One of the key places I find creative inspiration is music – which is perhaps not that surprising given I’m a dancer!
Yet the inspiration goes beyond dancing: during my life I have played different instruments and sung different songs and, before even that, annoyed my school mates by always humming. My life has a constant soundtrack – I cannot recall a time or occasion where I have not had at least one song running through my brain (it even happens with songs I don’t like! Curse the ear worm!!)
This weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend the Wellington Folk Festival this weekend and see two of my favourite musicians in concert: Lindsay Martin and Enda Kenny (do click and listen to “The Smell of Rain” – it’s one of my favourites). Enda’s songs always tug at my heart, and Lindsay’s fiddle-playing touches my soul.
As well as enjoying the concert (never long enough!), I was doubly fortunate to sit in on a workshop Lindsay led on fiddle technique.
Now, while I admire and enjoy fiddle playing, I have never attempted to play one or had any desire to try learning fiddle myself. That hasn’t changed, despite the workshop.
That didn’t stop me learning plenty from the workshop. While the technical details may vary a touch between fiddle-playing and dancing, the challenges of creativity, performance nerves, and getting the most out of your technique and your performance are common to all.
So, here’s some of what I learnt (in no particular order):
- cool stuff is more likely to happen when you venture a bit beyond your safe zone.
- there’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple (especially at the start of a piece, as it leaves you places to go).
- when you practice, push hard into your bowing (or your moves!) That way, when you pull back a little you’ll have made yourself more space for expression.
- being open and honest about your challenges will bring you opportunties to learn and grow.
My biggest challenge at the mo is around having the discipline to practice. I dilly-dally and dabble, but hard-pushing practice is not something I find it easy to convince myself to start! If I can start, I’m fine – it’s that first step that’s the problem…
What about you? What’s your biggest creative challenge right now? How do you get started? (And do you have any quick and easy tips to improve self-discipline?!)