Practical Creativity

21 Feb

I hope all of you had a great weekend! I sincerely enjoyed mine. As I mentioned on Friday, Ike inaugurated a big event for the Peters fam – insert dramatic drum roll for those of you who missed out or who don’t yet memorize my posts – he started recording his first album! Although I did do my own thing for the majority of the recording sessions (devoured over 200 pages of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, attended a wedding shower, hung at Barnes and Noble, the usual) I did hang out at the sessions on Saturday and Sunday nights. I, world observer that I am, noticed key elements of the creative process at work right in front of me. And I, blogger that I am, will share my observations now. I know, I know, the creative process is something artists (Romantic poets especially, to my memory) have been trying to nail down for centuries. And thus I won’t pretend to be the end all source (hardly!). But to risk an oxymoron, I’ll offer a few practical tips to the creative process, as I saw it, from my piano bench in the corner.

Make a Plan

I know this seems like anti-creative advice but bear with me.

I’ve known Ike for over 6 years now. And since I’ve known him (and I’d bet since he could talk) he’s been a creative dreamer. He’s always wanted to record a full length album, create a film, write a TV pilot and tackle a myriad of other creative projects. But unfortunately most of his great creative pursuits get moved to the back burner especially now when work and bills crowd the picture. So when he renewed his serious desire to record a full length album, I gently suggested that he make a plan. So that’s what he did. He, Eric (his drummer pal from Ohio) and Isaac set a recording weekend date. Thus, all the songs had to be written and all the demos had to be recorded by this weekend. Setting a due date and taking action finally set his first album in motion. If he had never taken the time to plan I can confidently say that his creative weekend would never have happened. So see? Planning and making goals (my specialty) can actually lend the creative process the time it needs.

No Egos

When working in a collaborative and creative atmosphere, you need to check egos at the door. If Ike had been unwilling to mess with the songs’ arrangements or if Eric had been deaf to drumming critiques the process would have never been as successful. As it was, with about 2 days of recording, they laid the foundation to 9 songs. For the few songs I saw take form, each guy would accept and give constructive advice with ease. It was about making a good song, not about whose idea would win. But of course to my amusement their advice was full of music buff jargon. Phrases like “Oh, so you want a Lennon harmony” or “This song needs a female voice to give it a Pixies vibe” or “He has a real Bowie delivery” or “That’s totally the Faces” or “This reminds me of the Stones (or The Beach Boys depending on the song)” often prefaced suggestions. It was like a musical trivia game for me to keep up with.  But no matter the references, it was a lot of fun for me to observe these 3 guys who all love and know so much about music collaborate so successfully.

As corny as it may sound…have fun!

Finally, they all seemed to be genuinely enjoying the process. Several times I heard one of them say they couldn’t believe how quickly the time flew by. And we all know what that means. During most of the songs, dancing, toe tapping and even giggling permeated the atmosphere filling the small room with electric excitement. That excitement filled their playing and their singing which I think will translate to fun tunes on the finished product.

So be on the watch out for updates on the album. I don’t think you’re going to want to miss it if you are a Bowie-Beach Boys-Beatles-Stones-Faces-Pixies kind of fan.

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