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Simple Creativity Tips

Hi everyone,

As you may be aware, living a creative life is one of my priorities in life. I think that being creative encourages a zest for life- which I need! For me, I am most happy when I feel that I am being authentic and open to change.

That being said, I am always looking for ways to be more creative in my every day life. In my daily grind, I often find myself working into a rut. With many tasks and routines to get through, I tend to focus more on efficiency, rather than creativity. How can I do this better with less time?

Of course, the number 1 tip for living a creative life…is to create. Write a blog! Write songs! Draw! Even if it’s only for 10 minutes every day, that dedicated time adds up. At the end of the week, you would have been creative for more than an hour.

Today, I want to talk about injecting creativity into our everyday tasks. This helps boost that 10 minutes a day into an all day lifestyle direction.

  1. Add little differences to your meals–  cooking is my biggest challenge! I personally do not love cooking, but understand it is essential to my living. While making breakfast, I often experiment with little changes. Little things such as a different way I cut my avocado to different arrangements on the plate make a huge difference! Not only does it visually looks different, I feel myself more aware of what I’m doing- breaking out of the mundane routine. I also enjoy that I get to be more aware of what kind of foods I like and don’t like.
  2. Go for a 10 minute walk everyday, but walk in a different direction every day. I enjoy exploring my neighbourhood! It gives me different visual input everyday.
  3. Don’t use your phone while you wait for things– whether at the grocery store, at the elevator, or on your break at work, I try not to use my phone as a distraction tool. Breathe in every minute! The break from digital media helps me discover my own thoughts.

With these small changes, I find that I participate in my life much more actively, which is a key component of feeling creative.

 


Feedback in Lessons – A Personal Account

I believe there are 4 very important elements integral to piano lessons. The first is playing music together. The second is learning how to practice. The third is learning new concepts. The fourth is feedback.

Feedback- Good or Bad?

As a piano teacher, I often swing back and forth between feeling like I am too “easy” or too “tough” with my expectations. Because my students are at the age of 5-10, I do not expect perfection in execution.  However, I do often find myself correcting my students’ mistakes over and over again. After all, it is what my job is right?

The major issue with this is that students get frustrated that they can not perform the correction. In response, I find it instinctual to continue working on the problem, until we hear one solid good take. However, I remind myself this is not always possible!

It is true that progress in piano comes with repetitions. However, it is important to remember that endless repetition is not the answer. Not only does repetitive block practicing discourage students, it prevents students from understanding the piece as a whole song.

In addition, this kind of teaching limits the amount of music the student can learn in a year.  Instead, I aim to expose the students in reading as much music as possible, so they have a better understanding of how music works.

Furthermore, I find that since all students are amateurs working to improve, the lesson can appear to be a lot of criticism. Like all people, young students like to be encouraged and feel that they are making progress.

In 2017, I vow to encourage my students more and make an effort to praise their progress. Instead of shaming their mistakes, I will look to help them understand their weaknesses and provide options.

 

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Halloween Month at EN Music Studio

sketches-page-48Happy Halloween!

At the end of our Halloween-themed month, I asked the students to look at 3 different Halloween scenarios and create a musical soundtrack to it. The goal is to invoke different moods and feelings using what we learned in piano. Of course, a major component of this exercise is using minor keys. What about other aspects of music to create a feeling? Let’s go over them now!

The Ghost

For me, the ghost in the graveyard should suggests moods such like eeriness, and loneliness. Sounds that can be used to invoke this type of mood include softer sounds, playing higher notes, and having more space between each note. Because this picture does not have a lot of action, the melody should remain calm and collected to reflect the nature of the setting.

 

sketches-page-49The Vampire

I was specific in letting the kids know that I was not looking for the vampire that’s asleep in his casket during the day. I was looking to create music to the vampire about to attack! For this action-packed picture, I suggest louder sounds, stronger articulations, and a faster tempo. By playing faster, and playing more aggressively, we can create a tense suspenseful sound. For this picture, I was looking to invoke emotions such as fear and terror.

sketches-page-50

The Witch

In this picture of the witch creating a potion in her cauldron, I wanted to the students to invoke feelings of mystery, drama, and wonder. We achieve this by using a fast tempo, a quiet dynamic, and rapid connected notes. By playing the minor scale in this fashion, we can create a wall of sound that rings in the air, like how the potion’s smokes fills the air.

Next up, Holiday music!

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