Creativity Quotes of the Day

English: French composer Nadia Boulanger (1887...

English: French composer Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) in 1925. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You are enriched by all the music you know by heart; it becomes a part of you. –Nadia Boulanger

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember: amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic. –Anonymous

The Earth without Art is just “eh”. –Anonymous

A problem is a chance for you to do your best. – Duke Ellington

Very few people do anything creative after the age of thirty-five. The reason is that very few people do anything creative before the age of thirty-five. 
- Joel Hildebrand

The way to succeed is to double your error rate. – Thomas J. Watson


Music Environments – book quotes

MACBA (XVII) - Minimalism in white

(Photo credit: MarcelGermain)

I actually got the book some months ago, but didn’t get the chance to do much more than start it:

Musical Environments: A Manual for Listening, Improvising, and Composing by Richard Vella.

There is no book quite like it – it’s very dense with information and ideas on the creative process. The part that I am now reading and taking notes on (I don’t like to read nonfiction without a pencil in hand) is the “Teaching Strategies for Improvisation.” If you are a kindred soul who reads this column regularly (at least whenever I post something), you should probably run, not walk, to order a copy of this book. Let me share/tease a bit and give you some quotes from this chapter (p. 99):

Improvisation is:

•a valuable tool for understanding creative and musical thinking.

•can involve working with existing or known structures from which one explores new possibilities, or outcomes.

•is a real-time interaction and involves spontaneous decision-making either consciously or unconsciously.

Continue reading


Improv Quote of the Day: Sparks, Spontaneity, and Keen Ears


Cover of "A Soprano on Her Head: Right-Si...

I use improvisation for many reasons. It can spark rich ideas for composition, for it gives us a more intimate sense of raw materials of sound. It provides an astonishing physical and emotional release, and helps develop the kind of spontaneity that can transform the way we play Bach or Mozart or Bartok. It creates a more direct personal relationship with an instrument that can melt square-shouldered bravado into keen-eared listening.

–Eloise Ristad, A Soprano on Her Head


Improv Quote of the Day: Begin By Learning to Play

Unfortunately, a too-early emphasis on reading has kept many music students from developing this vital skill. But there’s another good reason to begin independently of notation. This approach enables you to concentrate on the physical aspects of playing. Good technique requires a relaxed body, and it’s a lot easier to be relaxed when focusing on one thing at a time. If you’re not familiar with the symbols of music, learning to play through notation is like rehearsing a new dance step while trying to read a description of it—in a language you don’t know. Reading is a valuable skill. It’s simply out of place in the earliest stages of learning. … Begin by making music from the heart, and by building the connection between ear and hand. Begin by learning to play.

– Bruce Siegel, “Learning to Play is Learning to Speak”


Improv Quote of the Day: Common Skill?

The ability to improvise freely is a common skill applied whether in conversation, role-play, movement, dance, or the playing of games, and yet it is an ability that is seemingly suppressed through the conventions of music training. – Jonty Stockdale, “Reading Around Free Improvisation,” The Source: Challenging Jazz Criticism 1 (2004), p. 112