A Quote Worth Sharing

“The details of any art form—how to play the violin, how to improvise a raga, how to write English prose, how to make movies, how to teach are of course particular; each instrument or medium comes with its own language and lore.  But there is a kind of metalearning, a metadoing that transfers across styles […]

Artists and Creative Residencies (Part 2)

In my previous post, I mentioned that I recently returned from a month long creative residency in Bamfield, BC.  This was the result of a collaboration between Bamfield residents Nancy Hendry and Steve Clarke, and Music By the Sea.  I then reflected on the purpose of such residencies and some of the benefits that artists […]

Artists and Creative Residencies (Part 1)

I recently returned from a month long winter residency in Bamfield, BC. This was the result of a collaboration between Bamfield residents Nancy Hendry and Steve Clarke, and Music By the Sea. In case you haven’t heard of this place, Bamfield is one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited in Canada. Developed by Chris […]

Innovative Copycats

Suppose your raison d’être is to perform Oscar Peterson solos note for note. The potential for creativity and innovation here is endless. First of all, nobody’s doing this. Even if there was, he/she wouldn’t be able to mimic Oscar exactly; there would always be room for “improvement.” Improvement would require creative, innovative thinking. Innovation is […]

Appreciating Structure and Freedom

How do you travel to the grocery store? Consider your mode of transportation, route, pace, time of day, choice of clothes and anything else related to getting from point A to point B. Consider which of these variables remain fixed for each trip, and which are flexible. For example, you may always walk to the […]

Creativity, Deliberate Practice and Structure

A few months ago, I wrote a series of posts on creativity, deliberate practice and structure.  I’m actually quite excited about these posts; they seemed to have set a foundation for more thoughts and writing. For this reason, I’ve compiled them into one long post so its easier to read and easier for me to […]

Playing, Talking, Role Models and More

Something occurred to me the other day. If you recorded and analyzed how I spend time during lessons, you would see that most time is spent talking and discussing.  Very little time is spent playing. When I compare this to how my university piano teachers conducted my lessons, the observations are the same: lots of […]

Two Pieces of Music I WON’T Learn

Usually, when a piece of music moves me, I’m inclined to study it to death. Occasionally though, I come across some amazing pieces of music that I deliberately won’t study.  I’m afraid that doing so would upset the novelty; familiarizing myself with its intricacies would take away some of the magic. Can you relate?  How […]

Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Here’s another book I’ve added to my recommended readings: Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Flow is “the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”  Essentially, […]

Work HARD not LONG

Editors’ Note: This is a guest post from Josh Rager of XYJazz. “Hurry….hurry….hurry harrrrrrrrrrd” Anyone watch curling? One of the themes of my blog XY…Jazz is information versus knowledge. In the context of being an improvising musician this means what comes out in one’s soloing is what one has learned, what one currently knows. Where I […]