Concentration Isn’t Popular-Thomas McGregor (Essay)

  I met Thomas McGregor a few months back and was impressed with his skill in playing the violin. I later found out that he plays other instruments as well and is equally good with them. He is a film maker, writer, entrepreneur -he is a fine example of a polymath! I approached him about an essay for this blog. I sometimes run out of fresh things to say and I am always grateful when a new voice comes around. And he answered my call. Here is his latest post which also appears in: http://tviolin.tumblr.com/

“Concentration comes out of a combination of confidence and hunger.” -Arnold Palmer

Concentration is a word that seems to be thrown around without attempting to

Thomas McGregor in full concentration.

Thomas McGregor in full concentration.

understand what it really implies. The word concentration implies that a person is able to fully focus their attention for a period of time without losing stream of thought or from becoming distracted. The word focus comes from the latin root word “foci” meaning a point at which rays (as of light, heat, or sound) converge or from which they diverge or appear to diverge;specifically : the point where the geometrical lines or their prolongations conforming to the rays diverging from or converging toward another point intersect and give rise to an image after reflection by a mirror or refraction by a lens or optical system(Merriam-Webster). This is extremely important for us to digest. The wording of this definition has the potential to enlighten us to what concentration really means. Specifically, the idea of the rays that intersect in order to give rise to an image.  As we glide through our day we have thousands if not millions of images that flood our consciousness. Most of the time these images are habitual or of no deep significance. When we truly concentrate on a central idea, the images associated with the task come together in an aligned fluid “story-like” movie in our head. This allows us to complete a thought from start to finish, regardless of how deep or lengthy the thought is. Concentration is not as depicted in most circles as this mental state of stress and frustrations towards a goal. Concentration and it’s counterpart, focus, is more like a film reel that should play in your mind as we divulge our stream of ideas on a subject – either; based on knowledge, personal experience, and/or emotion. This makes it into a game versus a struggle. Therefore, I ask the question: Why isn’t a game-like/movie-like approach to concentration popular in this age of mass entertainment? Because we are focused on the outer entertainments versus our intrinsically given inner entertainments. Returning to the moving images and inner game of contemplation and imagination will be the success of the few that take that plunge.

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Videos of Thomas

www.reverbnation.com/thomasmcgregor

http://www.thomasmcgregor.com/


Facebook http://facebook.com/Tviolin

Happy Holidays by Thomas McGregor

Shopping for a holiday album? Try Happy Holidays by violinist Thomas McGregor.

American violinist Thomas McGregor adds shine to old favorites by introducing his solo violin Christmas album. Happy Holidays is composed of 16 tracks celebrating the joy of the yuletide season. People looking for a holiday album this early should take note of this gem.

His style is upfront and robust. You hear every detail of the violin as the bow caresses each of the four strings of the instrument. My individual picks are I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas, Go Tell it to the Mountain, Jingle Bells, Little Drummer Boy, We Three Kings and Frosty the Snowman.

Depending on the volume level, the album is not intrusive. But like I mentioned above, it isn’t a shy recording. The atmosphere is electric. Each track is laced with his elegant style which he owes to his Classical training.

The album artwork looks beautiful. For someone who plays a single instrument all throughout, he makes it seem like you are listening to a full band. If you are tired of over produced pop holiday albums out there where they take the soul of the season away, this one is a great alternative.

Download here: http://thomasmcgregor.bandcamp.com/album/happy-holidays

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Thomas McGregor: The Vitamin C Artist (interview)

With this edition: Skin and Bones, Pedals by Layne Greene and awesome video by Peter Gabriel

Thomas McGregor: Stretching the meaning of positivity and verve.

Violinist, Composer, and Instructor Thomas McGregor’s Official Fanpage. Youtube: www.youtube.com/tviolin Website: www.thomasmcgregor.wordpress.com Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/thomasmcgregor

Spending 10 minutes of your time with Thomas McGregor every day can be healthy. Why? This interview clearly indicates that he is a person who likes giving a good dose of good vibes. His music knows no bounds and listening to his collaborations will show that his taste is eclectic. This guy can switch from Bluegrass, Celtic, Classical and experimental in a beat.

He is passionate in promoting his music and one can see a kind of discipline that makes legendary artists. This is the same drive that gets people somewhere and he practices what he preaches. Sphere Music is honored to make Thomas McGregor as our featured artist. Enjoy his music and know more about him through this interview.

Violinist, film maker and fitness guru. Which one is the REAL you?

That’s a good question! haha! I believe each one of us to be capable of so many things. I also believe it to be very important to embrace our interests and natural talents. Through this embracing, we can cultivate natural human expansion to the degree of inspiring many to think outside their normal paradigms.

Your music has a lot of depth, texture and atmosphere. You also love collaborating with other genres. What has been memorable for you in these musical explorations?

The most memorable experiences have been those where my mind has been shifted in one way or another. The times where me and/or my collaborator(s) have seen through different eyes via the medium of music/artistic expression. Music is an interesting entity. It seems to always be morphing; expanding and contracting. Attempting to show us all the possibilities that are presented to us through the universal creative collective.

What made you want to pursue music? What brought the realization that made you say” Hey I want to be a violinist and I want to be a recording artist”.

I’m not sure I had a time of realization of such. For me, it was just part of being who I was. As a young child I played music before I can speak. Music, in a lot of ways was my very first voice. Ultimately, I believe that realization came years after I had been playing music professionally. Mainly after some artistic maturity had happened. At this juncture, I had realized that there was so much music and talent out there, and I had to strive to become evening better, more innovative, and edgy.

What’s your groundwork for composing music? What comes first and what time of the day do you feel inspired to tinker with those strings.

Composition and improvisation are interesting. The process that one takes when composing is interesting as well. On a scientific level, we find that certain creative synapses and neurons fire in the brain that eventually [and perpetually] self generate themselves to the point of continued creativity during that time. Meaning, when we start to be creative its like a snow ball on a snowy down hill path; we have the potential to keep progressively getting more creative. This is achieved by letting parts of our mental construct disperse. By letting mental abstractions fade, leaving us to an open and clear mind, compositions seem to flow freely.

Visually, I like images to stimulate certain ideas and concepts. This may also mean the addition of images to previously conceived musical ideas. By doing this I strive to paint a picture. Even when improvising, the idea is to pain a picture for the listener. For in all actuality, music is simply vibration. And vibration is everything, in one degree or another. For everything that is moved by air vibrates. Thus, life is a series of vibrations, or universal musical expression. Therefore, composition and improvisation can perpetuate from any source. This is why I also instruct my students to be musically completely open minded. You may not like the way something sounds, but let’s find the parts you do like.

On a philosophical level, this had implications to our current societal state. If we can find our likenesses rather than our differences, the world would be a much calmer place. Ultimately, this is an extremely valuable compositional tool. For your vibrational influences can come from anywhere, if you remain open to finding the parts you like – and evening acknowledging the parts you don’t fancy.

 Your advice to young violinist who think that being a recording artist and a violinist at the same time is such a cool thing to pursue?

My advice to young artists would be to concentrate on quality and knowledge. The artist that knows his art, and the mechanics of his art is paramount. Also, I would advise looking to see how the artist art form directly relates to other aspects of life. I.E. Nature, Science, History, Other Art Forms, Fitness, etc… This is a tool that widens your thinking. Also, you may start to see how your art form directly applies and/or is influences/is influenced within those other mediums. Stay calm in this endeavor, for the applications and implications thereof will rise, presenting themselves. Also, I would conclude with acting the young artist to consider philosophical aspects of their art. Is your art spiritual? Is your art void of spirit? Is your art metaphor for something greater? Is your art connected to something greater? These questions may only be answer over a life time of artistic cultivation. This however is one of the best aspects, when participating in artistic development.

Please tell us about the musical projects that keep you busy these days, what are they and how do you plan to promote them.

Ah! I am very excited about these up and coming future projects! I am currently writing and recording with guitarist and song writer Tanner Cole Beeghly from Topeka, Kansas. We are composing tunes in the feel of groove, newage, jazz, folk feels. I have plans to do some collaborating with Lucas Croatia, from Zagreb, Croatia. This might be more folk rock/new age fusion. Also, I will be collaborating with Psychedelic American Gypsy Rock group The Venus Illuminato coming up this week. I will have video of our rehearsals together up in the coming weeks as well. All of these collaborations will be up for download on my store site: www.thomasmcgregor.ecrater.com. I am also appearing on singer-songwriter Allen Cote’s newest contribution as well. That should be out next year, if not sooner. These are all just a few of what’s in the works. There will be most more to come!
Musicians are influential artists and what they say in public can be taken seriously by fans and thus sometimes there are people who exploit their fame just because they can. What is your reaction to this and can musicians also become vessels of change for the good of the society? How?

Absolutely! Musicians and artists alike should be at the very front lines of universal change. For it is through art that we cultivate the mind, and influence each other. I believe true art to not be limited by ego. When ego becomes involved, you start to have problems with the art. As I stated before, everything is vibrations. So if you inner vibrations are off kilter from the natural progressional vibrations of life, you will see something suffer. Sometimes, the suffering happens to the (unknowing) admirers via the artist that has become to full of himself and less of his art. That is why it is universally important to continue to listen and remain open to others that are experimenting with artistic expression. This is like if you were to hit the refresh button in you mind. It keeps you aware of what is already out there, void of your influence. I’ve always said that the ultimate instructor is egoless, knowing that ego only hinders the progression of the student. Paradoxically, the admiration that comes from producing well made art is the fuel that can inspire an artist. Knowing that someone appreciates what you do is very important to the continuance of that artist spirit. For we see artist’s work continue living far after they have passed. This work has survived because people still care to keep it around for appreciation. That is probably why people say that fine art lasts the test of time. I think the longevity of art is derived mainly from what people consider art, or worthy of appreciation. In this sense, depending on the person, many different things could last the test of time.

There you have it folks! We will get to see more of him in this page in days to come so stay tuned:

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Featured Song: Skin & Bones

A pre-mastered version of ‘Skin & Bones’ taken from the forthcoming Blue Rose Code album ‘North Ten’, coming soon on Ho Hum Records.

More from this artist: http://soundcloud.com/bluerosecode

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Gadget freaks: Pedals!

This is one of the pics taken from the music gadgets of Layne Greene. I am crazy about colorful guitar stuff. According to him:

My board is slowly building… next up, hopefully a VS single tap delay, and either a POG or an organizer, probably an organizer since POGS are like $10293481294612478012847.

Visit his music pages here:

www.soundcloud.com/laynegreene

www.myspace.com/laynegreene

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Flashback Video: Peter Gabriel – Red Rain

I am also a big fan of Peter Gabriel.I think he is a great musician. Who doesn’t think so? Tell me and I will make him/her a coffin out of fairlight CMI. Kidding. I am not  a mean guy:P . Peter experimented with electronic, world and other types of music. He left a lasting legacy to many artists who followed his novel path. When I was a kid I didn’t understand why my “older brothers and sisters’ think he’s cool. Now I know.

Tuesday Sounds Fine with Echo Orange Records and More!

Plus featured videos by Thomas McGregor, a track by Canadian artist Sacha Talens and Whodoes!

http://www.echo-orange.fr/

http://soundcloud.com/echoorangerecords

https://www.facebook.com/TheEchoOrange

Echo Orange Records is an Independent label that in responsible for Management,Production, Booking, Promotion and posting updates about the artists under its umbrella. It covers a lot of genres from electro to punk infused alternative rock. So, I am sure a lot of listeners will something for them.

The company is based in Lyon France. I listened to all the tracks via soundcloud and these artists make interesting music. Please have a listen if you haven’t yet because I am sure you will find something you like. I already have. Look, most of their updates are in French and I put aside my French classes early this year which was a big mistake. I will dug up more info for you as time goes by. Here is a sample. The rest you can find from the soundcloud site. Here is a sample:

Artists under its management are the following:

The Rebels of Tijuana

Daisy Lambert

Sly Apollinaire

Fireball F.C

The Monkberry Moon Orchestra

Eldia

Benny Lackner Trio

Kajdan Rough Trio

Bernard Bruel

Dominic Miller

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Featured Channel: Whodoes Musica

Whodoes: Vasilis Chountas

 

http://www.youtube.com/user/vasilischountas

Check out this artist by the name of Vasilis Chountas. More goodies await on his channel. I haven’t heard anything progressive as his work. More of him in days to come. Please check his works.

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Featured Video: Thomas McGregor talks about composing and performing music in the modern age.

I discovered Thomas McGregor the other day and I discovered he doesn’t just have something to play but he has also something to say. This video

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Featured mp3:(Can we cancel the sun) In the Mile End by Sacha Talens

http://www.sachatalens.com/

Canadian singer/songwriter Sacha Talens is my artist if the week so expect his songs to be rotated here every now and then. This is one of his tracks that I find so good to listen to.

Inspiring Monday with Violin and Ambient

Hello readers of the page. My head is still reeling from the great interview I did with punk rocker Sacha Talens. If you haven’t read it yet, check out the previous edition and I am sure you will really get something from what he said about making your own album. This doesn’t just apply to punk music, what he says applies to all musicians who want to make it on their own. So have a read.

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Violin music by Thomas McGregor

http://www.reverbnation.com/thomasmcgregor

http://thomasmcgregor.wordpress.com/

http://www.youtube.com/tviolin

I just discovered this amazing violinist by the name of Thomas McGregor. He does eon classical music and he is from Kansas. This chap is really bringing something cool to the music scene with his attitude and well…melodic structure 🙂 Great tunes that you might want to check out. This one tune I am posting is called Ode to Farmer. It is amazing the things he can do with just one instrument. No words can describe the music. Better have a listen.

Thomas McGregor

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Greek with nature ambient by Vasilis Chountas

More music are available on:
http://soundcloud.com/whodoes
http://www.myspace.com/vasilischountas
Project : Whodoes -(Experimental looped guitar)
Album : Dolphins in the sky
Music Composed by Vasilis Chountas
Produced by Konstantinos Yiotas
Mastering : Pashalis Kolentsis
Motion Graphics : Konstantinos Kefalianos

Interesting sampler here. I was surprised when that guy was making this weird movements on the promo video like a hologram from Star Trek. But I think this music  is interesting for those who like ambient with dolphin sounds.  Whodoes is a project of Greek composer Vasilis Chountas. If you haven’t  done yet, do check out his myspace page. Really spacey  and even ethnic Greek stuff for those who want their breakfast completed in peaceful delights(with a smile). His tracks range from just calm tracks with shy notes to groovy numbers with swirling drum kits, electronic bubbles and loops. And yeah the dolphin sounds are awesome.

Vasilis Chountas