I have thought so much about the importance of creativity in my life, especially since joining the Open Group at Bedlam Farm, a wonderful family of creative souls brought together by my favorite author Jon Katz on Facebook.
The ability to have a positive, encouraging, and safe place to test my wings with my love of writing and photography has been life changing. I am more observant of everything, see beauty in the smallest things, see stories everywhere. Though I have a long, long way to go in those areas, I am enjoying the journey immensely, and learn so much from the group and from Mr. Katz. My work is amateurish right now, but that’s okay- anything worth having in life is worth working for, and I am an avid student.
There is another huge part of my creative life, though, and that music. I have to see through different eyes, listen with different ears, think in different ways when I play my clarinet compared to when I write or take photos. I love the challenge of taking a piece of music, deciphering the composer’s intent, and then deciding how to shape the phrase, which notes to nuance, what tone colors to use, how to work with my accompanist to bring the notes on the page to life for an effective performance.
There are many long hours spent in practice to get to the point of performance, much of it spent on daily practice of fundamentals- long tones, scales, technical studies, working on reeds…not exciting stuff, but those skills are what help me to get to the music. My mentor, Kal Opperman, would tell me, “You can’t make music until the technique is out of the way.”, and he (as usual) was right. You have to get to the place where the audience is not distracted by technical issues, and can be touched by the music. The performer also has to get past the place of worrying about the notes and just become the music. That is the greatest challenge.
As I prepare for several recitals and concerts over the next couple of months, I am doing my best to use the skills I am developing in my writing and photography to improve my creativity in music. I can tell a positive difference, for which I am thankful. Lots of work to do, but that’s what I love about being a musician – there is always something to improve, skills to grow, new music to learn. I love the challenge and the creative outlet, and am thankful to be doing what I love creatively every single day. Come join me.