Friday, July 17, 2009

Writing Practice and Improvisation Practice

In her excellent book "Writing Down the Bones" Natalie Goldberg talks about writing practice. It's an exercise where you sit down and just write without editing what comes out of you. This is also a good idea for musicians to do.

She'll have her student's do timed writing exercises, i.e., you sit down and write for 20 minutes non-stop. Your job is not to critique the writing but enter into it like a meditation.

The whole purpose of this is to get to a place where you are not thinking - you are feeling. This is the realm of true artistic expression and can be reached by anyone if they learn to let go of self-judgement and instead, focus on the process of creating.

The most fun I have is when I let go and just let the music take over. It's only at these times that I'll write something down that resonates within me and develop it into something later - which is not to say that it is not something already.

In Tibet, the monks have a tradition of creating elaborate artworks out of sand. They may work months on completing it. Then when they feel it is done, they will destroy it. A nice way to keep things in perspective.

They realize that the creating was what was most important, not the beauty of the finished product.

P.S. Feel free to leave your comments too!

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