365 Days of Performance

Congratulations to my friends Andrew Le and Jenny Walvoord for recently having their first child, Matthew Alexander.  Both Drew and Jenny are inspiring people, and I know they’re going to be great parents.  The new baby also brings a new opportunity for Drew, though.  Actually, it’s not a new idea for him, but rather a new way to treat an old idea.

Recently, Drew just finished a photograph project that produced one photo for every day of the year.  I was amazed at the technique and creativity Drew was able to find within himself, and I anxiously awaited every new photo.  As new parents, Drew and Jenny will no doubt follow up with a similar (if not as diligent given their new duties) project.  I’m also looking forward to witnessing the development of their family over the next year, and the years to come.

Drew’s project, though, inspired me to think about other things besides photographs that could be renewed every day.  We all have our daily routines of checking email, Facebook, news, blogs, and whatever else we’ve fallen into to the habit of doing that makes us human and unique.  But if these mundane things can fascinate us and consume so much of our time, what are the other details of our life that we could repeat every day, yet still contribute to our development as professionals and interesting organisms?  Seems like blogging may be a new one for me.

However, I asked myself what it is that I love doing the most in terms of my career.  It didn’t take me long to decide that I’ve followed my particular path because I can’t stand going too long without performing music.  That’s why I play the bass, and try to find as many diverse opportunities as possible to play.  Jenine can attest to the fact that I rarely turn down gigs, even if the money is bad.  It’s because I find the act of performing gratifying in itself; maybe as a form of expression, a social platform, or the fulfillment of an unknown desire to be part organized sound which is innate to the human race.  Whatever it is, performance is my thing.

So in the spirit of Drew Le, and because my only other hobby is chess (an unparalleled waste of time), I’m going to try to perform something every day for a year.  For a musician, this usually means something organized in a concert hall, classroom, club, or other public venue.  I’m taking performance to mean the act of presenting something artistic (and preferably musical) to someone.  Since I’m sequestered in my apartment today, no doubt the first performance will be something for my wife, although I’ll probably try to make it more formal everyday if I can.  Sometimes that’s not possible, so Jenine will have to endure some of these, and to her I’m eternally sorry, but grateful for her patience.

I haven’t done enough research to know who has done this before, but who cares. My point is to do it because I enjoy it, and to get better at it.  Conceiving, preparing, organizing, and presenting are all aspects of a “performance,” and these are all things I need to improve.  There’s no motivation to get your act together like having a deadline, so from today on, I have a deadline every day. Better get working…

Thanks to Drew for the inspiration, and good luck in the next few weeks.  If anybody would like to be a guinea pig for one of my “performances,” let me know.  I’ll also try to be detailed on the blog about what I’m doing.  Today’s performance will be brought to you by the letter W for “What the hell am I going to perform today?”


  1. Very cool idea, Miles. I think you should let AWSers know you’re doing this. And you should ask Chris Thompson to Tweet parts of it.

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