Is your creativity trapped in the wrong medium?
I had the honor of presenting a class to a fabulous group of independent voice teachers this past weekend entitled Fostering Creativity for Ourselves and Our Students: A Holistic Approach.
It was so much fun!
I fully believe that tools to cultivate self-awareness, pursuit of passion, and co-creation and collaboration to allow students' creativity and the authentic self to fully blossom can be used to not only transform arts education but society as a whole.
As part of my research, I came upon a great book, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative, by Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Education at the University of Warwick in the UK and champion of creativity and educational reformation.
Because it tied in so beautifully with my most recent missive on Finding Your Creative Calling, I wanted to share a particular passage with you.
I found it especially potent as it has been my own recent journey, which I'll share more about in a future post.
Creativity can be inhibited by the wrong medium. Some years ago, I worked with a very good literary editor on a book I had written. She was an excellent judge of style and added hugely to the quality of the book, as good literary editors should. She told me she had become a literary editor in her forties. Before that she was a concert pianist. I asked why she had changed professions. She said that she had been giving a concert in London with a distinguished conductor. After the concert they had dinner. Over the meal, he mentioned how good her performance had been and she thanked him. "But you didn't enjoy it, did you?" he said She was taken aback. This hadn't occurred to her. She said she hadn't enjoyed it particularly, but then she never did. He asked why she did it and she said, "Because I'm good at it."
She explained that she had been born into a musical family. She had taken piano lessons and showed talent; she had gone on to take a music degree, then a doctorate of music and on to a concert career. Neither she nor anyone else had stopped to ask whether she wanted to do this or whether she enjoyed it. She did it because she was good at it. The conductor said, "Being good at something isn't a good enough reason to spend your life doing it." In the weeks that followed she wrestled with this idea and concluded that he was right. She finished the season of concerts, closed the piano lid and never opened it again. She turned instead to books, the art form she really loved.
When people find their medium, they discover their real creative strengths and come into their own. Helping people to connect with their personal creative capacities is the surest way to release the best they have to offer.
Asking questions, like the conductor did for this musician cum editor, like:
Do I enjoy doing what I'm doing?
What lights me up
What comes so easily to me that I want to dismiss its potential 'rightness'?
What did I LOVE doing/playing at ages 5,7,9,11?
can help unlock our own creative medium and direction of our calling and lead us to the feeling of success we truly crave.
Craving some support to help find your own creative calling or authentic voice?
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