Habit creep. An idea that I read about from the amazing James Clear. He writes about how we should adopt habits in the same way lifestyle changes happen slowly yet surely (subscriptions to Netflix, upgrading your phone..)
So what habits do I want to creep into my life?
What I want to keep up: yoga, cold showers, blogging, posting on Instagram, reading
What I would like to slowly have creep in my life: daily workouts, French, Chinese, daily finance research, more content on social media, more practice hours, and focus.
Like in the last post, focus is key here. If I’m to maximise my day so I can fit extra activities, something has to go. So it begs the question: what do I dispose of? What drains my time and energy?
I dreamt I was performing at Koerner Hall. I had finished playing some Schubert Impromptus and had gone backstage for a quick breather. Upon coming out, the stage was set up with a guitar and a keyboard on top of a nice rug. The second half was going to be a concert of singing, jamming, playing my own songs, and vibing with the audience.
I loved that. I wish I were able to do that. And can I? I think the incredible Chris Thile is as close as it gets to someone who meshes artistically and sincerely many different genres of music to give a beautiful music experience. He’s got some bluegrass, some Bach, and somethings in between.
I want to do that. And do that I think I’ve gotta start expanding my repertoire, continue to focus, and work hard.
A concert of classical, indie acoustic songs, improv, songs from the 60s – 90s, a little bit of slow jazz.. is that too crazy to ask for?
I’m developing an idea for a praise and worship session. To give some context, I’m a Catholic and I’m in the process of organising a Bible Camp that’s centred on the art of the debate and dialogue with others.
But to focus back on this session. I want it to be meditate and reflective. For my secular readers, this is also relevant because we ought to reflect constantly on what we’ve done well, what we can do better, and to meditate on our goals for the future. In particular, if we can visualise ourselves doing things better in the future, we WILL have a better chance of succeeding in doing so.
And so, my idea revolves around everyone having a notebook and as words or a passage from the Bible pop onto the screen, they’ll write down how those words are reflected in the story of their year. And to work on how they’ll work on it the upcoming year. To be more specific, a word like discipline.
Discipline: this year I worked hard on discipline by using an agenda, recording my practice hours and intentions in a journal, doing yoga and meditation in the mornings, working out, taking cold showers, and finding the time to read and reflect. I need to work on my discipline of mind; in particular, focusing on one task and solely on one task for a certain period of time. To not allow myself become distracted. To train the muscle of focus.
Something like that. It’s not such a crazy idea right? And at the end, they’ll be able to use these notebooks for the upcoming year’s reflections.
I don’t know about them but I definitely need to do something like this!
I lack the hustle. I think I work quite hard at a lot of different things at once. I like working a little on ideas here and then working on another idea there. But I lack the hustle of focusing on one or two things INTENSELY.
I start some series and then drop it when I feel like it’s not going in the direction I’d like it to. Or I’ll watch a movie, and get distracted it and look up something on my phone. Or blog.
What’s one crazy thing I can do to make me hustle better?
Is it having a clear goal and banging the hammer on the nail of it every single day?
The entrepreneur and musician Derek Sivers has this amazing gift of being able to focus. Only WANTING to focus on one thing until it’s done. Sometimes that meant isolation.
I need to practice the art form and discipline of focusing on one thing for a long time. I need to enter into Deep Work. This is the only way I’ll succeed.
I need to be clear with my goals, clear with my daily intentions, and disciplined in my practice. If I dedicate one hour to something, that hour is dedicated to it.
I will not veer, I will not get distracted until that goal is done. If I get distracted, like meditation, I will return back to it.
How do we make music competitions a positive and nurturing experience? How do we navigate through the competitive, win-lose, and often tortuous nature of these contests? On top of that, how can jury members, organisers, and the administration ensure that competitors will WANT to come back because they’re able to get so much value out of the competition?
That is the challenge I want to tackle. I’ve been asked by a really good friend to collaborate on a competition. My first thought was: how can we distinguish ourselves from all the other thousands of competitions? Prize money? Concert opportunities? Prestigious jury members?
Or shall we go down a route where we try to offer each and every qualifying competitor the best and most valuable lessons in music, art, and life? So that even if you do not attain the first couple of prizes, you don’t feel like you lost. You would feel like you have the tools to get better. I want the competitors to feel like they’ve gained something either in technique, career advice, musical and artistic experience, or even something as simple as encouragement from the competition.
This is so we can build a world where artists feel like they are a part of something larger. That they can incorporate art and the lessons learnt from honing a craft, into their own lives.
For me, this is a prize that I can offer everyone and it will be something invaluable that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
What would happen if four classical musicians and a producer worked on writing an album? What would happen if they were put in a large house with a recording studio and told to come up with 10 songs for an album?
I think it would be absolutely brilliant.
If you would like to do this with me, hit me up! The truth is that classical musicians are often so boxed in creatively – they’re either purely interpreting and madly learning repertoire, or they’re refining for a performance, recording, or a lesson. Perhaps they’re teaching and some of them composing too.
But what if they were told to write music in a style and genre of their own choosing, put some words together, add different effects, sounds, a groovy beat, and just make it up! I think it would free us and allow us to viewing the art of creation, compilation, and arrangement as also a part of being an artist.
It’s not that musicians and song writers such as Charlie Pluth or Ed Sheeran aren’t excellent artists in their own right. But we should realise if we are able to play some of the most technically difficult music ever written, and have studied music theory and harmony throughout our training, what they do isn’t exclusive to them. And we can do a pretty darn good job of it too.
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