks, author Lane Arye’s delivers a hands-on, approach to process work, a way of interacting and perceiving the world. Arye asks the reader to think of music or music making as a metaphor for whatever you want to create be it writing, interior design, a business presentation, or, life itself. . Looking for the potentially meaningful in the unintentional is the focus of the book and the theoretical basis of process work.

Is process work a form of psychotherapy or it is art therapy? What is unintentional music?

Grounded in Taoism and the work of C. G. Jung, process work originally evolved as a branch of psychotherapy developed by Arnold Mindell known as process-oriented psychology. Rather than ignoring or trying and get rid of things, process work with unintentional (things we don’t like) can help transform them into things of beauty. Process works connects the realms of self-discovery and creativity with the unintentional serving as the bridge between these two worlds. Thus, process work, whether viewed as psychology (self-discovery) or artful living  (creativity personified), is, metaphorically (META (transforming our) -PHORICALLY (way of being), speaking about just that.

The concept of transforming our lives by focusing on the unintentional is beautifully illustrated throughout the book in the use of metaphor as a tool for analyzing blockage problems and solutions. Arye likens process work with unintentional music to “riding the hidden wind,” “a dreaming process,” “connecting the dots,” or  “finding one’s hidden treasure.”  He also uses nature metaphors to describe the transformational power of process work. For example, musical “mistakes” such as harsh, breathy tones erupting like a volcano from a professional flutist or the recurrent “wrong” chords played by a young rock guitarists are described as  “buds opening into flowers in spring” or  “the white crests of waves, masquerading the depth and power driving them to shore.” In both instances, such mistakes became opportunities for self-discovery and clearings for creative blockages.

This book is peppered with stories about personal transformations associated with unintentional music.  Arye, a professional musician, describes how his own pathway to self-discovery lead him to help others by giving seminars on creativity by exploring what happens unintentionally in all arts forms. Working with a poplar Polish blues harmonica player, Arye helped the performer/composer discover the five year-old inside crying out for an opportunity to sounds outside of the framework of traditional jazz chords, patterns, and forms.  Allowing the child’s music to be played, the musician released both the inner critic (the perfectionist, professional musician) as well as his reliance on his musical knowledge and training. In so doing, the blues artist found a new of person expression by letting the music play itself.  In effect, his unintentional music (the child’s simplistic tunes), helped him find his own authentic blues, a style much different from any that the had ever played.

In another example, Arye worked with a highly trained professional pianist who was having trouble with certain passages in a piece he knew well. He played these sections in a jerky, awkward style. Once the problem areas were noted in the music, Arye asked the student do make the jerk even more noticeable.  As the student exaggerated these movements, he began playing wrong notes. An analysis of the music indicated that these mistakes occurred at the same point in the music- - transition points. The students played the piece intentionally emphasizing the transition points and later acknowledged that it had always been difficult for him to steer the music.  Encouraging irrational approaches to any creative endeavor takes courage, trust, and love. For this pianist, taking that first step (exaggerating the jerk), then another (letting the wrong notes play themselves) lead to a whole new way of practicing and performing.

Arye lists several strategies as effective tool for releasing one’s deepest creativity applicable to any creative venture.  At the top of the list is the importance of simply appreciating “being with” the block-  loving it, observing it with a sense of reverence and awe.  Other process work tools include: 1) noticing, and following what happens when we are creative, and in that process, maintaining an awareness of   “me”- identified as a primary process and things that are “not-me,” a secondary process; 2) recognizing, exaggerating, amplifying, or forbidding signals (the smallest manifestation of process work) and double signals (a signal that does not go along with the rest of what you are trying to sing, play, write, do, etc.); 3) paying attention to feedback from ourselves and others as our unintentional music unfolds; 4) developing a loving attitude toward criticism; and 5) changing the channel (the mode in which we experience the process – visual, auditory, verbal, body-feeling, movement, relationship, and world) so we can follow the process in the direction it is already trying to go.

Many of the more complex theories comprise the later chapters of the book.  The reader should find the chapter exercises particularly helpful in understanding and applying these principles to process work. Likening process work  to TV bloopers can takes us back to the heart and soul (and fun) of the matter.

So, what TV bloopers and process work have in common? TV bloopers, also known as out-takes, are deleted film footage typically from situation comedies in which actors forget their lines, miss cues, drop props, etc. Many viewers derive great pleasure from watching their favorite stars fall from grace.  In fact, these “mistakes” give us an opportunity to laugh with the actors as they laugh at themselves.  Process work encourages us to laugh at our mistakes, love them, live through them, co-create with them, and then release them to point us in the direction of our wholeness. Arye’s gift to us is a systematic method for finding one’s own treasure through self-discovery and creativity.

To order this book from Amazon.com, click here!

To order this book from Amazon.com, click here!

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