One reason that I believe music education is such a powerful formative activity is the diversity of that experience. From the solitude of practicing scales and the fundamentals of your instrument to the excitement of performing in front of a live audience with a combo, band, or orchestra, the music student experiences extremes that provide a well-rounded foundation that can facilitate success in so many endeavors.
In this article by Leo Babauta entitled “The No. 1 Habit of Highly Creative People,” he identifies solitude, or the ability to clear your mind, reflect, and meditate alone as a key to creativity. He provides thoughts and testimonials from highly creative minds (Article link).
The concept that creativity strikes like lightning is the exception. Creative people generally hone their skills by dedicating time to their craft, and those with the discipline to do so are generally more creative.
In the book The War of Art: Break Through the Block and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, author Steven Pressfield echoes those sentiments. In this passage, Pressfield quotes English dramatist and novelist W. Somerset Maugham. When asked if he wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration, Maugham responded, “I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”
Similarly, Pressfield himself states, “There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing that’s the hard part. What’s hard is sitting down to write.”
You can read Pressfield’s extended thoughts on this topic at his website and his May 26, 2010 blog post entitled “Do It Anyway.”
Want to write the next great pop song, symphony, novel, or screenplay? Put away the iPhone, turn off the TV, find a setting that stimulates your muse, lock out the noise, and get started!