New Blog Entries and Articles of Interest

Some interesting thoughts on dealing with stress

The importance of “do or do not, there is no try”, the wisdom of Yoda.

Read up on reinvention, a major part of the 21st century conversation on success.

Be inspired to be creatively expressive.

Get some inspiration about practicing at a new cello blog.

Read about new national standards in music.

Push your limits here

And read about possibility here.

Read about smart women entrepreneurs.

Tap into creative friction.

Read about music and fitness here.

Read about Alexander Technique helping back pain.

Get inspired by an innovative student entrepreneur here.

Get some ideas about shaking up conferences here.

In an improvisation rut, go here for some ideas.

Read the latest from Scotland’s El Sistema program.

Help Wisconsin fight Arts Cuts.

Write a letter to your congressperson to fight Arts Cuts.

Websites of Interest

Learn about the Fourth Sector of Business.

An informative website on horn matters.

Robert Dick in the Real Flutist Project.

Yoga videos for musicians here.

The Art-Career Tango

March 25, 2011

Dear Readers,

If you haven’t discovered Gerald Klickstein’s blog and website (companions to his marvelous book, The Musician’s Way) please go right now to sift through his wonderful blog entries on a variety of topics, and also visit his website which has a plethora of resources of interest to all musicians.  His website and blog are both listed on our blogroll.

His latest post, the Art-Career Tango,  is worth mentioning here since readers to the IPAP blog will find it of interest, but also because it is a great post that discusses the not so easy balance between our artistic-side and entrepreneur-side. I think some of it may come from how we are trained — with the focus usually being on the artistic side of ourselves as musicians. We must as musicians train and build our skills to the highest level, but this is not enough. Training programs must consider that more musicians are carving their own ways these days, searching for more meaning and different opportunities as musicians…and with this comes a need for developing our entrepreneur-side as equally as our artistic-side.

I love the tango reference!

http://musiciansway.com/blog/?p=3249&cpage=1#comment-2773

Perhaps like me, you are constantly working to clear — your physical space, your head, your email inbox, your to-do list — so that you have an uncluttered springboard from which to leap creatively forward. I call it trying to get current. It’s hard to invent something new when you feel cluttered with unfinished business. It’s hard to drive if you haven’t scraped that ice off your windshield.

But while snow is less likely now here in the Chicago springtime, the digital distractions (or are they now requirements?) still beckon and I find myself creating less while engaging in the sisyphean pursuit of always trying to get current. Are you too waiting for your to-do list to be handled before you finally move forward with the things you’ve been wanting to do? What to do if you want to be a creator and not just a clearing-upper? Time magazine humorist Joel Stein recently captured this dilemma well, as he examined the great 21st century contributor to our never-can-clear state — the digital mess — in a column called the Mess Manifesto:

In the past few years I’ve become a compulsive organizer…I have been sucked into hours of deleting pictures on iPhoto, then organizing the rest into little titled folders…I’ve lost days fiddling with the bottom of my Netflix queue, which is the section that should be labeled ‘movies I will never see.’ I could have read a Tolstoy novel in the time I’ve spent managing my songs on iTunes, putting old e-mails into folders, watching TV shows I don’t really care about just to get them off my DVR and moving the downloaded Tolstoy novel from my computer to my iPhone and then to my iPad. We are all OCD now. We do these things not just because digital filing gives us the satisfaction of cleaning without the unpleasant feeling of getting up from our chairs. It’s because we’re constantly confronting the onslaught of information, and our brains are trying to make patterns out of the randomness.

In order to create something new, we need to move out of our OCD state and clear the mental decks in some way. In the classic creative process model, new insight (the “Aha!”) is preceded by a period “preparation” and “incubation”–we need to first prepare our mind for a new solution and then let it stew for a bit before an answer will appear. But I’m not sure we do good stewing when our minds are so overloaded. It’s usually during an incubation period of uncluttering — the most common being in the shower or while driving — that a great insight comes to us.

In more psychological and spiritual circles, the process of change leading to authentic creativity might be said to follow this process: 1. Clearing, during which you cast out blocks and worries that are keeping you stuck, 2. Connecting, during which you get in touch more deeply with your genuine wishes, desires and passion, and 3. Creating, during which you activate those desires in a form of expression.

Okay. But that doesn’t help if we get stuck in the constantly clearing mode, does it? Stein, though, does offer us a possible solution. The subtitle for his column: “Why we need to stop worrying and learn to love digital disorder.”

We need a digital Zoloft, something that will force us to allow messiness into our digital lives…We need an app — I’m calling it 1-Year-Old Boy — that grabs stuff out of our folders and throws it around, possibly while laughing, possibly while pooping, probably both. It will hide a few episodes of 30 Rock from us when we have more than five to watch, and it will hide them in its mouth. And it will remind us that anarchy is the best way to actually enjoy things: it’s the newness of watching a movie we didn’t know about, of hearing a song we didn’t set up on a mix, of seeing a cat do something stupid right in front of us instead of on YouTube.

Ahh. I think there is something here — more than just tongue in cheek. Let me leave you with some questions: Can you find a way to clear your mind despite the messiness, despite the unfiled emails and unfinished business? Can you accept the clutter in such a way so that it can be ignored at certain times and you can feel clear and able to move on to new pursuits? Can you dare to insert creative time during your day, periods where you are able to instantly melt the ice that you thought needed to be chipped first simply by deciding so?

Can we learn to love the disorder and overload so that we can ignore it and create anyway?

Want more from Adam? Check out his Innovation on my Mind blog.

One of the highlights at the recent College Music Society conference in Omaha was the presentation by Sean Burton from Briar Cliff University. His workshop on realizing the potential for viewing the writing process as one of artistic inquiry, based on creative interests, contrasts the vantage point of writing as a task or chore. In general, it is true that the pressure to publish is one of the professional obligations to which we many aspiring College and University performing arts faculty freeze up (or shake) at a mere reference. Such a common response (try this out at a party for extra points) is rooted to a degree in the advancement procedures of tertiary education institutions, and it is bolstered by the rise of online blogs, forums, and the general need to create a virtual paper trail of our thoughts, professional accomplishments, and daily goings-on.
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This isn’t a post on what you’re thinking, since I don’t know a thing about the genre of house music and it’s not about that doctor guy on TV.  What I’m talking about is music that is performed at home, as a concert, which is what composers Tristan Perich and Lesley Flanigan are doing in NYC as part of their informal contemporary music series that takes place in their apartment (there isn’t a lot of room so don’t you all knock down the doors to see the concert, ok?). Think of 19th-century salon type performances, a small group of friends getting together to play music for one another, in a nice, cozy, informal environment.

Just this morning I received a post by email from Entrepreneur The Arts author Jeffrey Nytch, Assistant Professor and Director, Entrepreneurship Center for Music at the University of Colorado – Boulder, and also a former Pittsburgher who is on the board of the PNME (Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble).  His post, “YOU are your greatest asset,”  discussed the lack of YOU found in a composition competition in which he sifted through over 150 submissions and found wonderfully technical works but little uniqueness. As he says, this applies to all musicians, not just composers.  He adds:

If you’re wondering how to build success for yourself “out there in the world,” you have to begin with what it is you want to say, what it is that only YOU can share. It might be a composition, or it might be a novel idea for presenting concerts in a different way. Perhaps it’s a knack you have for connecting with your audience through speaking to them before and after pieces, or maybe you have a new vision for how video, lighting, or other media can be employed the enhance the concert experience. Maybe it’s a burning passion to figure out how to use music for social change. It doesn’t matter what it is, but you need to find out what it is for you.

On Twitter this morning I saw Tristan’s website for Stepgaard, and I was impressed and really felt they were tapping into their YOUness by presenting concerts out of their apartment.  See them at  http://www.stepgaard.org/

Putting the YOU in what you do is the secret not only to tapping into the whole conceptual age that Pink discusses, creating design that is both about utility and significance (see post on Design in Music https://innovativeperformanceandpedagogy.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/design-in-music/) but surely it leads the way towards a satisfying, meaningful life with purpose and success.

Laura Lentz ©2011

Hey Everybody,

In case you’ve never come across it, San Francisco Classical Voice is really fantastic website that’s been around since the first big internet boom in the late ’90s.  Although it bills itself as “The Go-To Place For Classical Music In the Bay Area”, I’m tempted to put a “[sic]” after their motto, because there’s so much material that will be of interest to any musician or fan of classical music.

Their recent article on performance anxiety seemed right up the IPAP alley, so I thought I’d share it with you here.  The author, Dana Fonteneau, is a cello-playing friend of mine who has done a lot of work on the mental aspects of performance.  She practices psychology in the Bay Area.

Five Ways to Turn Performance Anxiety Into Performance Excitement  

Read it there, and if you have any comments and/or thoughts, please share them here @IPAP.

 

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