To Create Unique Art, Stop Worrying about Being Original

Being preoccupied with the fear of making something that has been done before, especially in music, is the same as giving yourself a straightjacket before composing. One of the surest ways to eliminate writers block and to create unique content is to give yourself permission to be unoriginal. This may sound like a contradiction yet it is a vital step of humility.  When you do this you are silently giving credit to those who have paved the road before you.  As you free your mind from this worry, you will let go and as a byproduct of this discipline will naturally compose more original music.

Dance performance:

Michael Jackson heavily studied  Fred Astaire, James Brown & Charlie Chaplin just to name a few. I personally believe him to be the greatest entertainer of all time not only because of his innate talent, but because he systematically modeled the giants who came before him throughout the expanse of his career.

Let’s take composed music for example:

Spinning on Air WNYC.org has a special called The World’s Most-Used Musical Sequence. From the key of A the notes A, G, F, and E are repeated throughout the ages of musical history. The notes are literally walking downward. It’s known as the Diatonic Phrygian Tetrachord or Andalusian Cadence.

In another example, YouTube video Axis of Awesome-4 Chord Song illustrates how countless hits have used the exact 4 Chord Song structure repeatedly throughout modern history. Once arrangement style, rhythm and timing are made alike, these pop hits sound as one continuous song.

Art and Inventions:

The article What Steve Jobs Really Meant When He Said ‘Good artists copy; great artists steal‘ explains the differences between taking something someone has done before and building upon it, verses outright plagiarism.

“I think what he (Steve Jobs) meant by ‘steal’ was you learn, as artists have, from past masters; you figure out what you like about it and what you want to incorporate into your idea, and you take it further and do something new with it. I can see why people might confuse that with the current use people have for that phrase. You don’t just say, ‘I want something that looks just like yours and I’m going to sell it too.’ (-Bud Tribble-Apple Computer)

How to Find Your Unique Voice

With visual media we are usually painting Gods creation. Though God is the original creator of art and raw materials, the way we assemble colors, patterns, sounds and structures will be as unique as a fingerprint or snowflake. To get more uniquely radical, find freedom in art as you reclaim your childlike spirit.

Lifestyle Experiment for July 2014- Classical Music Immersion

Classical music composers – Wikipedia Commons

Lifestyle experiments are my favorite way of radically changing up my perspective. They bring discovery,  wonderment, knowledge, and open the doors of creativity in my life. For the month of July I am primarily listening to classically composed music. From the mid 1750’s classical era to the end of the 1910’s romantic period.   This includes reading wholesome bio’s and viewing documentaries on the subject.    My favorite bio’s to choose from are written in the late 1800’s and are freely available from Google books as they are public domain. Books written in this time period avoid much of the distasteful tabloid style biographical writing, focusing on ones achievements and work habits.

My goal is to improve my composing skills. During the 1990’s I heavily studied these classical foundations by listening and learning about great composers, yet I became overly saturated from this continual exposure. Now I am ready to return to this study, the romantic era being my absolute favorite.  Holst’s The Planets and Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty remain my favorites, both are works I have never ceased listening to.

You don’t always need to do something radical for a lifestyle experiment, often it’s the small changes that can create a big difference in your world.

You Have the Power to Design Your Life

Eat Drink Be Merry

Post by Rain San Martin

Ask yourself why you do the things you do.

You may notice that you have taken on habits and established routines based primarily on other peoples expectations. This is the biggest area in our life we have the ability to control. We’ve heard of the term discretionary income, what about discretionary time? We often pack our schedules to the brim, making us appear extremely busy, yet as said by Anthony Robbins,

“Most people fail in life because they major in minor things.”

Societies expectations of our routines can lead to time killers. Here are some expectations that if gone unchecked, can take you away from your lifetime goals:

  • Going to parties or clubs every Friday & Saturday night
  • Signing up your kids for more than one activity at a time
  • Checking Facebook, email or Twitter too often
  • Driving to the grocery store every time you run out of an ingredient rather than creativity looking for a substitute recipe or meal
  • Excessive volunteer work (unless this is your primary calling in life)

Below are a few questions that you should consider asking yourself from time to time. Perhaps you are motivated by embarrassment, the fear of being judged, or you simply excepted this way of life without giving it much thought:

Why do I dress this way?

Do you really need to follow the latest fashions or can you express yourself in a timeless way? What’s stopping you from dressing Steampunk, Renaissance or like a character inspired by the film Tron?

Why is my home cluttered?

Often we assume that because we have been given a physical gift we must hold on to it throughout our lifetime. Do you have a habit of making impulse buys every time you visit the outdoor mall? Take a moment to look at your surrounding with new eyes, would you like your home to feel more like a tropical resort or bed and breakfast?

Why do I always eat lunch at my desk in the office?

“I want to appear like I’m serious about my work!”, you say. When it’s time to work, give it your all, yet when brakes arrive use the time to go on a walk or work on your long term dreams. Perhaps you can write ideas in your laptop or hardbound journal. Once you have clarified expectations others will no longer expect you to eat at your desk during your breaks.

Why did I choose this career path?

Was it to make lots of money, a hot job at the moment or something you fell into? Stop and read 48 Days to the Work You Love or What Color is Your Parachute to help you discover your true vocation. Having a job to “pay the bills” is noble indeed, yet make sure you’re heading in the direction of your dream job.

Why do I spend every weekend going to parties or “kicking it” for hours on end with buddies?

If you have a day job, this activity can be robbing you of your time spent toward honing your craft. As a teen or young adult, this lifestyle is even more tempting. Remember the Tortoise and the Hare, while the hare is squandering his time you can be making headway toward the goal line.

Sculpt Your Life-Overcome Tough Circumstances

We may have temporary circumstances that are unpleasant. What matters is that we have our focus on the outcome that we want to achieve.

 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Play the cards you’re dealt to maximize your possibilities. Choose your own adventure, and express your life as an artform, because you have the power to design your life.