Thursday, November 17, 2011

How to Get Past Creative Blocks

When I first began playing the piano and improvising, there were times when the music just wouldn't flow. No matter what I did, I couldn't make it go any further. Blocked and frustrated, I wondered why this happened. One minute I would be in flow and enjoying the process of playing the piano. The next, I would find myself trying to come up with material

I soon realized that the more I tried to "come up" with something, the more blocked I became. The solution to this particular problem is simple, yet many find it to be frustrating in itself.

The answer is simply to walk away. That's right! If you're playing the piano and it just won't come anymore, I suggest getting up and finding something else to do. Why? Because you can not force play! It's that simple. And that difficult because we want to get back into the "groove." But getting back to this place requires you to ease up a bit.

You see, the creative process is somewhat similar to meditation. Meditation can't be forced or willed into working. It must be allowed to work. So too the creative process. There are times when I won't touch the piano for weeks on end. This used to bother me until I saw that I needed time away - a regenerative period so to speak.

Natalie Goldberg of "Writing Down the Bones" fame describes this lackluster period as composting. Don't worry about losing your creative ability. You never lost it. Just give it time to compost and when you return to the music, you will hear something new and wonderful!

Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Visit now and get a FREE piano lesson!


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  2. Thank you for an excellent post. I appreciate your comparison to meditation. Perhaps it wouldn't be an over reach to suggest that the muse or artistic spirit requires evocations, and thereafter, each note advocated as a custodian for a precious child. I really appreciate your post. Currently I am required to study business outside of art, so as to facilitate sustainable art. Your article allows me to be more at peace, hopefully, my creativity isn't eroding while I'm studying, but composting. Sincerely, Rick Bench