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.
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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.
Download a free digital copy of my new book Creativity Triggers for Musicians.
Creativity isn’t a mysterious or magical gift. It’s a practice.
Creativity Triggers for Musicians will help you express your unused creativity, break through barriers, and create an abundance of original music.
– 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.
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.
Gearing up to release my new eBook, Creativity Triggers for Musicians. Below is part of the introduction. Reserve your free copy.
I know many musicians struggle with a common problem—they have a vision of where they want to go, motivation to practice today, but don’t know how to bridge the chasm.
To follow up on my article, Forget 10,000 Hours of Delayed Gratification—Practice Flow, I want to share insight into the high-flow practices of two my favorite musicians.
Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.
– Sister Corita Kent and John Cage, “Ten Rules for Teachers and Students”
This is challenging practice because as artists, we are constantly assessing and judging our work.