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Creativity Triggers Facebook Group

POSTED ON February 19, 2017   |   Post A Comment

I created a Creativity Triggers for Musicians Facebook group to connect readers and creative musicians all over the world.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/creativitytriggers/

Of course, our most important connections are playing music together in real life. The value of a digital community is that we can:

– Connect with musicians across the globe
– Share music
– Ask and answer questions
– Find collaborators
– Share insight and resources

To create and perform great music, we need to connect with other people. Our creative practices are often stuffed into a practice room, isolating us from our peers. If we can break out of that sense of isolation, we can create more and connect with wider audiences.

– Kaley Lane Eaton, composer, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist

Download a free digital copy of my new book Creativity Triggers for Musicians. See you in the Facebook group.

– ST

 

Creativity Triggers for Musicians is Here!

POSTED ON February 03, 2017   |   Post A Comment

Download a free digital copy of my new book Creativity Triggers for Musicians.

The Big Idea

Creativity isn’t a mysterious or magical gift. It’s a practice.

The Promise

Creativity Triggers for Musicians will help you express your unused creativity, break through barriers, and create an abundance of original music.

The Content

– Eight creative practices that underpin idea generation in any creative discipline.

– Creativity Triggers: frameworks for improvisation that draw from creative practices. These are similar to improv theater games and creative writing prompts.

  1. Eight Creative Practices
  2. Creative Limitations
  3. Inner Hearing
  4. Drones
  5. Variations on a Theme
  6. Text Setting

Download the book + free bonuses.

Enjoy!
– ST

The Five Levels of Freelance Teaching

POSTED ON January 27, 2017   |   Post A Comment

I’m writing a series of articles for private music teachers on the Teach Well blog. I’m sharing everything I wish I knew when I was first starting out.

My first article shares a framework that transformed my teaching career a couple years ago. Please share with any private teachers or aspiring freelancers you know.

The Five Levels of Freelance Teaching

Creative Limitation Menus

POSTED ON January 22, 2017   |   Post A Comment

This is a preview of new book Creativity Triggers for Musicians. Reserve a free digital copy.

Practicing can be a game, the goal is a deeper knowing of musical sound. One strategy is to draw the greatest variety of music from the smallest amount of material . . . [These] games are the kind master and beginner can play with skill.

– W. A. Mathieu, The Listening Book: Discovering Your Own Music

This chapter introduces Creativity Triggers, frameworks for improvisation that draw from the eight creative practices in Chapter One. Creativity Triggers are similar to creative writing prompts and improv theater games—these exercises help us narrow our focus and generate new ideas through experimentation and play.

Menus

When my wife and I were planning our wedding, our minister could sense we didn’t have a clear vision for our ceremony. She offered us her “Chinese Takeout Menu of Wedding Ceremonies,” which listed options for openings, readings, vows, and closings. This menu was a huge relief and helped us put together a personal and meaningful ceremony.

The Creative Limitation Menus list limitations for structuring improvised pieces. The challenge is to create interesting music within a narrow set of musical restrictions. Unlike a restaurant menu, you are free to change menu items and add your own.


Creativity Trigger: Pick Two

In Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art, Stephen Nachmanovitch suggests, “two rules are more than enough. If we have a rule concerning harmony and another concerning rhythms, if we have a rule concerning mood and another concerning the use of silence, we don’t need any more. The unconscious has infinite repertoires of structure already; all it needs is a little external structure on which to crystallize.”

  • Choose two limitations from different categories.
  • Staying within these limitations, play a short improvisation (30-60 seconds) that has a clear beginning, middle, and end.
  • As W. A. Mathieu suggests, treat the limitations as a musical game.

The magic comes from experimenting with the musical elements that aren’t restricted. For instance, if your two limitations are “choose two pitches” and “slow pulse,” you can drastically alter the dynamics, rhythmic values, articulation, and tone color.

More Creativity Triggers

Three Movement Piece
Choose three sets of limitations to structure a three movement improvisation.

Themed Improvisation
Think of a person, place, emotion, object, or story to serve as the theme for an improvised piece. Choose limitations that will effectively express your theme.

Chance Piece
Choose limitations randomly.

Groove
Improvise with a drum groove from the Drumgenius mobile app. The app features 400 jazz, rock, and Latin American drum loops.

Free Play
When creative writers “free write,” they write continuously without editing, judging, or censoring. Similarly, we can “free play” music. Set a timer for 5, 10, or 20 minutes and play continuously. Record your free play because you may find material to develop in future improvisations or compositions

Extreme Interpretation
Experiment with mood, rhythm, and/or tone color limitations to play extreme interpretations of a notated piece.

Much more in Chapter Two of Creativity Triggers for Musicians. Reserve a free digital copy.

– ST

 

Reflection Questions for Improvisers

POSTED ON January 15, 2017   |   Post A Comment

Reflecting on our performances makes us stronger musicians and collaborators. You can ask and answer the following questions:

  • Immediately after playing
  • After listening to a recording
  • Letting weeks or months pass before listening to the recording

Listen and reflect with a detached and compassionate curiosity.


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Perfectionism Is a Trap

POSTED ON January 07, 2017   |   2 Comments

The trap of perfectionism keeps us from making the impact we seek.

Endless polishing and tinkering is one way we hide from emotional risk. We may tell ourselves that if our work is perfect, it will be immune from criticism. I know a jazz musician who has been working on his first album for over ten years because he wants it to be perfect. Insulating ourselves from risk feels safe in the moment, but it keeps our original contributions bottled up inside.


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Best of the Blog: 2016

POSTED ON December 31, 2016   |   Post A Comment

Before we let the door hit 2016 on its way out, I wanted to share the most popular Creative Music Blog articles from this year:

Forget 10,000 Hours of Delayed Gratification—Practice Flow

5 Types of Call and Response Phrases

Jerry Bergonzi’s Secret

More Information Isn’t the Answer

Average Is Boring

Transcribe the Music in Your Head

Quantity Leads to Quality

Find Your Calling

Who Cares if You Practice?

Ideal Music Under Perfect Conditions

Download the 10 Improvisation Games for Ensembles handout.

Hope you have a peaceful and productive new year!

Cheers,
– ST



Essential for Practice, Kryptonite for Performance

POSTED ON December 17, 2016   |   One Comment

Self-evaluation is indispensable for making progress, but constant self-criticism can sabotage our performance on stage. I’ve struggled with this for years, and performance psychologist Dr. Noa Kageyama helps us identify and take steps toward solving this nagging problem.


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Unused Creativity Doesn’t Disappear

POSTED ON December 09, 2016   |   Post A Comment

Gearing up to release my new eBook, Creativity Triggers for Musicians. Below is part of the introduction. Reserve your free copy.

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Does Too Much Shedding Dampen Creativity?

POSTED ON December 03, 2016   |   Post A Comment

Q&A article this week. If you have any questions, write me at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

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