#3 Creative Hack

I just posted a blog yesterday about goals, and striving to fail more often (Kim Liao) and working to fail faster (Michael Laskow).

Today I read this cool blog (Penelope Trunk) about the practice methology employed to prepare an 11 year old cellist for an audition at Julliard. Well worth the read.

It reminded me of this excellent youtube video I watched on practicing the playing of chords. Now, I knew that you should play through the cycle of fifths on the piano regularly even if it doesn't seem to make much difference at the time. (Cycle of 5ths is playing the scales by using the 5th note in the current key as the starting note for the next scale. So you'd play the scale in C major and then start the next one in G major (the 5th note), which adds an F# to the scale, and so on.)

But this video recommended doing additional things like playing the chords up and down the piano, so, say, the chord of C major in every octave. Then play it in first inversion. Then in second inversion. Then in C minor. Then in first inversion. Second inverson. Now move to the chord of G major. Do the same.

Even though I've been singing since I was six and taught myself to read music & play the guitar, and then had lessons of various kinds... doing that exercise showed me chord relationships I didn't know before. It opened my mind as a composer to more options in writing melody and harmony.

It brings to mind attending life drawing sessions where, to warm up, we would sketch 5 minute and 10 minute and 15 minute poses before the long pose of 30 minutes began.

Or writing sessions where we would toss out a genre and a word and set the clock for a 15 minute speed write.

Or song skirmishes where a subject is provided and we have an hour to write and record the worktape of a song.

Or the composer challenges I did last year where we would be given some assignment (write something in 7/8, write something inspired by this picture, write something using percussion only, etc) and have a time limit of 30 minutes or an hour to compose and provide an mp3 of our piece.

Penelope's blog reminds me there are many ways to practice. The key is... well... to practice ;)

#2 Creative Hack
#1 Creative Hack

wherein I set a goal to set goals (and do them)...

I'm the first one to confess I'm very good at setting goals. Very good indeed. If you were here in my studio right now you'd see the 30 or 40 pieces of paper with scribbled goals on them. (Some are even crossed off, thank you very much.) I know there were times in my life when I felt confused or caught in a trap. The only thing that seemed to help my state of mind at that moment was to sit down and make plans, even if they seemed impossible.

I did not expect in later years to find the goal setting getting in the way of achieving the goals. In that, it's much easier to think upon a goal and envision the wonderful things that you'll feel or see or hear or experience when that goal is met... than it is to actually do the things to get you there.

It reminds me of some great fiction writer who said, very wisely, don't talk about your story. Write it.

How the mind likes to play games, too. You sit down to compose that piece or get to work on writing that story or get a list of things done... and it distracts you. Suddenly the cupboard in the bathroom that you could care less about, needs organizing. Really. I used to make a pot of coffee, get myself all set up in front of my computer, get the fingers on the keyboard... and my mind would say 'that junk drawer is a mess.' Wtf?

Which brings me to the joy of the article below. I'm thinking that maybe one reason I procrastinate is that when I'm done whatever I'm doing someone else might have a look at it. Instant stop sign.

For example, I am so happy creating stuff all the time, happy as a clam, dabbing paint there, writing that story there, making up a song at midnight, nooo problemo. I'll look up words in the thesaurus and find something I like and compose a piece of music to go with that title. Easy peasy. But if you say, 'write me this and I'll pay you'... I freak out. All the creativity goes for a drive. A long one. Across country. Suddenly I'm stuck with the fact that now I have to actually meet someone's expectations and nothing is good enough, every idea is crapola, who do I think I was kidding, and so on.

Problem is, very simple, scared to fail. Scared to look like I don't know what I'm doing. Scared to have whoever it is look at me with eyebrows raised and shake their head. 'Not good enough,' those dreaded words. Rejection! *sobs*

I do like the idea that its my job to fail. It's my job to keep writing and composing and failing. And get up and write and compose and fail some more.

Of course, if I fail at that goal... 😕🤣

Aim for 100 rejections a year - https://lithub.com/why-you-should-aim-for-100-rejections-a-year/?fbclid=IwAR192r-jewsZv3xw6aGnBWgY8Q5XQuQTNY88E4B46kgN7p5qQrwrgTAnwmM

How to get better faster - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDbMylYCSIo