creativity

Balancing Spring Energy Checklist

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HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SPRING!

(No, it doesn't feel like spring outside yet, I live in Minnesota.)

After a pretty rough winter, the spring equinox is long-awaited, even if it’s only a ceremonial beginning. Despite the fact that it’s not warm yet for many of us in Northern climates, we’re still feeling the energy of spring already - we’ve gained lots of daylight in the last month, and the sun angle is now much higher.

Coming out of dark, hibernation mode into bright, active mode is more of a shock to the system than we realize, though, so if you feel unsettled or anxious around this time of year, that’s normal. If you're having a hard time adjusting to the changing seasons, there's nothing wrong with you - it's probably because transitions are hard and take a lot of energy (even long-awaited, positive ones). ⠀⠀

I usually forget this every year, but this year I finally remembered to mentally prepare for my increased anxiety and restlessness - spring comes with more stimuli and energy. I've heard others say that spring is a tough mental health time of year for them, too, but it seems like “YAY SPRING” is the more mainstream narrative, so it doesn’t get talked about as much. ⠀

Balancing Spring Energy Checklist

If you've been following along with me for any length of time, you might know that my most critical daily habit is taking a walk, and that's been a potent strategy for dealing with the excess of energy I've been processing, and on one of those walks this week, my overactive mind came up with an actionable checklist for what to do when you feel this way. (Thanks, brain!)

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If you're feeling the same way about spring, you can download that right here (and it's also good for anytime you're feeling scattered or anxious).

I hope that this resource ishelpful for you - it certainly has been for me, and I’m revisiting these strategies constantly (because self-care is a practice!)

If you need extra support to keep yourself feeling like a full and healthy human during this season, I offer a few different ways of working with me through Coaching for Creative Wellness, including email coaching for people on a budget or with less time to schedule a call.

I also have some free resources available here, as well as my weekly newsletter which is chock-full of supportive real talk about staying well while doing creative work. Sign up at the bottom of the page!

If you're having a tough time right now, you're not alone, and it will pass. Treat yourself well in the meantime, you deserve it! ❤️⠀

What do you do to take care of yourself during the transition into spring? Let me know in the comments!

Take Care of Yourself By Making Small Changes (Guest Post on NewMusicBox)

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by making changes in a new year, you’re not alone! I’m scaling way back on the amount of goals and aspirations I’m setting in 2019 (more about that in my next post), in favor of honoring rest and detaching myself as much as I can from being achievement-focused. That doesn’t mean I want to do nothing, but I do want to make sure that I execute goals and new habits in a sustainable way.

I got to write all about that in a guest post (Take Care of Yourself By Making Small Changes) for NewMusicBox, the online magazine of NewMusicUSA!

I talk about some of my favorite topics like mindset, burnout, rest, habits and routines, and self-compassion (the biggest game-changer), and this stuff works no matter the time of year.

Hop on over to NewMusicBox to read it!

Holiday Self-Care Roundup

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Somehow it’s December again? I don’t know what happened.

I also feel like it’s already been winter forever (since I live in Minnesota and it actually did snow on October 14 this year). So, you know what that means:

Time to up our self-care!

(And we probably need more than we normally give ourselves, anyway!)

Here’s a round-up of useful blog posts and podcasts that I hope will help you stay more grounded and present this holiday season:

This is one of my most popular posts ever, and it has plenty of applicable stuff for creatives of all types, not just musicians.

Tracy Benjamin from Shutterbean has some great quick tips, and I love the visual style of her blog, especially her handwriting!

Angela Beeching, a career consultant for musicians, highlights gratitude as a way to not only de-stress, but ultimately to help your career. I love how she focuses on mindset.

We always talk about what to do during the busy lead-up to the holidays, but Lauren Cummins of StarHaus Psychotherapy, who created the Self Care Solitaire decks that I really like, wisely focuses on how to take care of yourself afterwards, as well. She also has some good ideas about how to embrace winter here.

PODCAST EPISODES

If you’ve been following along with my posts for any length of time, you probably know how much I love Mara Glatzel’s work and podcast. In my opinion, the most important factor in taking care of ourselves is knowing what we need and giving ourselves permission to go after it.

I loved this episode because it focused not just on being over doing, but also talked about rituals as a way of connecting to the winter season (I’m all for trying to make friends with winter!)

This episode with physician Beth Ricanati focuses on baking as a ritual for self-care (since that’s what her book is about), but encourages us to give ourselves permission (there’s that word again, why is it so hard sometimes?) to take time for self-care.

EDIT: I also did a Facebook live about holiday self-care, which you can watch here!

I hope that these resources are helpful for you - they certainly have been for me, and I’m revisiting them this season (because self-care is a practice, and wellness is always a moving target).

If you need extra support to keep yourself feeling like a full and healthy human during this season, I offer a few different ways of working with me through Coaching for Creative Wellness, including email coaching for people on a budget or with less time to schedule a call.

I also have some free resources available here, as well as my weekly newsletter which is chock-full of supportive real talk about staying well while doing creative work. Sign up at the bottom of the page!

What do you do to take care of yourself during the winter and/or holiday season? Let me know in the comments!

5 Tips for Creatives to Bring Wellness Into Their Lives

Anyone who’s ever talked to me about nutrition in the last year has heard me sing the praises of Lucia Hawley from Essential Omnivore, who I worked with to revamp my diet last summer. Or you might have seen me feature her in a Sunday Shout-out early this year. Her mission is “to teach diet perfectionists how to bring calm back to their bodies from the inside out”, and I totally appreciate how she keeps it real while helping people make sustainable changes to their overall health. 

Lucia invited me to contribute a guest post over on Essential Omnivore, 5 Tips for Creatives to Bring Wellness Into Their Lives, which you can read right here. We could all use more wellness in our lives, right? Especially in an easy and actionable way? (Yes!)

I’m also going to be a guest on her podcast this fall, airdate TBD - stay tuned for that!

(Edit: Here’s the link to my episode of the Essential Omnivore podcast!)

 This is the album cover!

In album-related news, I submitted my artwork and master this week, so my CDs have begun production! 🎉🎉🎉

The official album release date is coming up soon on October 24, and you’ll be able to buy and stream it through all of the usual places - stay tuned for more details on that.

And, if you’re in Minneapolis/St. Paul, you’re invited to my album release show on October 18, featuring all of the guest musicians on the album (Tim O’Keefe, percussion, Jenny Klukken, marimba, and Laura Harada, violin). I’m also planning on live-streaming it. More details here.

If you want to stay in the loop on the album and upcoming gigs, be sure to hop on my gig mailing list here!

Virtual Office Hours Now Open!

I'm excited to announce that Virtual Office Hours are now open to the public! I'm offering free 30-minute conversations about the challenges of creative work, including: 

  • Finding and honoring your priorities
  • Making small + sustainable changes
  • Creating more ease and balance in your work and life
  • Developing and keeping healthy habits
  • Managing time
  • Avoiding burnout
  • Adjusting your mindset
  • Moving through creative blocks⠀

If you want some new perspective on any of these things, let's chat! 

Sign up for a free appointment here, and if you don't see any times that work for you, feel free to send me an email to see if we can work something out - I'd love to hear from you! 


And, it's getting SO CLOSE to Kickstarter launch day - just 4 days away. I have a really fun video that I can't wait to share with you on Tuesday, so stay tuned!

If you want to stay in the loop on the Kickstarter and upcoming gigs, be sure to hop on my mailing list here!

What’s your biggest challenge as a person who does creative work? Let me know in the comments. 

My Creativity Manifesto + Amazing News!

As I ponder my new projects (one of which has to do with the amazing news at the end of this post!), and ways that my work might pivot in the coming year, I’ve been pondering big questions like, “What do I stand for?” and “What do I know to be true?”

I’ve had this document going for a couple years now, but I kept postponing posting it because it never felt done. I realize now that, of course, it didn’t feel done because a personal creativity manifesto is the kind of thing that’s always evolving!

I also feel like I need to elaborate on each point, but each one could probably become its own post (some have already, and some will in the future). So, I’m sharing the current version, in list format. (See #35: Done is better than perfect, plus I’m all about sharing my process!) These are the things that I know to be true for myself (and many of these statements are pretty universal):

Everyone is creative (even you).

No one needs permission to create, or to call themself an artist, writer, musician, composer, etc.! We decide how (or how not) to label ourselves.

It’s valuable to think of myself as creative - we miss out on some ways to be creative if we don’t think we are.

Creativity has much less to do with talent than with consistent effort (supported by healthy habits).

I have time to be creative, even if I think I don’t. I just also have to be creative with my time.

People are also doing amazing creative things without realizing it - creativity shows up in so many places besides art.

Don’t worry about creating something completely original that’s never been done before - work is original because it comes from a unique individual.

Just make lots of things, some will be better than others - we have to make some bad stuff to get to the good stuff (and if we persist, we definitely will).

Since creativity is a practice, different types of creativity feed the others, and the whole person (don't forget about physical movement).

Draw inspiration from other disciplines and creative careers. The creative process is endlessly fascinating, in any format.

CREATIVITY IS SELF-CARE.

I need to play and write music, or I start to feel a bit depressed and drained of life.

Self-care is essential - not taking care of oneself is like slash-and-burn agriculture - nothing will grow if there are no nutrients left in the soil.

Creating a sense of ease/flow around my creative habit helps “fertilize the soil”.

Wellness and creativity depend on each other. I will continue to explore this interdependency.

I don’t always have to know what I’m doing, in fact, maybe sometimes it’s better not to!

I need enough white space in my schedule to support and make time for creativity. The “hustle” can make creativity (and my life force!) dry up.

I need more time to process things, whether daily events, things I’m writing about, big successes/failures, or how to approach a project.

Even though being an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) can be difficult, sensitivity is also a super power for my life as a musician.

Creativity can happen in small bits at a time. Small bits add up to large things.

Even if I feel fragmented (because the variety of a “mosaic of jobs” is a reality and a survival strategy), pieces can be rearranged to make something new and profound (or, the path may not be clear, but it sorts itself out, bit by bit).  

Prioritize joy - it’s most worth doing work that I’m excited about - creation is hard work but hard work can feel easy.

It’s important to me to share music, and hopefully bring others joy in the process (especially Brazilian music!)

I love working on my own, but also love making music with other people. As an introvert, I have to balance the two wisely.

I need to be disciplined (as in forming a daily composing habit) but keep it fun enough that the work has room to breathe (also a balancing act).

I will support peers in their creative projects (especially women) - by going to shows, sharing info/links, etc. (I'm doing weekly Sunday Shout-Outs on Instagram.)

It’s really important for me to create a welcoming space for others to share their work, and to encourage others’ creativity.

I will never: make someone feel bad about what they’ve created, discriminate based on style of music (or anything else), or pressure or guilt people around their creative habits.

I want everyone to be able to feel: welcomed, inspired, capable, excited to make things, nurtured by keeping a creative habit, fearless (or fearful but doing it anyway), open to sharing their goals, and encouraging of others (a rising tide lifts all boats).

We are all works in progress - art AND life are experiments. We all have permission to figure it out as we go (because that’s actually how it works).

Action > inaction (especially via overthinking and “research” as procrastination.)

There’s no shame in utilizing external accountability if needed (yes, I’m an Obliger). 

I will share my process and journey openly, in hopes of helping others feel less alone.

I would rather make something more slowly to remain in accordance with my values BUT...

Done is better than perfect.

Where I am currently is right where I’m supposed to be in my career/life/etc.

Creating the work is ultimately more important to me than any self-doubts or fraudy feelings, so I have to work through those by focusing on my mindset.

I am committed to my personal evolution as a human and a musician (human comes first). This list will also keep evolving!

COMING SOON: MY FIRST ALBUM!

And now for the amazing news: I am thrilled to announce that I've received a grant through MacPhail Center for Music (one of the places I teach), funded by the McKnight Foundation, toward recording my first album this summer! All three of these original compositions in Brazilian styles will be included, in addition to a bunch of my arrangements of Brazilian songs, and the whole album will include Tim O'Keefe on percussion, among other guests. I'll be raising additional funds to complete the project, so look for that crowdfunding campaign in the near future, to pre-order the album!

I invite you to think about what’s in your personal creativity manifesto AKA what you stand for as an artist. I bet you have more thoughts on this than you realize!

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Let me know in the comments!

11 of My Favorite Books On Creativity

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite books related to creativity. I’m always reading at least one book at any given time, maybe more, if I accidentally reserve too many library books at the time, so I’ve discovered a lot of good ones, but am always on the lookout for more. (Obsessive library patron for 30 years here!)

You may notice that very few of these books are geared specifically toward musicians, but there aren’t that many of those out there for the casual reader (a search for “music creativity books” returns almost entirely academic titles). No matter, creativity is creativity - all of this advice can be adapted across disciplines, and I sometimes find it more interesting to get new perspectives from people in other disciplines, anyway!

The subtitle of this one is: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, which really gets to the heart of what makes being a creative person difficult (inner critics, The Resistance, roadblocks of all types), with a good dose of kick-in-the-pants (don’t worry, it’s not too harsh). Totally essential reading for all people in creative fields.

This one has been around for a long time (over 25 years), for good reason - the 12 weeks of exercises in the book are really helpful in getting through creative blocks. I confess that I've never made it all the way through (yet!), but the concepts of Artist Date (taking your inner artist out for a weekly intriguing date) and Morning Pages (3 pages of morning freewriting, preferably before you’re awake enough to think too hard about it) are things I have come back to again and again. (One caveat: some people find it overly spiritual, but if that annoys you, just skip over that stuff, it’s still worthwhile.)

This one is full of nuggets of truth about the creative process, and how it can be scary to own your identity as a writer/artist/musician/whatever it may be. Even though a lot of the stuff in here was familiar to me, there are so many great stories from specific people about how the magic happens (or doesn’t happen) when they’re creating, and who can’t use some extra encouragement to keep your creative habit going

Bonus: check out her podcast, Magic Lessons - each episode features a writer who’s stuck and gets connected with a famous person in their field for advice - super inspiring!

Based on a speech that consisted of 10 things Austin Kleon wished he’d known when starting out, this is a quick read with a cool aesthetic, by a visual artist who is known for doing blackout poems (pages from newspapers or books with all but a handful of words blacked out). The title refers to embracing your influences - we all internalize a mishmash of things and mix them up, so don’t worry so much about originality. He also addresses the importance of connecting to others and getting to know them in a genuine way (which is a bigger part of an artist’s job that we sometimes admit).

This book isn’t exactly about creativity, but centers around “creating goals with soul”, which is the underpinning of everything - most of us create art because we want to do work that feels meaningful. The heart of it is the question, “How do you want to feel?”, guiding you through a bunch of writing, which ultimately gets distilled down to a few core desired feelings that can act as your North Star. That has really changed the way I think about my life and work.

This one maybe isn’t for everyone (depends on your tolerance for the conceptual and bizarre), but I think it’s pretty delightful. I love getting a glimpse into Yoko Ono’s mind and totally new ways to think about the world. Each page is a different piece, most with an instruction like “Send the sound of a smile,” “Stand in the evening light until you become transparent,” or simply, “Touch each other.”

Well, technically, it is a book, but it’s more of an experience (or, you decide what it is!) It’s filled with prompts that encourage you to use it in different ways - as a voyage (tear out the page and fold it into a boat), a musical instrument (flip the pages quickly), a recording device (writing names down), a secret message to leave for someone, a scrapbook, a photo album, etc. It’s all handwritten, with plenty of cool visuals and space to create each exercise - really fun.

I first discovered Katie through her podcast (also called Let It Out) that centers around wellness and deep conversations, then discovered her book on journaling. I’ve always wanted to be a regular journaler (not just a moody one, hah!), because when I write, it helps me sort out my thoughts like nothing else does. This book is filled with helpful prompts for different situations: productivity, organization, enjoying the moment, abundance, health, and, of course, feelings! It’s really helped me when I didn’t know where to get started writing, and writing more often has helped me clarify the direction of my career - invaluable!

I always love reading about the routines of other creative people (and I love Twyla Tharp’s method of making a physical box for each project, to dump everything into), but this book is much more than that - it has many exercises to support having good work habits (not exciting as the thought of conjuring magical ideas, but so necessary!), as well as honest advice to kick you out of being stuck.

Here’s one that’s actually specifically about music! My strongest memory of this book is of lying in bed on the day of my senior recital in college, looking for some inspiration that would make me less nervous about the looming performance. I discovered this book (and Kenny Werner’s music) earlier that year when he came to do a masterclass at Ithaca College, where I was studying at the time, and the ideas about mindset, the normalcy of struggle in the pursuit toward mastery, and mindfulness have stuck with me since.

I think that a lot of us can relate to the feeling that we’re drawn to creating music/art/whatever it may be, almost like it chose us instead of the other way around. Even so, there are so many potential obstacles that may diffuse this passion, or we might convince ourselves that other (more practical?) things are more important (the Shoulds), and this book empowers us to choose Must (our true desire, the work that gives us purpose) instead of Should. Also, Elle Luna is a co-creator of the 100 Day Project, the global daily art project that I participated in last year, which I’m so grateful I committed to!

* Heads up: these are affiliate links. 

If you have other favorites, share them below - I’m always looking to add to my stash of books to recommend!

7 Ways to Get Inspired to Compose When You're Not Feeling It

The consensus around here (I live in Minnesota) is that we've had enough winter. Too bad it's still early February, and the malaise has already set in, which might be making it hard to create. If you’ve been reading the blog for any length of time, you know I love this quote from Chuck Close:

You also probably know that I’m a big believer in forming daily habits instead of just waiting around for inspiration (which may never come), but the fact remains: some days we’re just not feeling it. Hopefully you have some kind of daily habit that you’re committed to, so you work through the resistance on those days, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Here are some quick tricks for getting started, even when you’re not in the mood to create:

1) Try a change of scenery

Although we pianists can’t take our instruments with us (but maybe you can), that doesn’t really matter. Taking a walk or a short jaunt to the coffee shop can get your mind in a different place so you have new ideas when you return.

2) Play music that feels good

On Monday I was in a tired/anxious mood and I fully turned it around by chugging a little Natural Calm and heading to the piano (away from a screen!) to play some deeply-grooving samba while standing and kind of dancing around (full disclosure: I’m glad no one was watching). It totally changed my mindset and got me excited to write!

3) Do something else that feels good (then get back to writing) 

Figure out a small action that would feel good - maybe it’s eating a square of chocolate, taking a minute to stretch, or petting your dog or cat. Anything to get you in a more positive vibe can only help.

4) Give yourself permission to write whatever

If you’re freaking out about not having any good ideas, just gently try to let that idea go, and remember that we always have to create lots of less-good stuff in order to get to the good stuff. Ira Glass sums this problem up pretty well: 

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So that means creating anything, regardless of its quality, is still a critical part of your creative process and evolution as a creative person. In other words, tell your inner judge to pipe down (at least temporarily), and just write.

5) Write something bad on purpose

You can take that idea one step further, and just decide to write something "bad". Odds are, it won’t be that bad, and it’ll help you release any pressure you might be putting on yourself to create something great.

6) Close your eyes and listen to whatever pops into your head

What you hear in your head might be a sound, a few notes, or it might be an existing song of someone else’s, but no matter, it’s a starting point. That familiar song could be something that you create variations on, or the sound might evoke an interval or rhythmic motive, enough to get you started!

7) Get random!

Sometimes you just need an unexpected idea to get you started. Here are a bunch of random generators:

I hope these ideas can help you get started when you’re feeling stuck or resistant - it happens to all of us!

What’s your favorite way to get yourself going when inspiration is lacking? Feel free to share in the comments!

Productivity Tips to Support Your Creativity

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The weekend before last, I started coming down with a cold on Saturday, rested over the weekend, and somehow felt worse on Monday for the start of the work week. I wasn’t sick enough to justify cancelling things, so I had to come up with a way to expend the least amount of energy while also fulfilling my responsibilities (including writing my daily 8 measures for 100 More Days of Writing Music).

Certainly if you’re feeling really sick, take the day off, take a nap, do whatever you need to do (and don’t get this cold, it lasted for 10 days!) But, I know that’s not always an option, so here are some things that helped me get through the day in the most productive way possible:

  1. Self-Control app (for Mac, but there are similar ones for PC) to block social media from my computer (and I have no social media apps on my phone except Instagram). Seriously, this app has saved me from all of those times where I'd get the "twitch" (credit to Anthony Ongaro for that term), and would start mindlessly clicking and scrolling because my task was no longer comfortable.

  2. Don’t keep email open - only open at very few specified times. There aren't going to be any emergencies arriving via email.

  3. Only make a short to-do list (<5 items that must be done), in the exact order that I'll do them, which eliminates the indecision of deciding what to do next, or bobbing between things and never really starting anything (not that that sounds familiar...)

  4. Do as little work at the computer as possible (to avoid getting spaced out and/or easily distracted). This is easier for me when I'm practicing or composing at the piano, of course.

  5. Buckets of water and tea to drink. Staying hydrated makes a huge difference in my mental clarity.

  6. Smelling this Mental Clarity oil (so refreshing and invigorating).

  7. Short breaks for meditation or lying down whenever I'm dragging. Staring out the window is okay.

  8. Repeat after me: "Done is better than perfect."

I discovered that, even when my head felt like it was filled with applesauce, by eliminating more distractions I was able to free up enough space to allow the conduit of creativity to be open. On Monday my daily composing habit was extremely easy and poured right out of me, and the idea for this post came to me so quickly while I was in the shower that I had to rush to finish and write it all down!

Now, I’m not necessarily saying that there’s a direct correlation between these things, but if we set up the conditions for creativity to happen, it’s more likely to show up. After all, it’s not like we are totally in control of creating the thing. If we show up, it will. Or if it doesn’t today, it will tomorrow - just show up every day and be ready to receive.

I love this quote because the man is spot on.

I love this quote because the man is spot on.

If you need some help sticking to new habits, or deciding which habits to take on to support your creativity, I have just the thing for you: a free habit tracker worksheet!

Ironically (or maybe not ironically), I get more done when I’m not obsessing about being perfectly productive, and I am much less stressed out, too. Win / win / win.

In other news, despite the sickness, I have been working overtime the last two weeks, finishing up my MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) certification projects, which I finally completed today! So, if all goes well, I will soon be a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (woo hoo!) Now I have extra energy to put into my upcoming gigs (I have 3 in the next week), more composing, and of course, some relaxing! I'm wishing you the same. 

What do you have planned for your weekend?

5 Podcasts That Spark Creativity

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Early in the week, my internet was out for 24 hours, and while trying not to use mobile data, I realized how much I listen to podcasts and how much I missed them! Today I’m going to feature some favorite podcasts. I am definitely a podcast junkie, so I’ll narrow it down a little: favorite podcasts that inspire my creativity.

1) Creativity Drill

Jonathan and Dawn Rundman talk to creative people of all types about life. Jonathan is a musician, and Dawn is a psychologist - combine that with interesting guests, and you get wonderfully thoughtful conversations. I always love hearing about people’s creative processes, even if they’re not musicians. This one looks like it’s not being updated currently, but there’s a whole archive to dig into.

2) Pratfalls Podcast

The Pratfalls Podcast, hosted by Levi Weinhagen, used to be Pratfalls of Parenting, conversations with artists/creatives who are also parents, which I always enjoyed, even as a non-parent - it’s all about the great conversations, regardless of the guest’s status as parent or not. I always appreciate the vulnerability that results from it, a side effect of “the relationship between making cool things and being a person in the world”, as the podcast describes itself.

3) #CreateLounge

The Create Lounge podcast, hosted by Kayla Hollatz, focuses mostly on creative entrepreneurs, and often covers business topics and the intersection and balance of business and life (self-care). I like hearing about how other self-employed creative people are making it work in their business - even ideas from non-musicians give me interesting possibilities to think about that I might be able to use. Bonus: Kayla hosts a vibrant Twitter chat every Wednesday night, and has all kinds of insights on how to build a thriving community.

4) Magic Lessons

Magic Lessons is Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast based on her last book Big Magic, about inspiration, the creative process, and working through our fears as we go. Each episode features a call from someone who’s feeling creatively stuck and would like some coaching from Elizabeth, but she also calls another successful person in the field to join in and impart some wisdom. It always makes me feel like whatever has been holding me back doesn’t need to. I still haven’t finished season 2 because I want to make sure to savor it and absorb all of the gems.

5) Composer Quest

Composer Quest, hosted by Charlie McCarron, is my favorite music podcast - I love hearing the conversations about the composition process, and discovering new music by interesting people from all genres and parts of the world. Sadly, it is soon coming to an end, but also has included bi-monthly composing quests that anyone could participate in (which I never did for some reason - I suppose that I still could go back and do them!) There are very few music composition podcasts out there, so it will be missed, but there are so many episodes to go back and re-listen to.

BONUS: Hidden Brain Episode #53: Embrace the Chaos

Learning about human minds and behavior always fascinates me, and Hidden Brain always gives me something to think about, but the current episode (#53) is about being messy (literally or figuratively), and how it can aid your creativity. The most memorable part, to me, was the mention of Keith Jarrett’s Koln concert (one of the most popular jazz albums of all time), which almost didn’t happen. When he arrived at the concert hall, he found a piano that he deemed unplayable, even after a last-minute tuning. Then, after being begged to stay and play the concert anyway, he finally agreed, but the instrument’s issues forced him to stay within the mid-range notes and to use a heavy playing style to get sound out of it - the limitations imposed by the situation still yielded something great.

As I work through some blocks with my current arranging projects, I’m trying to embrace this idea by shaking up my routine and methods in unexpected ways. As Caroline Winegeart said in her recent blog post, if you’re a planner by nature, you just have to work experimentation into the plan.

Even though I clearly have a problem and will never get through all of the podcast subscriptions I already have, I’m always looking for awesome new ones to get into - what are your favorite podcasts that spark your creativity?