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Design This!

MONDAY BYTES — August 18, 2014

With some airport layover time a week ago, I had a walk in the Toronto Music Garden. Created in 1999, the Garden is a three-acre public park on Toronto’s Harbourfront, a slice of beauty sandwiched between the busy city commercial cityscape and the boat slips near the airport.

Created in 1999, the music garden is the brainchild of cellist Yo-Yo Ma and landscape artist Julie Moir Messervey.

Inspired by the first Bach cello suite, there are curving paths that move visitors through six garden “movements” that flow from the different emotions and forms evoked.

The project sprang from Ma’s film collaboration series in which each of the six suites is a partnership with an artist from a different discipline.

After production of the film, the city of Boston was approached to create an actual garden based on the first suite: “the Music Garden.” When the Boston site fell through, Toronto Parks and Recreation enthusiastically embraced the project and brought it to fruition. The Garden also hosts a diverse summer music series of free concerts.

One thing I love about this is the connecting of music and architecture to create of positive community space, and that as a garden, the collaboration is live and growing. It’s architecture not as frozen music, but as a liquid, dynamic experience.

Take a short video tour (7:35) of the garden with the designer narrating.

Question for the week: In thinking about the connection between music and architecture, what projects come to mind that you’d like to explore?

As always, I welcome hearing your thoughts and feedback!
For info on working with me: details are HERE.
Monday Bytes archived posts are HERE.

How’s Your Hustle?

MONDAY BYTES — August 11, 2014

Jullien Gordon’s TED talk on “side hustling” millennials and why it’s dangerous to have just one source of income is especially applicable to musicians.

Granted most musicians have multiple income streams and project-driven careers: so that’s a non-issue.

But the question is: how well are we balancing our portfolio of work? How well are we managing our multiple income streams and projects, not to mention managing our time and priorities?

For tips and perspective, Jullien’s inspiring talk offers new ways to think about your work, your income, and your goals.

Some stellar quotes to listen for:

What we want from work:
“1. To create value
2. To be valued
3. To do work that aligns with our values”

“Over 50% of millennials have some sort of side hustle that they’re working on either before or after work or on the weekends. And these side hustles are making money consistently, occasionally, or breaking even. The other 50% have ideas” [for side hustling].

On being an entrepreneurial employee with side hustles: ”Your employer is your biggest client. Not your only client.”

The talk is well worth the 18 minute investment: Here it is.

Challenge for the week: 
Map your “side hustles”— your various income streams and projects. Draw them on an unlined piece of paper, representing each income stream as well as how the intersect. Do this as a schematic diagram of any kind you choose, representing each income stream kind of work and how they balance/intersect with each other.

Then stand back from your map and consider:

Which income streams are most connected?
Which are most in conflict?
How well do they balance each other?
Any changes you would like to make?

As always, I welcome hearing your thoughts and feedback!

For info on working with me: details are HERE.

Monday Bytes archived posts are HERE.

Input + Reflection = Inspired Output

MONDAY BYTES — August 4, 2013

My friend Mino recently brought up the idea of input and output in relation to musicians’ creativity.

We were discussing the source of creative imagination and how to cultivate one’s own artistic voice.

It got me thinking that the source of creativity we each draw from is the “input” side of the equation: whatever we read, notice, learn, and experience — and how we process these emotionally and intellectually.

What we are exposed to is the content, but content alone is not enough to cultivate creativity.

The essential other piece of the puzzle is reflection on the content: digesting what we take in. It’s like a compost pile: it needs to sit and steep before we engage in the output side of the equation.

Sometimes we’re so busy producing work (output) that we become disconnected from our well of inspiration. Whether it’s performing, teaching, or anything else, if there’s not fresh and regular input and insights through reflection, our work comes up dry.

This can mean lackluster performances with no real connection with the audience. Or it can mean we’re just “going through the motions” with our teaching or other work—that we’re not fully present and not operating at our best.

If you want to consistently bring more inspiration to your work, try this:

Challenge for the week: Think about the three most recent times in which you felt inspired in relation to your work.

What prompted each inspiration: was it an idea, something your read, saw, or heard? Write whatever these are down.

Then spend 5 minutes reflecting on each of these items in turn. Write down your thoughts, associations, and whatever you’d like to do to follow up on any of inspirations.

Regularly making time for reflection on what  you find inspiring gives you the bandwidth for new insights and the opportunity to connect knowledge and experience with meaning. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to be more deeply inspired.

You may want to build reflection time into your practicing (maybe just 3 minutes at the beginning and end of any practice session).

As always, I welcome hearing your thoughts and feedback!

For info on working with me: details are HERE.

Monday Bytes archived posts are HERE.

Dream big, Plan smart, Live well!