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Flow Presentation at CWU

POSTED ON July 31, 2017   |   Post A Comment

I recently put together a presentation about the inner experience of a musical practice that’s both effective and fulfilling. This is essentially what I wish someone had sat down and outlined for me 20 years ago. I dive into the topics of mastery, drive, and flow, and incorporate some entertaining images and videos (I’ve been calling this my poor man’s TED talk).

Last week, I presented at a high school jazz camp at Central Washington University. It was inspiring to hear students talk about moments that they tapped into flow— practicing, conversations, working construction, repairing instruments. The audio/video isn’t the best quality, but you should be able to see and hear everything. (I plan on producing a higher-quality version of the talk later on.) Enjoy.

– ST

Download a free copy of my Amazon bestselling book Creativity Triggers for Musicians when you subscribe to my email newsletter.

What Should You Think About While Improvising?

POSTED ON July 20, 2017   |   One Comment
Playing what your hear? The chord changes? The melody? Listening to the band? Remembering licks you practiced? Nothing at all?

Finding the Zone

Some of the greatest improvisers describe a peak speak of non-thinking, known as being “in the zone” or a flow state. In a 2014 NPR interview, Sonny Rollins says, “When I play, what I try to do is to reach my subconscious level. I don’t want to overtly think about anything, because you can’t think and play at the same time — believe me, I’ve tried it. It goes by too fast.”

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The Dabbler, the Obsessive, the Hacker, and the Master

POSTED ON June 26, 2017   |   Post A Comment

Are you on the master’s journey, or are you dabbling, obsessing, or hacking your way through your music?

In his book Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment, George Leonard paints an inspiring picture of the masters journey. His insight helps us stay on the path in the face of the internal and external forces that can knock us off. Leonard’s discipline is the martial art Aikido, but his lessons in mastery are equally relevant to music (and any other domain).

Mastery is a path, a journey—not a destination. A commitment to the master’s journey is dedication to lifelong learning and growth.

Our progress toward mastery isn’t linear. We experience bursts of growth on our path, but the majority of our time is spent on a plateau, where we continue to practice even when we don’t see day-to-day results.


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Play Your Best Under Pressure

POSTED ON May 30, 2017   |   One Comment

Learn how to beat performance anxiety and perform your very best on stage.

This is the tagline for Dr. Noa Kageyama’s Beyond Practicing course. The class delivers on this promise and is unequivocally the most powerful music performance class I have taken. (FYI, this article is not a paid endorsement or advertisement.)

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The Trance of Measurement in Music Education

POSTED ON May 21, 2017   |   2 Comments

Our educational system often operates with the limiting belief that growth and achievement are testable and measurable. When this mindset takes hold of music education, we set a high bar for conformity and proficiency, but lose sight of artistry, expression, and courage.

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Alberto G
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Dissolve the Fear of Improvisation (Video)

POSTED ON March 27, 2017   |   Post A Comment

Fear and anxiety are the biggest roadblocks to creative music making. The good news is the right strategies can ease the most profound phobias.

“Portrait of Dizzy Gillespie” by William Gottlieb. Courtesy of The Library of Congress

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New Podcast Interview

POSTED ON March 03, 2017   |   Post A Comment
I had the pleasure of sitting down with my friend Karl Benitez and his co-host Trevor Pogue for an interview on their new podcast, Anxiety Club. These guys are really entertaining, and we discussed a host of topics:

  • The creative process
  • Why most classical musicians don’t improvise (although they used to)
  • My summer job painting fire hydrants
  • Who to take criticism from (spoiler alert: not many people)
  • Fear and leaning into discomfort
  • Earning a living as an artist
  • When to take a non-paying gig
  • Why I embrace a generous business model

(Warning, there are a few swears. And I was a bit over-caffeinated, so I was talking much faster than usual.)

Listen on SoundCloud or iTunes.

They even turned me into a couple infographics (achievement unlocked):
The sentence about quantity and quality is almost a direct quote from Adam Grant’s book Originals, so I can’t take credit.

Enjoy!

Listen on SoundCloud or iTunes.

– ST

Download a free copy of my new book, Creativity Triggers for Musicians. Join the Facebook group.

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

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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