A talented composer friend recently posted he will cease giving concerts of his music as a way to reprioritize his time and efforts. This led me to reflect upon myself as a composer and performing musician. I performed as a solo pianist or vocalist/pianist for more than 25 years. Gigging helped fund my college education, pay my bills, and build my private music (piano/voice) teaching studio (and involve me in many family and friend weddings/funerals).
But I actually never performed because I wanted to. I performed because I felt I had to; it’s an obvious way to make money as a musician (or give something to loved ones), and it was my somewhat sneaky vehicle to share original work that otherwise would remain unheard.
At this time of my life, I’ve happily let performance go to focus on composing and writing. I don’t miss carting around a heavy 88-key weighted action keyboard and a PA system! As my friend’s actions remind me, there comes a time to reprioritize what’s important!
I’ve always had an impulse to express something, whether in words or music. I was busy with my day jobs though, and only wrote in my limited spare free time. So for the first time in my life, I’m starting to hone in on what is most authentic and meaningful to me; expressing through music and words.
How about you? Have you changed or dropped something as a way to prioritize what's important to you now? Do you perform in addition to composing or writing? If so, what does that mean to you? If not, why not? Please comment below! And share this freely!
Our world is increasingly full of suffering, anger, violence and hopelessness. People are empty. I propose we respond with a different kind of revolution; starting with the emotional, psychological, spiritual core of each human being.
Imagine a world where a person from childhood is allowed to pursue play, music, art, and expressive creativity alongside studies, tests and assessments of science, math and language arts. Wouldn’t the human being that results from this kind of holistic approach be more fulfilled, suffer less from anxieties and be happier, in general? Of course there are plenty of studies and statistics supporting this. But, rather than approach things scientifically, I prefer the imaginative; How would this kind of person affect our current society?
I’m not saying a change in the public school system toward embracing more opportunities of creative outlet for students is the complete answer. I believe there’s far more to it than that. Further, I believe that each person needs to undergo an inner, spiritual revolution, which opens itself to a more extensive discussion. But I also think as a musician, music teacher, composer, writer and poet, and based on my own experiences, that the more opportunities given a person to express inner feelings and tap into a religious pursuit within one’s heart, the more well-rounded and spiritually, psychologically and emotionally fulfilled a person can be.
I have never known of a time in our world where this is more needed than right now.
In response to hate crimes that are becoming rampant and gun violence that has spun out of control, imagine how a person would evolve having spent quality time exploring their own feelings through writing, poetry or experiencing art or music. The very act of engaging in an artistic endeavor opens the spiritual life of an individual to realize a more compassionate universe.
The heart or essence of a musician, poet or any kind of artist, is that profound experience of connection between people and the universe. Providing opportunities for more people to get in touch with and develop that kind of inner life would bring a deeper, personal realization that diversity can be quite naturally embraced by the universality of our spiritual and humanistic connections. The arts can bring that internal awakening to every human being, whether or not one realizes one’s inherent creativity or not.
The very soul of the arts brings relief, comfort, courage, healing and compassion to life from within one’s own heart. That is why I believe more music, art, play, time with nature, literature, theater, or any kind of creative experience is crucial to bringing positive and holistic balance to our world.
At the very least, be inspired to do your part to get in touch with your inner life through creative endeavor. If each person were to exert effort toward this kind of holistic and creative nurturing of self, then, individual by individual, we could impact the people in our environment in such a positive way!
Every person with a solid sense of inner fulfillment is a force for good in the environment. Every person whose heart is filled with more compassion contributes uniquely toward creating a safer and more peaceful society.
So in addition to political, educational, economical and social reforms, I fully believe what is most necessary is this kind of inner revolution within the individual. In fact I believe this kind of personal inner life transformation is what is necessary to fuel those kinds of institutional and global changes.
If more focus were put on rejuvenating the inner life of each person, with the dignity and respect for life at its basis, imagine the direction these larger movements would have! Rather than being based on greed, power, and anger, changes in society would be based more on a compassionate connection between humans. This is the kind of revolution we need right now to heal and unite our world.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this topic. Please share, like and comment freely.
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
Anyone who knows me would probably use the word creative to describe me. Whether it’s through writing poetry, lyrics, music, essays, stories, playing piano, improvising on the piano or a drum, singing, creating a new addition to my growing garden, decorating my home, organizing a room, giving a presentation, tweaking a music lesson for my students in mid-stream, I know how to be creative. Ideas, thoughts, patterns, melodies, words, drama and humor burst forth from me as an unstoppable fountain.
I’ve had plenty of adult students respond that they are not creative, to which I’ve always responded, ‘Nonsense!’. Everyone is creative. Some of us have learned to tap it more naturally than others. Incidentally, I’ve never met a child who was not able to be creative. Young people are fully tapped into the creative dimension. They need no map to get there. Adults, however, are a different story. We lose our way sometimes, due to pressure from our daily responsibilities.
If you’ve lost your way or simply need some help getting connected to your creative side, here are some things I’ve learned about how to be imaginative:
Jenny Leigh Hodgins is a published writer, poet, lyricist, composer, vocalist, and pianist. She is director of and composer with Team4MusicandSound, a global audio post production team. Jenny Leigh has 30 years experience in music, piano, vocal and choral education and has performed for more than 25 years as a soloist throughout US and Japan. She is co-admin of multiple music-related social media groups (5400+ members), has coordinated promotional content, music-niche articles, scripts, podcasts, and multiple creative collaborations. Jenny Leigh holds a Bachelor of Music degree in music composition and her creative services are registered as JLH Creative Services, LLC.