Whether it’s a song you write but never show to anyone, planting a little herb garden, or cooking a dinner you’ve never cooked before, creating something can make you feel amazing. As musicians we’re used to creating all the time, but we’re also usually restricted by what the client wants to hear, the music you have to play in shows or concerts, and what you’re told to learn or practice.
The current situation has seen us all locked down in our houses and as a result, has opened up a really unique opportunity for creativity and more specifically, creating whatever YOU want to create.
I know that not all of us are in the position or the mind-set to create at the moment, for some us, it’s a struggle just to get up and brush our teeth in the morning! It’s okay if you don’t feel like doing anything productive or creative. But if you feel able, a unique opportunity awaits… No judgement, no prying ears, no clients to keep happy at a gig next weekend. However big or small you want your moment of creativity to be, you can take some time to prioritise what you want to create for once.
Why does creativity make us feel so good?
- GOALS: When you achieve a goal, no matter how small: when you write that song, when you learn to play that bass line or sing those notes, your body releases a hit of dopamine. Dopamine is a natural feel good chemical that makes us feel amazing and motivates us to carry on.
- FLOW STATE: I’m sure you’ll all have experienced flow state, when you play an instrument or start to sing… That feeling when you’re totally immersed and in the zone, time disappears and you’re just in the moment? That’s flow. Being in this state reduces anxiety, slows heart rate and floods your brain with dopamine which can help to motivate you.
- FOCUS: we have over 2000 thoughts an hour, and 60,000 thoughts a day!!! That’s pretty crazy. Focus the mind on one task, similar to meditation, to calm your body and mind. Activities from writing music through to playing an instrument, gardening or sewing can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
- BRAIN WORK: Neuroscientists have researched how musicians’ brains react when playing their musical instrument. They’ve shown that playing an instrument engages almost every area of the brain at once, combining creativity with maths and linguistics, usually dealt with by different sides of the brain. This leads to enhanced memory, problem solving, planning and attention to detail. Incredible.
How can you get into the creative zone during this time to get all of these benefits?
Here are some of our top tips:
1. Start with a project you’ve always wanted to work on.
If you have had an idea for a passion project swirling around your mind for a while or something you’ve always wanted to do; now is a great time to get started. ‘Just getting started’ and taking the first step, however small, is also an important way of getting to more important creative projects.
2. Get inspiration from the outside world and have fun.
We are allowed outside to exercise at the moment, and if you can, making the most of this time can reduce some of the stresses that cloud our creative minds. Play can also increase creativity, reducing inhibition and increasing confidence to try new things so have fun, kick a ball around and laugh. A lot.
3. Take time for what you need.
Don’t force it. This is a very different, unique time we’re all trying to muddle through in the best possible way. Let yourself do absolutely nothing. Some of the best ideas come to us when we’re in the shower, falling asleep, doing yoga, walking, playing, ultimately when our brains have the space and capacity to think and create.
4. What’s your passion?
Why do you love creating? Reminding yourself of the reason you took to music in the first place can be great motivation for a lockdown creative project. Old photos or videos of my musical career always do the trick for me, reminding me of just how much I love singing and song writing. It might be a music book for you, an album you released or an old instrument you haven’t picked up in years.
Try to avoid perfection
It’s important to say you don’t have to be Mozart when composing a piece of music for fun or Jacob Collier in working on harmony or split screen videos. We found an unopened Christmas game the other day with 4 kazoos and we had just as much fun learning to play 80s rock classics and Oasis songs on them.
This leads me onto one final point… What you’re creating at the moment doesn’t have to be GOOD and it doesn’t have to be PUBLIC, it just has to be fun. Whether you’re singing in the shower, improvising over a piece of music you love, or just listening to your favourite album with a pair of headphones, you don’t have to share this with anyone but you, and you’ll still experience all of these benefits and many more.
We’d love to hear from you:
How have you maintained your creativity in this time?
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As always, if you’d like to chat to us please get in touch