Letting Go

Letting Go

One of the greatest joys of being a musician is the journey of taking your craft from the practice room to the performance stage. You can spend countless hours preparing for these opportunities but despite your development and preparation, once the performance opportunity arises, you suddenly find yourself challenged. The songs that were familiar suddenly feel strange, or the parts that were so fluid in the practice room feel stagnant. This creates a level of artistic frustration and insecurity. How come what felt great during the practice component didn’t translate to the performance stage?

When given the same opportunity to be creative in a performance scenario, you may find yourself revisiting the same artistic ideas you have always done or if you mentally challenge yourself to stretch out artistically, your playing can become pattern oriented, stagnant and uncreative. Often, the more I long to challenge myself, the more I tend to play what’s familiar or what I have typically done in the past.

I have a passion for jazz and have been fortunate over the years to not only study and graduate from a college level jazz program but also continue to study with some incredible musicians who are experts in this field.  What I have found though is that despite my knowledge of the genre, when it came to the performance, I would find myself falling into the mental aspects of playing what I knew were the technical elements required, but it felt clinical and lacked the passion I truly longed for. I knew what to play but why did it not inspire me? What was the challenge? How come I wasn’t able to find my own musical voice?

Over the last few years, I have started to revisit the genre to not only analyze what was being played, but why?  What I discovered is the key is to truly listen to what is happening and learn to just let go and respond. Music is a dialog and an expression of your artistic soul and emotion and should be joyful. When I began to stop thinking of what I was supposed to play and just began to PLAY, it felt inspired and reflective. 

Music should not have consequences, but experiences. Music is moments in time and should be an emotional expression that is reflective to what is surrounding you. Don’t be afraid to try new ideas and react to what feels right. Music is a dialog and you should always be listening to what is being said and respond accordingly. Learn to listen and embrace the creative dialog which will allow you to discover your own artistic voice.

Embrace the challenge; listen to what is happening and by learning to “Let Go”and respond, you will begin the journey to discovering your own creative voice. 

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