Staying Loose

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.
Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
Scott Adams

We’ve been trafficking in some pretty heavy thinkers so far, and I’m sure that Scott Adams (the creator of “Dilbert”) would be bemused to share space with Proust and Eliot.  But he has more than earned his place by reassuring us that we may embrace the inevitable mistakes that are a part of our landscape.

It’s an exercise in futility to approach an audition – or any high-stakes performance – as an opportunity to deliver flawlessness.  It’s not that we shouldn’t set the bar high; but there are missed opportunities in not realizing that there are take-aways in what might seem the most heinous and frustrating experiences. Recovering from a memory slip, remembering to stay in the moment when a big technical moment doesn’t go as you planned, finding reassurance in your technique when you’re faced with a challenging acoustic – all of these things illuminate our artistry in mundane but important ways.

Jazz musicians have this down. “Classical” players and singers will never quite enjoy the same amount of creative freedom (and terror:)), but if you keep your eyes, ears, and minds open, you’ll realize that not every mistake is a loss, and not every surprise is bad.

As we go through the week, we’ll honor the value of preparation, practice and hard work. There’s no avoiding it, and I’d be the last to recommend skimping. But in addition to acquiring critical information through elbow grease, we also earn the right to relax. And once we’ve done the work, we must promise ourselves to let go of the worry.

“The world’s a stage and most of us
are desperately unrehearsed.”
Sean O’Casey

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