creative life: The Critical Muse Within

09 Sep

Lately our Composer of Music for Art has been in a flurry of compositional activity, having been commissioned to put together 10 audio clips with 10 space art pictures for her website. A lot of ideas have been brewing in her head for a long time and it seems this project was the opportunity to apply stuff stored in the memory banks for some time. And it seems she has learned enough about some basics of audio mixing and has developed a sufficient repertory of compositional techniques to enable this rather concentrated period of production.

But as she completes the 5th audio clip, a small voice is starting to nag in her.  “My dear girl, they are all sounding just a little bit the same.” and “You really need to raise the bar a little.  Your selection and application of effects is haphazard, your understanding of EQ is primitive, your harmonic vocabulary is limited, and you can’t seem to write anything that goes for more than 20 seconds!

Are you acquainted with this voice as well? Has he ever dragged you down? Burst your bubble? He can definitely be a bummer. But this critical muse that sings loudly in the creative soul, has an important function. He helps us to acknowledge that artistic growth demands almost constant learning, broadening of experience, refinement of technique. To create the new, the creative personality must constantly RENEW.

So even as our Lady of Music for Art celebrates this productive groove, the achievement of a radically compressed production cycle, she realizes that soon she must pull on the reins, take some time to examine in detail an aspect of her creative work.  She must plant a few new seeds. Surprisingly, it seems we don’t need to stress too hard about choosing where to start digging, as we engage in a little brain cell cultivation. All roads lead to Rome, as they say (or did say at some point).

Planting seeds is simply engaging in something, anything, new, and making a start. Maybe there is a new artist you’ve wanted to spend more time studying, maybe you’ve wanted to listen to the complete Shostakovitch string quartets, maybe you want to understand how microphone pre-amplification works, or delve into some other aspect of technology.   Whatever you choose, as you take your break from active creative work to learn, will be the right choice. Because on the one hand, your decision making is influenced by thoughts and questions and issues that have been percolating in the subconscious for some time. And whatever choice you make will be the right choice, also, because the process is as important as the choice. The process of learning is one of stimulating the mind, of remembering how to make connections, how to ask questions.

And you will be surprised how quickly your random learning draws you full circle to critical, current issues in your creative work.

Your Muse is very impressed!

Spark on!


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Posted by on September 9, 2011 in creative life


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