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7 No-Brainer Daily Habits That Will Boost Your Musical Creativity

It doesn't get more "creative genius" than Brian Wilson. (Photo by Takahiro Kyono via Wikimedia Commons; used under Creative Commons)

As a musician, how should you live your life? If you said "suffering," then we need to talk. Sure, there will always be aspects of persistence, letdowns, and struggles, but if you’ve been programmed to believe that the only way to create is to suffer, then you’re hitting this journey already at a deficit.

It’s sad how many artists think that their only connection to creation is sorrow. I mean, look at the plight of some of the greats! Too many have left this earth well before their time. I’m not saying that they consciously chose to live in sorrow, but I believe it worked its way into their lives in one way or another until they couldn’t separate themselves from it.

I see how it could help to channel emotions for a sad song when you’re freshly broken up with, but that doesn’t mean you should string together bad relationships in order to write your next album. You don’t need a torrid life of melancholy to receive inspiration – you simply need to be open to inspiration. I’m from the school that positivity breeds success, and nothing too positive can be accomplished if you’re operating at either extreme of your emotional spectrum. I realize that reads a bit like a PSA for depression, but positivity and motivation go a long way. That advice extends beyond your art to decisions in your everyday life.

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One of the most important things that I tell young artists is to embrace their status as a business of one – a sole proprietorship, if you will. It may not always be that way, but when you’re first starting out and trying to build your brand, you have to face the fact that no one besides your parents cares if you sink or swim – and even they may secretly wish that you became an accountant like your cousin, Earl.

The key is to proudly don the titles of founder, CEO, marketer, sales team, and vile henchman. This is no easy task. It takes a great deal of commitment, research, stick-to-itiveness, tenacity, guts, and humility. My suggestion is to find a decent money job that doesn’t completely suck your soul, and then get creative.

How to Live a More Creative, Positive Life

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If you read my last article on creativity, you’ve hopefully made a resolve to change your approach to a creative life – leaving the self-judgment, pressure, and expectations on the sidelines, and availing yourself to your innate gifts. That, my friends, is an epiphany.

Let’s dive a little deeper and talk about some tools you can use so your creativity always answers. Because, trust me, if you’re too needy, it’ll screen your calls like a scorned ex on Valentine’s Day and post nasty things about you on Facebook. Trust.

5 Must-Have Apps if You Want to Get Better at Music (That Are Actually Really Fun)

If you’re like me, you’re always working to improve your craft. That means staying on top of new technology and gear, allowing yourself to be influenced by incredible artists, and continuously learning new things. This can translate to large investments, and let’s be honest – as musicians, there isn’t always positive cash flow. I don’t know too many people who can afford $100 per week for private lessons or thousands for online courses.

Instead, many of us have turned to the app store as our one-stop learning hub. From the simplest in theory to polyrhythms, there’s an app for that. Here are my top five choices for iPhone and iPad music-education apps, beginner to expert.

Musician Life, opinion

Feb 9, 2016 09:00 AM

Jonathan Hack

Musicians: Here's the Thing About Creativity That Took Me Way Too Long to Learn

Image via Wikimedia Commons

This is a perspective I wish I had long ago. Creativity is a funny thing. It’s arguably in all of us, yet it isn’t always easy to access. In fact, sometimes it's downright fickle – here one moment and gone the next. It occurs to me that we appeal to our creativity for so many things that it couldn't possibly keep up: fulfillment, release, expression, notoriety, escape, and money (to name a few). Perhaps the last is the most troublesome.