Evan Tate's SaxTips eZine

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Ways to Cultivate Creativity

Whether or not you're an improvising musician or not, creativity is an integral part of this profession. We need creativity not only to find the best ways to play a passage, express a cadenza, whale a bluesy solo, or play the most interesting chord progressions over a modal tune. We need creativity first and foremost, in my opinion, to solve problems. We need it to adjust our intonation when blending with other instruments, to find an effective way to master our scales, arpeggios, chord progressions, trills, interpreting pieces and styles of music. Yes, we are called on to be creative more often than we probably have ever acknowledged.

Here are some tips you can try to cultivate and nurture your creativity:

1. Listen to music everyday. If you already do that, take advantage of listening to various styles of music. Go to your public library and dig out archived recordings of music you've never heard of and give them a listen. Please do this regularly.

2. Practice something your usually don't. If you're a jazzer, practice some classical etudes. If you're a classical saxophonist, explore some jazz exercises and articulations. Nothing expands your creativity as much as expanding your musical horizons.

3. Learn to play another instrument. If you don't have the time or patience for that, play the music of another instrument. Get a hold of an etude book for flute, oboe, violin, piano, recorder, guitar - and do some sight-reading.

4. Transcribe solos of another instrument. It's been known that Miles Davis often listened to guitar players. Dave Sanborn listened not only to Hank Crawford, but also Stevie Wonder's harmonica playing to get his soulful sound. Greg Osby listened to and transcribed piano solos. Expand your horizons! (You've heard that before, haven't you? :-))

5. If you're not already an avid reader, I suggest you take on this habit. Read! Read! Read! Read a book. Read a magazine. Read the music industry periodicals. Read lifestyle mags, fashion mags... If you don't read this stuff already, you can borrow them from your sister, brother, mother, father, girlfriend, boyfriend, neighbor, whatever the last guy left sitting on the seat in the bus, etc. Read stuff you've never read before. Read stuff you'd never had an interest in before (you may just be surprised).

6. Take 15 minutes a day, or an hour or two a week and think about how or what you could improve on in your present situation. Get creative! Write it down and put it into action. Today!

Evan Tate is a freelance musician/instructor and the author of "Way to Mastery: Saxophone". He holds a BM of Music from the Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Dr. Joe Allard and has over 20 years of professional playing and teaching experience and has performed at various jazz festivals and radio broadcasts. Since 1993, he is an endorser for Julius Keilwerth saxophones.
http://www.evantate.de or mailto:evan@evantate.de



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