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:

“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.


Videos of Thomas


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.


Violin music by Thomas McGregor

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


Greek with nature ambient by Vasilis Chountas

More music are available on:
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

Danza de Andalucia: Asgeir Aarøen-guitar & Bjarte Mo-violin

Genre:Latin Jazz/World/Contemporary instrumental

Country: Norway

For the past few days I have put this album in my player. The optimistic spirit of the music just waltzes and tangos into my subconscious. It is great when one is visited by a musical presence that this album has evoked. Danza de Andalucia is a giant whale of a musical project that’s encased in the simplicity of the arrangement.

The first few chords off the first track Summer Flirt told me right away that everything about this album is exciting, richly melodic, atmospheric and exquisitely produced. I can’t remember making mistakes with my assumptions and once again I am right with Danza de Andalucia. This Latin flavoured album is a collaboration between guitarist Asgeir Aarøen and violinist Bjarte Mo.

Fast, slow, syncopated or not everything runs smooth as any elegant Latin sound can be. Arabian Samba feels like every instrument is bouncing sound and catching them in tight hold. The violin playing is so precise it feels like a small thread passing through a pin in a lightning speed.

Your Hands in Mine tugs your heart with feeling. When you fuse Norwegian style and Latin, you always get yourself a delicious combination of sounds and styles. It has been known that Scandinavian sadness is always beautiful. This is one example of how music can move the heart with its natural way of speaking to you through sounds. Asgeir’s guitar plucking sounds like the air is making a conversation to your soul. A glorious  plea to ‘listen to your heart and the goodness of love will show itself’. I might be over dramatizing but this is what music does to me.  The pizzicato, percussion and rhythm are mesmerizing.

Night in Netanya sounds like a melody of a cha-cha I heard in childhood. It has that nostalgic appeal. Here, the music is like a coy lover beckoning you to dance the night through. Wine, roses, incense and the stars above. I would not be surprised if someone out there is waxing poetry pining at the moon with this amazing track.

Walkabout reminds me of walking on beaches. The guitar and violin duet is astounding. These guys are so fast yet so smooth.

On the Beach fills the mind with the smell of barbecue, fruit drinks, warm sand against the body and the splash of cool sea water. This track as delicious as the images it projects. Too brief though. I would have wanted this to be longer.

The title track, Andalucian Dance has a laid back and introspective introduction. It almost has that Celtic quality. Here, Bjarte’s violin drifts like thick smoke into the warm air of sunset. The track progresses into a sort of down tempo run. The violin jumps out of nowhere and you find yourself in a festive mood again.

Tango as the title suggests is fast, vigorous and exciting. All smiles.

Memories of Enerhaug is spare and rooted on nuance. This is one relaxing track to listen to when you are chilling out after a hard day’s work.

I used to listen to a lot of Andean music in the early 90’s when world music started making a global explosion. Cry of the Andes takes me back to that era. The guitar plucks remind me of driving home with windows open to let the evening breeze in. It is a type of music that sets the spirit free.

Towards Midnight emphasizes the hand claps in the middle of the track. Very atmospheric and perfect acoustic track with the Gypsy spirit.

Stroll along the River takes us into a breather. After the energetic tempo of the previous track, this one slows us down for a rest. The reflective melody takes into mind the beauty of nature. The violin cries with glee. The string parts create an atmospheric cloak. This is one track that is emotive yet bordering on the ethereal.

Summer Song is a perfect track for the season. It is like a healing water that flows from the river of melody. The vocals of Aina Schold is lush with silky edges. She sings in Norwegian which I find beautiful to hear.

Danza de Andalucia is an album that will satisfy your musical cravings for something jazzy, Latin and melodic. I think Asgeir & Mo should make a follow-up to this project. Our ears want more!

Buy this album on Amazon.

Private Eyes by Brian FITZY Fitzgerald


Now for something totally smooth and fun…

Here is a cover of a Hall & Oates classic. You can see here that singer/songwriter/multi- instrumentalist Brian FITZY Fitzgerald does everything-even the backing vocals! I think he is the most hardworking and most talented independent musician of this decade. All of his songs are amazing too! Check him out and subscribe to his updates. It is time to give REAL musicians the break they deserve.