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james holmes

The Shades in between: When Creativity Needs Re-Kindling

August 25, 2012 at 11:43 AM

What is it that plagues musicians, even the healthiest ones, and at all levels?
This dilemma drains our creativity or drive, leaving a void that was once filled with musical genius, readily flowing. The yoke of our creative nourishment- gone!

I can not answer for the rest of you, but when I come down with these symptoms, I too begin to panic. The music comes out droll, forced, and blah! My mind races as I frantically rummage through all my music books to rekindle that creative luster. But even still those once meaningful notes appear to just be random black dots that look more like scattered ink droplets- far from those inherent values that once gave form and depth.

We are musicians, not self sustaining drones that play note-for-note, turned on like the mindless action of flicking a switch. We must, like artists, find the shades in between: the slight threshold of when it starts to change its hues, the texture, and the build up of form from the blushing gradation of its values. This is what draws a viewer to immerse himself or herself in the artist's work. We musicians need to find these shades in the notes we play and saturate those notes with our individual color.

To do this, we may need to look not at the score itself, but at what is around us. Take a glance out your window. Most likely, you will see greens of the grass, leaves and plants. We see this every day, yet we still can find the beauty in the landscape. Music is like this: we can always find the beauty
from its song.

I say take a step back. Look away from the printed notes for now. Go enjoy what others are playing. It does not matter if they are less skilled or more advanced than you. It is a gift that is being performed. Listening to them will spark as of flint grazed. You will start to feel that churning inside. After a few false starts, your drive and creativity will burn once again.

Perhaps we get too wrapped up in perfectionism isolating ourselves 
in the process. Listening to others is a great tool, as it will allow us to see the shades in-between.

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