Thursday, March 06, 2008

Keeping the Creative Muscles Toned

From the blog of guitarist and composer Dan Cosley:

"It's important to sight-read some music everyday. We can too easily get bogged down in the minutiae of the works we are preparing for performance. But sight-reading opens a window to a different kind of experience, reinforcing basic musicianship skills which can atrophy if left unattended. Most guitarists are terrible readers but can improve greatly with a daily dose of sight-reading. It's also a great way to explore the vast repertoire which is playable on the guitar. Bach's solo violin works are often on my music stand for this purpose."

What's the equivalent of this practice for your art?

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Kelley said...

I don't do this daily but writing book and film reviews serve that purpose for me. There is something extremely delicate and visceral about evaluating another's piece of work that requires clear intent and an equally lucid vocabulary. I want to be perfectly clear when I convey my thoughts on someone else's work, often in ways that I would avoid being clear in my own writing. Writing reviews also requires a certain convention, covering specific criteria, yet hold enough intrigue to draw the reader into the review, possibly inspiring interest in its object. Writing reviews requires accountability on all levels and that is something I take largely for granted in my own writing.

Peggy Payne said...

Wow, Kelley! I hope you'll review one of mine some day. You sound like the ideal reviewer.

I realized since I posted this morning that my current equivalent of the practice is blogging, and commenting here and elsewhere. By the time I have come to my point (which often surprises me), I have sharpened my thinking--as well as getting the flow of words going.