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Musical Play & Creativity

Are you curious to explore your natural human musical creativity in new ways? Would you love more play in your life?

We live in a musical world, and there is a whole world of music within all of us. But relatively few of us create music, in a making-it-up-as-I-go-along kind of way. Is it because only a few “talented” people are musically creative? Or is this simply a widely held assumption and belief that cuts us off from our natural musical creativity?

Music adds so much to our lives, we only have to try and imagine life without it to see how true this is. Imagine never again hearing a melody, song or instrument playing. No dancing. No soundtracks to movies. No concerts or gigs. Music is so interwoven into our experience as an inherent part of being human, life without it is hard to conceive.

Despite music being such a deeply valued and fulfilling part of human experience, in many cultures, especially in the West, we largely make musical creativity something exclusive, a special activity for “talented” people only. If we don’t consider ourselves as falling into the talented category, it is often something we don’t even consider exploring, especially if we have no or little musical education.

What if we don’t need any “talent” or training to be musically creative? What if we were to simply make sounds with our voices and instruments that we “don’t know how to play”? What if, in that not knowing what we’re doing, there are infinite creative possibilities available to us… and a magic that happens when we’re willing to simply play, with the innocence of a child, without the need to sound a particular way?

There are 7 principles we can use for inspiration and guidance in the exploration and enjoyment of our musical creativity:

  • All human beings can create and play music, with what’s already inside of us
  • Every sound is “right”, there’s no wrong way to create
  • Play, with effortlessness and ease
  • Prioritising our pleasure
  • Acknowledging our freedom
  • Following the flow 
  • Fun!

I work with people who have never explored creating music, and experienced musicians who wish to expand and deepen their musical creativity. We meet in your comfort zone, and start from there. Get in touch to learn more about one-to-one sessions and workshops and read my own story of exploring my musical creativity below.

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I started to learn to play violin at school when I was 9 years old, but gave up after being shamed in class by a teacher for being upset that I was struggling to learn to read music. When I was 12, I wanted to learn to play clarinet, but was told by a music teacher that I didn’t have the right shaped lips. So in my childhood, I concluded that music just wasn’t for me, until I started to sing in private when I was alone in my late teens. I practiced doing new things with my voice by singing along with other singers (Annie Lennox, Tori Amos, Tracey Chapman and Jewel, to name a few). After a few of years doing this, one day I plucked up the courage to sing for a friend. Then I sang at a dinner party, and then again and again, at larger and larger groups. 

Then one day in my early twenties, when I was writing a poem, a melody came with it. I recorded it into an old tape cassette recorder, and that was how my first song happened. I was blessed to be living in Galway on the West Coast of Ireland at the time, a place abundant with creative musicians who encouraged me to start performing locally. I performed the first public gig of my own songs in 2001 at the age of 23 having never played an instrument, singing them accompanied by a guitar player. 

I started playing guitar shortly afterward, and sometimes used it to write songs, but often just used my voice and tape recorder to play around with different ideas. I started playing piano at age 30 after one day sitting in front of one and randomly putting my fingers on the keys. It was a thrilling, jaw-dropping moment, because there was so much beauty, magic and creative possibility in what I heard in this random placing of my fingers. I knew I didn’t need someone to teach me this, it was all inside of me, all I had to do was play, the way a child does, following what feels good.

I had no music lessons, apart from musician friends showing me a few chords and different ways I could play, and knew no music theory. I simply made it all up as I went along. When practicing to perform my songs with a band, I communicated using my voice, singing them the notes I wanted them to play. I’m not saying that it isn’t a good idea to have music lessons and learn music theory, obviously it has huge value and can also open creative doors. However, I am saying that it isn’t necessary in order for us to create music. 

I wondered how many people would really enjoy exploring their musical creativity if they knew this. So with a passion for sharing my discoveries, I started holding creative voice workshops and one-to-one sessions using the 7 principles, inviting people to use different tools, experiments and games to access their musical imagination and expression.

Seeing whole new creative worlds open up for people with a sense of shared creative adventure is hugely inspiring and exciting. Over the years I have used the principles and revisited them again and again, and my musical creativity continues to change and evolve. Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about one-to-one sessions and workshops.

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Workshops for musical play and creativity

Creative Listening Workshop-Gig

Explore a creative listening adventure as both workshop participant and audience member.