Nurturing a Creative Burst

Nurturing a Creative Burst

It’s happened to you before: all of the sudden, you feel the urge to create.  Whether it’s a blog post, a song, a piece of art, or otherwise, the creative juices have hit you full force.  So how do you keep the momentum going until you have a finished product to share with the world?

I experienced a creative burst just last week.  I was planning a new session of the early childhood music class I lead at my church, when for some reason it seemed like a good idea to write 9 new songs for it.  No matter that it was five days away, and I was busy enough as it was.

The single most important step I took to maximize that burst of creativity was to write down my end goal immediately. That way, even when the jolt of inspiration started to wane, I’d have a plan in front of me.

So even though the songs weren’t written yet, I came up with titles and included them in the song packet I was putting together.  Then I wrote the lyrics to the songs, which were included in the packet as well.  Then I made copies of those packets, so that there was no going back.  I was fully committed to writing those 9 new songs, whether I liked it or not!

Luckily, I was still feeling inspired when it came time to sit down and write the melodies and chords the next day.  And the next day, when I spent hours recording instrumental tracks; and even at 11 pm that night, as I finished up recording vocals.  Sure, I wasn’t as fired up at that point as I’d originally been, but I was looking forward to burning those completed CDs and experiencing that feeling of pride over my accomplishment.

And that’s the difference between letting a dose of inspiration take you where the wind blows and using it to map out a course of action.  Because I took the time to do that first thing, I ended up with 9 new songs (which were a hit, by the way) for my class as well as 9 potential new blog post topics.  Long live the creative burst!

Adapted “Rhythm of Love” Lyrics & Chords

Plain White T's Rhythm of Love

I covered this song in yesterday’s “Sunday Singalong” video, and have been getting requests for my version of it ever since.  What a compliment!  So for those of you who want to use it with your own students or just for fun, I’ve got you covered.

Click below for a free download of my adapted lyrics, plus the chords.  Please note that when I sing and play it, I capo the 2nd fret.

Lead Sheet Download: Rhythm of Love

One of my Twitter friends reminded me how great it would sound on the ukulele, so I’m going to play around with that next. Oh, and feel free to adapt the lyrics further if you’d like. I hope you have as much fun with this song as I do!

Sunday Singalong: The Rhythm Of Love

I heard this song for the first time as I was driving home from work a couple of weeks ago, and I was immediately hooked.  It was simple, beautiful, and happy…my three favorite ingredients when it comes to music.  I knew then and there that I just had to add it to my Sunday Singalong playlist.

My adapted version is less a love song about another person and more a love song about life.  I can’t wait to introduce it to my students next month — I envision creating all kinds of rhythms of our own using drums, shakers and whatever else I decide to throw into the mix.  Did you notice that my Rhythm Ring made another guest appearance in the video?  I can’t get enough of it!

Earlier in the week, I asked my Facebook and Twitter friends to guess which current, love-themed pop song I would be covering today.  Props to Kristen Bozard for nailing it, and an honorable mention to Jess Kaps for lots of awesome guesses.  Jess, you gave me some great ideas for future videos!  If the rest of you have additional suggestions, please leave them in the comments…because I am a total sucker for overplayed radio hits.

All Keyed Up!

NFMC Piano Festival

It’s that time of year again…my chapter of the National Federation of Music Clubs’ Junior Festival!  As a member, I have the opportunity to invite my students to participate; I’m super excited for the 9 who will be playing in the piano solo category on Sunday.  I kept the group small this year being a relative newcomer (this is only my 2nd year as a member), but I plan to enter most of my students in 2012.

Last year was a learning experience for both my students and I — in fact, I’m pretty sure that I was more nervous than they were.  (For the record, each of them received a superior rating.)  But now that I know what to expect, I’m looking forward to two weekends full of beautiful piano playing.  I have the best job as auditor, since my work happens after each performance.

My studio has been Festival-focused since October, and we are all ready to move on to new music.  But all of the hard work will be 100% worth it when I have lots of new pictures on the bulletin board of my students holding their certificates and wearing big smiles on their faces :)

Friday Fave: Dropbox

DropboxI love this illustration (source), because it totally reflects my feelings about Dropbox and how it has changed the way I share files.  I split my work between my laptop at home and my laptop at work, so up until recently, I’ve relied on USB flash drives, sending emails to myself, and uploading files to MobileMe in order to access them in both places.  Not anymore!

I have to credit Kimberly S. Moore with introducing me to Dropbox, which is a free application you can download from the internet to any computer (both Mac and PC) or mobile device.  The free account gives you 2 gigabytes of storage, though you can pay a monthly fee for more.

What I love is that Dropbox works just like another folder on your computer, so now instead of saving a copy of a document or project on both my computer and in another location, I can simply save it to Dropbox and then it’s right there when I need to access it from another computer.

Another cool feature is the ability to share folders with other people.  I share a folder with my Music Therapy Round Table cohosts and another with my husband.  It’s like magic: new files just appear in the folder when other people add them!

Just yesterday, I recorded instrumental tracks for 9 new songs at work.  Instead of compressing the Garageband projects into a zip file and saving them to my USB flashdrive, I simply saved them to Dropbox as-is and then opened them right up on my home computer to record the vocals.  Then I saved the WAV files to Dropbox, and am listening to them now as I type this :)

Have you used Dropbox yet?  If you work on multiple computers like I do, or want to access files on your phone, give it a try.  And then come back and tell me how much you love it!

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