#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

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