Alan’s Annual Reflections (Part 1 of 2)

February 27, 2012

Wednesday, I’ll be posting about Janice Whaley, a San Francisco based musician whose work I think will be of great interest to the IPAP community.  Since she deserves not to follow my customary preamble, I’m posting that today.

In honor of IPAP’s first anniversary, Laura asked me to compose a short piece that encapsulates some of the themes that have developed on our blog over the past year. If you’ve spent any time here, you already know that we have a tremendous staff of writers, each of whom has their own set of interests, styles, and ways of working.  It’s been a real growing experience for me to get a more intimate perspective on the different approaches and ideas that each of us bring to our practice of music. In particular, I’ve relearned valuable lessons about two of our key buzzwords: innovation and creativity:

  • Being creative doesn’t only involve the ideas that you have but also the actions that you take.
  • Asking yourself “What can I do today to be innovative?” isn’t usually the best way to be innovative. Instead, ask “What can I do today to be productive?”  The difficulties that arise from your desire to produce will lead you, by necessity, to innovate.

(As a corollary to the above, if you don’t come across stumbling blocks in your creative activity,
it’s probably a sign that you need to be more ambitious in how you challenge yourself.)

  • It’s just as, if not more, important to discover new ways to employ the skills and interests you’ve already won rather than trying to continually re-invent the proverbial wheel in search of the next shiny trend or technique. It’s ok to be guided by your expertise. The fact that we never want to stop learning doesn’t mean that we haven’t already learned much of what we need to know.
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4 Responses to “Alan’s Annual Reflections (Part 1 of 2)”

  1. Laura Lentz Says:

    Thanks Alan–I really appreciate the last thing you wrote about discovering new ways to use what we already have. I think it’s easy to fall into the perpetual student mindset. It’s a balance isn’t it, because we all enjoy continuing to learn but it’s an important reminder that employing what we already have– in new ways– can push and evolve us in different directions too.

    I’d like to take this opportunity to say thanks also for all your wonderful posts this past year–and while I’m at it, a kudos to the rest of the IPAP authors and all our readers for a terrific first year!

    –Laura

  2. Alan Tormey Says:

    Thanks for your kind words and your leadership, Laura. It’s been great to work with you this year.

  3. Sarah Greenwald Says:

    I think your comment about being creative is spot-on, Alan. Love your insight!


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