Letting go of “Good” and “Bad” in the Sonic Sandbox

There are many different qualities of sound in music from around the world. If you survey music from cultures around the world, it seems to me that it makes sense to conclude that what qualities we think are “good” are a matter of personal taste. Personal taste can easily be informed by the taste of those around us. But we can also just like what we like, ignoring the influence of others.

In the Sonic Sandbox, I hope people will be able to reinvent themselves, by dispensing with the notions of what are “good” or “bad” sounds. I want people to start without assumptions about what “music” is. People often judge themselves on their ability to make “beautiful” sounds, and if they get the idea that they aren’t capable of making nice sounds, they won’t even try to make sounds at all. They’ll say, “I can’t sing.” “I can’t play.” “I’m not musical.”

If people dispense with their preconceived ideas of what music is, they can feel comfortable making any sound at all. If they feel that level of comfort, they are more likely to put their hearts into making that sound, which makes it into an act of communication. Then, when they listen to each other and copy each other, they will feel supported and validated in their sound — which is something I find essential in my favorite moments.

If people listen to each other and copy each others sounds, and feel validated and supported, they may start to feel confident in their sound, and make it stronger. This will make their sounds more authentic and more completely themselves, and that leads to more powerful interactions and — dare I say it — more meaningful music.

For me, music is not about beautiful sounds. It is about beautiful communication. And by beautiful, I mean authentic — full; complete; not holding back. It is an expression of a person as they are and as they want to be. They do not hold back, but are completely themselves. They only hold back when they are giving space to others so those others can be authentically themselves. But whether being themselves or supporting others, they do it fully, without reservation.

I think it is possible to tell when people are making sounds this way because of how they look. The smiles on their faces are genuine. They don’t hold back. They don’t judge themselves or each other. They fully accept whatever they hear.

It is possible to be objective about sound. It is possible to quantitatively measure the quality of tone. You can look at the wave form and describe the frequency and the overtones and any other aspect of the waveform you think is relevant. But none of that will tell you how good or bad the tone is. You might say it is in tune or that the pitches are different. But different people enjoy different sounds. Some enjoy things being in tune. Some enjoy things being slightly out of tune. Some enjoy it when we go back and forth between being in tune and hearing the “beats” that indicate being at slightly different pitches.

What you can’t objectively measure is who is right. Each person has their own taste. Can you say that someone’s taste is wrong? All you can say is that it is something shared between a lot of people or shared by a few people. Does the number of people who like something make it objectively right? I don’t think so. I think taste is subjective, and it doesn’t matter whether everyone likes something or you’re the only one who likes something. If you like it, that’s good enough for me — even if I never want to hear what you like.

Liking sounds and getting people to like the sounds you like is not about music. It is about power. It is a way we influence each other. When we get people to like what we like, we gain status. That’s a completely different issue from whether a sound is enjoyable to someone or not.

Most aesthetic issues are about power. People try to persuade each other there is something objectively better about one thing compared to another, but it’s really about power, and about whether you can persuade someone to go along with you or not.

I don’t want people trying to persuade me to go along with them. I also don’t want to depend on my ability to persuade others to agree with me in order to feel like my life is a success. I’d rather just have fun, playing around with others. For me, that means letting go of judgment and letting go of notions of good and bad in music or in any other art form. All that matters to me is what I like. And what I like is fun. And I have more fun when people stop judging than when they come up with some standard (which is always arbitrary) and measure everything else according to how well it matches their standard.

My standard is fun. Fun depends on people being generous and being giving and being loving of differences. That’s what I want out of life. More fun!

What do you want from your life?

Sonic Sandbox at Philly Maker Faire October 6, 2019

On Sunday, October 6th, we’ll be presenting a Sonic Sandbox music improvisation workshop at 11 am and the Sonic Sandbox Band will be performing at 3 PM at the Philly Maker Faire.

 

 

Maker Faire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. From engineers to artists to scientists to crafters, Maker Faire is a venue for these “makers” to show hobbies, experiments, projects.

We call it the Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth – a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness.

Glimpse the future and get inspired!

Sonic Sandbox is a process for releasing pent-up creativity.

Sonic Sandbox uses music to demonstrate techniques that can be applied in any form of collaboration.

We follow two simple rules:

  1. Make any sound you want
  2. Copy the sounds you like

These techniques make all kinds of collaborations work a lot better! Sonic Sandbox is for:

  • musicians who want to create new music;
  • any social group that wants to cooperate more effectively;
  • students who want to collaborate on projects;
  • businesses who want to leverage the creativity within the organization;

and don’t forget, it’s also for fun!

What Kind of Music Does Sonic Sandbox Do?

I’ve been doing Sonic Sandbox for a few years now, developing improvisational games that result in music I don’t know how to categorize. I guess “experimental” fits. But our music is related to jazz, world, meditation, and probably a whole lot of other things, too. Here’s something we recorded this past week: Sparx.

Roses in June

Sparky roses in my back yard

Sparx is interesting because it was short, and we don’t often do short. Most of our pieces come in around fifteen minutes or so. What we do is as much about the interaction between us, or is a way of holding conversations as much as it is about music. I don’t know if it would be interesting to anyone who wasn’t a part of it, but I do invite people — whoever is around at the time — to join in. If the spirit moves me.

Since we have horns and traditional (non-electronic) instruments, our improvisations often seem more melodic than a lot of electronic free improvisation I’ve heard, which, like the piece you linked to, are more about texture, and probably, though one can’t see it when there’s no video, about the interaction between the musicians.

Then again, who knows? Do you close your eyes when you play and just listen, or do you use eye contact. In Sparx, Hugh Wattles (the sax player) and I, were using eye contact and body language to decide when to come in together. We’d look at each other, and then lean in with our upper bodies to decide on the attack. We were about a foot away from each other.

Ralph Posmontier (Dunbek) was sitting three feet away to my left, and Steve Beuret (analog synth) was sitting at the point of the diamond formation opposite me. I’d give them the eye, or maybe I pointed at them, so they knew when to fill. It was spontaneous, but I directed it a little bit.

I considered cutting Hugh’s opening riff and then the laughter that followed, but decided they set the scene, and were a part of the piece, so I left them in the recording. The name came to me as I was editing. I don’t think too hard about names. Whatever comes to mind gets slapped on the tune. Then, I thought of the flowers in my back yard, which seemed to be the closest thing to hand that might fit the image of sparks, and went out and took a picture.

After we ended that piece, which was probably the shortest piece we’ve ever done, we laughed, and I said, “That was short.” I’ve been working on endings with my musicians, and trying for us to get an intuitive sense of them. It was interesting that my violin player (Ken “Bob” Parker) wasn’t there that night. I call him “Bobby last note,” because he often doesn’t want to end things when the rest of us have stopped.

I think, for him, and I’m just projecting here, that he never wants the music to end. He wants to go on and on because he loves the feeling of being in the music and in the interaction. I like thinking about endings because I am mindful of audiences and how they participate. I know they want to applaud and be a part of the sound, and endings give them a chance to do that. It also gives them a break from the concentration, which might be a bit much for them, trained as they are by commercial music for songs to be two to three minutes long.

On the other hand, I just went to a concert with a couple of musicians improvising and they did one piece that came in at around thirty minutes. It was very textural. But I could tell when they were coming to an end because I listen for that kind of thing.

I spoke to the leader — and yes, it was also clear that there was a leader, although I would expect that they would find that idea anathema — afterwards, and her comment was, “I’m a little disappointed you could tell the end was coming.”

I understand that impulse, and I could see that her partner was tempted to go on, but then gave in to the ending. The leader said she was tired and ready for the end. She had been pounding on the piano for three or four minutes at that point, after doing a lot of physical exertion on microphones and electronics and symbols and such throughout, so she was done, and I think her partner, who was thinner and wirier and maybe had more stamina, took pity and let it end then. But I can imagine that at other times, perhaps when they are just rehearsing, the partner doesn’t let things end because she’s like my “Bobby Last Note,” and doesn’t want things to stop.

Anyway, this concert made me feel like maybe I don’t have to think so much about endings and make things short for audiences. I want us to have that skill, but the more interesting music happens when we do go on longer. That asks a lot more from audiences, which, as you say, are sparse, though in Philadelphia they are probably less sparse than in Scotland.

But for us, the musicians, who are in this as much for meditation and changing our state of consciousness as we are in it for the sounds, going on for longer is really beneficial. If you want to hear other examples of what we do, listen to these: Sonic Sandbox

Picture of people choosing musical instruments

Tibetan Mind Training in the Sandbox

I have met many of you at Shambhala meditation center, where I have been doing mind training at Monday Night Sangha. I’ve noticed a lot of connections between the Lojong (the Tibetan word for mind training) and the work I’ve been doing with Sonic Sandbox. I thought I’d share my thoughts about Monday’s Lojong slogan.

The most recent slogan at Monday Night Sangha (MNS) was “Be grateful to everyone.” This slogan is about acceptance. The gratefulness is for what we can learn from the impact another person’s actions has on us. I am reminded that we can only control our own actions. What we do has an impact on others, but we can’t control that impact in the same way we can control ourselves. We can influence others, but that’s not the same as control.

“Be grateful to everyone” is an attitude the Lojong suggests as a strategy for interactions with others. I think the main question is that since we have no control over others, what is the most useful way to interact with them? If we try to control them, we will inevitably have less of an influence than we want, and this can easily feel like failure. We’ll feel bad about ourselves. We’ll take responsibility for things that are outside our control. We’ll blame ourselves for not being good enough.

Does it help us to feel bad about ourselves? Does it help to feel ineffective? Like a failure?

On the other hand, if we acknowledge we have no control, and instead treat the actions of others as a force of nature — a kind of structure or boundary within our lives that we cannot violate, then we could cultivate another attitude. We could even be grateful. Grateful for what, though? Grateful for what this structure in our lives can teach us.

Do we seek to control gravity? Maybe, but if we do, we will fail. Should we feel bad about failing? Or can we learn from the experience? If we are grateful to gravity, then it is easier to learn about gravity and how it is an immutable force affecting our lives. We can’t do anything about gravity except learn to live with it the way it affects us. In doing so, we learn about gravity, and how it affects us and other things. We learn about the air and water and solid matter, all of which are attracted towards other masses by the force we call gravity. We can use this knowledge to make it possible to pursue our own agendas.

The same attitude can be cultivated towards other people. Other people are like forces of nature. They are themselves. They do what they do. We can be grateful to them, and learn to live with how their actions affect us. If we learn from each person, we can use this knowledge to make it possible to pursue our own agendas. If we keep on trying to deny other people and trying to make them into something other than what they are, it is the same as trying to turn gravity into something other than what it is. As we all know, that doesn’t work. That is like banging our heads against the wall and expecting the wall not to resist and not to hurt when we hit our heads against it. But if we accept the wall and are grateful to it, and accept our heads and skulls and nerves and are grateful to them, we may decide there’s little point in banging our heads against the wall.

So if we accept other people as they are, according to their established patterns of activity, we can learn from that. If we are grateful for what we learn, we will be better able to interact with them in ways that move us towards our own goals. We won’t try to change them. We’ll work with them, instead, using their patterns of behavior as best we can to help us, instead of trying to change their patterns, which, we know, will probably make them resist us.

In the Sonic Sandbox, we use sound and acceptance of what is in order to demonstrate this principle. Instead of trying to change people, by, say, judging them, and telling them the sound they are making is wrong or ineffective or not pretty, we simply accept whatever sounds they make. If we accept all sounds, then how can we pursue our own agendas? We are not in control. We can’t make anyone create a different sound than the one they are making. So how can we influence what is happening?

One way to influence what is happening is to be grateful for the sounds that others are making. How can we show our gratefulness? One way is to copy that sound. What happens when we copy the sound of someone else? When I ask people to reflect on the experience of being in the Sonic Sandbox, most people report feeling supported when other people copy them. They feel like leaders. They feel liked. Appreciated. Like others are grateful to them. This gives them a flush of pleasure and validation. And then what?

Being validated seems to encourage people to validate others. They get copied, and then they copy others, in return. The Sonic Sandbox can set up a positive feedback loop where people take turns supporting each other — being grateful to each other. What happens to the sounds people make when we are interested in each other and then show our gratefulness for what they do by copying them? Sounds converge. New things happen. A rhythm starts happening. A harmony happens. A sound texture happens. Maybe a melody happens. Sometimes everyone converges on the same thing. Sometimes different groups of people form, some doing a rhythm, others a harmony, and others a melody. Sometimes one person is off on their own while everyone else keeps a rhythm going. What happens? Music happens!

 

Sonic Sandbox is a live, interactive demonstration of many of the mind training ideas presented in the Lojong. Sonic Sandbox is also a fun, freeing experience where people can just be themselves without worry of judgment, and take joy in connecting sonically with others.

Tonglen (Sending and Taking) in the Sonic Sandbox

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of Lojong or “mind training” there is a special form of meditation called Tonglen, which is a practice of thinking of sending and taking. On the outbreath, you imagine sending the things you want in the world out into the world. The things to think about add benefit to the world, so they probably include compassion, love, gentleness, getting what you need to live, and so on. On the inbreath, you take away the things in the world that you don’t want to be there; things like pain, pollution, isolation, unmet need and so on.

In the Sonic Sandbox, the basic improvisation exercise (also called toning) is a practical demonstration of the experience of dynamic (or interactive) sending and taking. We all take a breath together and initiate our own sound together. This sound is an expression of our feelings in the moment. It can be made either with or without intention or much thought. It really doesn’t matter what the sound is. All that really matters is that everyone contributes. Each person’s sound is a gift to the group, without which, music cannot happen.

I ask that people hold their sound for the length of one breath. I also ask that they listen to their sound in combination with all the other sounds, just letting them be, without needing to judge the sounds, instead noticing what happens when all the sounds coexist, and if they like, noticing interactions that interest them.

We do this two times for the length of one breath. Then, the third time, I ask people to keep making sounds, which means they have to continue to take breaths in order to be able to make sounds. I also ask them to start copying the sounds that interest them, and to move back and forth between making their own sound and copying the sounds that interest them. I ask them to do this on their own time, following their own impulse to either offer sound or copy sound. We need make no attempt to consciously or deliberately try to coordinate ourselves. If we just follow our impulses, that coordination seems to start to happening without effort.

Making sounds is sending. Copying is sending. When we breathe in, we are taking — offering a cessation of sound production (which also makes a small sound that can be heard if everyone is doing the same thing). The taking is the preparation for the sending. But the sending can be something primarily from our own impulse, or it can be something primarily taken from another’s impulse (copying).

The copying is often experienced as support by those who are copied. By switching between sound initiation and copying each of the others who make sounds, we can create a group where everyone feels like they are a part of the group and are being supported by everyone else. By doing so without a plan to do so, the support feels fortuitous, which is different that if we deliberately take turns copying everyone else, one after the other. However, whether we plan the support or it happens fortuitously, being a leader supported by other people’s copying often gives people confidence in their sounds and that makes them more willing to both lead and follow, solo and support, all of which add interesting changes when improvising music.

Meditation is typically practiced with a primary focus on one’s own experience, even if we are meditating in a room full of other meditators. When we add sound, we create another form of collective meditation, where we can observe the impact of our actions on others. We can observe all kinds of different ways of interacting with others.

In most social interactions, people take a lot of care to make sure they do not harm others with their behavior, and the Sonic Sandbox is no different. However, when making music from nothing, where we have no instructions about what kind of sounds we should make, people often crave instruction. We want to fit in. But how do we fit in when we don’t know what we are doing? How do we fit in when we have no prior agreement about how we are going to fit together?

Traditionally, most social groups have a history, and it is a settled issue of who will lead and who will follow. But in the Sonic Sandbox, we have no prior agreement — except that the facilitator will provide a signal (a breath) that indicates we are to start. Other than that, the facilitator is no different from any other member of the group. In a group where everyone is pretty much equal (other than the agreement about who will start the effort), we have to quickly solve the problem of leading and following, giving and taking, if we want to connect with others and build trust with them and create a sense of cohesion of the group.

Sonic Sandbox is a dynamic experiment in the solution of that problem that is based on the principle that everyone can lead and everyone can follow and be supportive and that all roles are equally important and that everyone is equally capable of filling any role at any time. All we need to do is figure out, for each moment, who is playing what role. The amazing thing is that if we all listen, and we all have faith that the process will be equally supportive for all of us, we quickly find ourselves making amazing sounds that can, indeed, be labeled as “music,” should we choose to do so. Of course, by that time, we’re having so much fun, it really doesn’t matter what label we apply to our efforts.

Once people learn that the process is trustworthy, it stops being necessary to agree that someone should play the role of the facilitator. All that is required is that we agree we get together for the purpose of sonic giving and taking. As soon as we get together, people are aware that the process depends on listening and copying, and so they start doing so, even without instruction or permission. It becomes the process of the group and people move into awareness of and implementation of actions consonant with these rules at the agreed on time and place.

The consequences of playing by these rules include fun, but aren’t limited to fun. Some of the consequences have an effect on the way we think. I can’t describe these changes at this point. I know they’re there, but I’m not exactly sure what they are. However, one impact this work has on me is that I feel a sense of connection to others that feels very close and is quite surprising compared to the way I feel most of the rest of the time.

The toning exercise seems to create invisible and satisfying bonds between people. These are not restrictive bonds, but welcome bonds. I think they are welcome because we know if they start to seem restrictive, we can easily introduce some new sound and that will quickly change what is going on. Others will copy and the music will change and it will always be a collective reflection of what is going on individually for each person. No one will ever be stifled and no one will ever be dominant for very long, and this is the closest we can get to collective self actuation.

I love this process and I love playing with people this way — and then, my mind often takes another step, and I wonder what it would be like if this way of interacting with others could be incorporated in other ways that humans organize themselves. What if these principles of dynamic leadership and supportership were applied in other kinds of organizations, such as community groups or corporations? Could these principles help organizations of people become more adept at reaching their goals? Could these principle ameliorate some of the more dehumanizing aspects of corporations and other organizations? Could they make relationships more satisfying in any group of people, no matter what its purpose — whether organizations of people who are blood relations or organization brought together around projects or for social purposes?

Let me know what you think. Let me know if you would like to try these techniques. At this point, I would be happy to go anywhere and work with any group to see how this form of play affects trust, connection, creativity, problem solving and cohesiveness within that group.

Sonic Sandbox topics I want to think and write about

There are a number of topics I want to write about related to Sonic Sandbox. Some of what I want to write about is about how Sonic Sandbox works. Some pieces will be about the theory behind the exercises/games I use. Some will cover my long terms plans. Some will lament (maybe even whinge) about my struggles in building Sonic Sandbox. Some will describe and reflect on my personal experiences. I’m using this post to provide an outline for topics I want to write about in the future within each of these subject headings. I will return to this post from time to time to update it as I think of new ideas or as I write some of the pieces, so I can add links.

How Sonic Sandbox works

  • The exercises
    • Meditation
    • Making sounds together without judging (toning)
    • Sustained sound with change through copying
    • Laughter “meditation”
    • Moving with our music
    • Sound mirroring
    • Sound infection
    • Name game
    • Drum circle
    • Call and response
    • Sound conversation
    • Life opera
  • Theoretical issues
    • What happens in our brains: the different ways we think
    • Characteristics of the sensate and conscious minds (feeling self and thinking self)
    • How sound creates connection
    • Consequences of connection
    • Authenticity or “speaking” from one’s feeling self
    • Eyes closed or open
    • The role of movement
    • Interaction types: group, dyad, solo
    • Rhythm, harmony, melody
    • How to teach listening
    • How to teach people to support each other
    • How to create safety
    • How the experience can be used in psychological recovery
    • How the experience can be used as a model for relationships in other areas of life
    • Supporting people to be safely transparent in as many aspects of life as possible — eliminating self-destructive shame/reducing the need for secrets/increasing tolerance for variation in human behavior
    • The survival value of cooperation, the need to appear to be someone others can cooperate with, and the consequences of diverging too far from your true self in order to appear to be someone others can cooperate with (homo-cooperability vs hetero-cooperability)
    • How Sonic Sandbox widens the range of hetero-cooperability through example and experience and how to create a wider range of hetero-cooperability in other aspects of life
  • Plans
    • Building a sustainable workshop
    • Expanding workshops to other areas
      • Using the workshop for team building in formal organizations
      • Teaching youngsters alternative ways to relate to each other
      • Giving music therapists additional tools
      • Rituals for community building
      • Aiding community problem solving
      • Personal growth
      • A mechanism useful for changing habits of thought and creating psychological wellness
    • The Sonic Sandbox Institute
    • Integration into life in many kinds of institutions and across cultures
  • Struggles
    • Marketing, oh marketing
    • I HATE Facebook (and don’t get me started about Twitter)
    • Doubting my business skills and my energy and focus
    • Finding allies and helpers
  • My musical experiences
    • Peak moments
    • Reflections on the last workshop (what it was like; what I learned)
    • Sonic Sandbox at conferences
    • The original testing ground Sonic Sandbox “Band” experiences
    • Me and my trumpet
    • Improvisation in the wild (typewriter story)
    • Music, mental dysfunction, and recovery

And…. we’re off!

DSC_7097My first official Sonic Sandbox Workshop is behind me. I rented space. I advertised. Hung up flyers. Got totally frustrated with the idiocy they call Facebook. Used my email lists. Tried to contact everybody I know, and even paid for some Facebook outreach. When they talk about targeted marketing on Facebook, I now know what they mean, because I tried to target my outreach.

We had a great time at the West Philly Suzuki Piano Studio. It’s a wonderful space. My son took some pictures and a video which I hope to post soon. Sometimes, even though I really believe in Sonic Sandbox, I’m amazed at how well it works. I look around at the group, and see the smiles on people’s faces and see how much they are into it and how free they are, and then I check in with myself, and even I’m not worrying about how things are going or whether I need to tweak something here or there, and I start relaxing and letting myself go, just like I created this for. I stop being facilitator; stop feeling like I’m always watchful, and trust the process and let myself go, because it’s working! You can sign up for it here.

I was hoping and predicting that, based on the response to my initial marketing, I’d have five to eight people there, but there were three. That means I still have lots of marketing to do. It’s not my favorite thing because of the struggles managing lists and of course, dealing with Facebook. Can anyone explain how Facebook managed to take over the world with such a non-intuitive, crappy interface? It is the very definition of kludge. You can barely say it works, and yet, it has taken over the world. One can only hope that the competitors in China or India or elsewhere will manage to establish roots in the US and show Facebook how things really should be.

The amazing thing is that with four of us, the energy was incredible! We did a kind of debriefing afterwards, because I wanted to know what people thought about both the workshop and my outreach, and the folks there were really helpful. Honestly, I don’t really remember what people said about the workshop itself, but my impression was that it really matters what I say to set up people’s expectations. When I say that we are here to support each other to freely express ourselves, people believe me and actually take that to be true — simply because that’s what we really want to do. Who wants to live constantly worrying about whether what they do is acceptable?

I think some people might fear that if we all just let loose, it’ll be chaos. The thing is, Sonic Sandbox isn’t chaos because of the emphasis on listening and copying. There’s space both to let loose and be all in with your energy, but also to be supportive and create a strong foundation for others to let loose. If we take turns, and share in the responsibility for caring for everyone else, what happens is not chaos. It’s beautiful, but with an authentic energy I haven’t really heard anywhere else.

The feedback I got about marketing was that the thirty-something generation is more of a “drop-in” generation. In uncertain times, it’s hard to make a commitment to ten sessions, knowing that you’ll probably not be able to make it sometimes. As a result, I think I’m going to open my sessions up to drop-ins.

I really want people to come regularly because in my experience, when we work with the same people again and again, and we practice regularly, we get to know each other better (which is mostly the point of these workshops) and we can take more risks and express ourselves ever more deeply. When people take risks, the music gets more and more incredible! When we know each other better, we can start to predict what others are going to do, and that anticipation means we are more in tune with the energy of the moment and everyone latches on to a new direction that the music takes more quickly and more powerfully.

Still, even without knowing each other, the workshop works well. I’ve taken it to several conferences now, including one international conference, and while my groups seem small to me (fifteen people at best), the energy people experience and the high they get from the work/play seems really deep.  I’m almost afraid to have a big group because I don’t know if it could be the  same — I’d have to learn how to break it into smaller groups, I think. But still, that would be a wonderful problem to have.

So I need help. I need help reaching out to more people in Philadelphia. I need help figuring out how to price the workshops in a way that makes it easier for people to participate, but also encourages people to make it a practice. Obviously, if I have people coming regularly, it generates more income for me, but I truly believe that practice is also going to make the impact these workshops have on individuals much stronger.

One suggestion at the confab after the workshop was that I could charge a regular individual workshop price (which is currently $25) and then offer people discounts if they are willing to pay in advance.

In any case, one person signed up for the ten sessions, and one person gave a donation, which covers my space rental for the month. I still have expenses related to marketing and instrument purchases that will take more income to cover. I share this because I want people to know where I’m at, financially. I also have expenses related to the conference attendance. So far, I’ve been able to get funding to cover my attendance at these conferences. I had thought that maybe they pay for presenters, but it turns out that’s not the case, but I feel like breaking even is a decent goal for me at the moment, since I do love this work.

In the works is a letter of inquiry for a grant proposal where this Foundation that is interested in supporting community-building arts work would do a documentary about Sonic Sandbox. If I get that, then people who participate would have a chance to have their participation filmed. I’m sure that for some that would be a great inducement to participate, although others might find that a bit scary. Ideally, I want to be able to find ways to help everyone be comfortable, and I hope I will always be open to suggestions to make the experience better and to meet people’s individual needs. That doesn’t mean I can succeed at all that, but I want to be open to feedback, and I think I will be, as long as it follows the Sonic Sandbox guidelines in terms of being supportive.

That’s a lot more news that I was expecting to impart when I sat down to write this. One more thing on my schedule is the iNAPS conference in Phoenix on October 16-18th. I’ll be doing a workshop there on the 16th, in case anyone will be there, too.