December 20, 2012

Fun or Work? Part One

Posted in music and writing, writing for fun tagged , at 9:49 am by Rebecca Hein

Far too many people regret their early music lessons, associating them with drudgery and boredom. What’s wrong with music pedagogy that practice and lessons become so tedious?

Part of the problem is that conscientious teachers want to make sure their students learn proper technique and good practice habits. So they focus on correct hand position, getting the right notes, and other detailed tasks. In the long run, there’s no doubt that these make playing easier and more fun—if the student stays with it that long.

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December 12, 2012

No Artifice, Part Five

Posted in music and writing tagged , at 4:02 pm by Rebecca Hein

Perfect spontaneity in writing can produce such a good first draft that sometimes only a few minor revisions are needed. When you achieve this, you know you’ve entered a new and more productive zone.

But how do you get there? Not with too much time spent directly aiming for your best work.

I learned this in music when I’d spend long hours practicing hard pieces. My attention was totally taken up with getting the notes right and trying to fill the holes in my technique that prevented full mastery of a passage. Thus, no attention was left over for pure enjoyment.

Likewise, in writing, you have to turn away from what’s hardest, at least some of the time. Not out of laziness, but because the easy flow of words, when achieved again and again, sets up a vibration within your being that eventually sounds the deeper chords of creativity.

December 5, 2012

No Artifice, Part Four

Posted in music and writing tagged at 3:26 pm by Rebecca Hein

Artifice is the structure in a musical composition or novel that helps prop it up and give it internal unity. Probably it’s necessary to preserve this coherence, yet if the elements of a work of art become too numerous or complicated, the audience is confused.

The advantage of no artifice is that simplicity is preserved. The reader doesn’t have to wonder what you’re driving at because it’s absolutely clear. And it’s glorious to write a piece so transparent that anyone can grasp it.