The Power Of Thinking Creatively.
As I mentioned last week, I’m a piano teacher. Each week, I see my student’s play. I guide them with their thinking process (processing sheet music, received visually), and I help organise their thoughts to hit the right keys at the right time. It’s very, very good for the brain (for both students and teacher!).
Generally speaking, I’ll pipe up if I’m asked, otherwise I’ll keep a lot of thoughts to myself. Today I feel compelled to share the following. Perhaps it’s the mood of the times that’s pushing me on…
But before I do, I’m aware you’re here for the music and art. Don’t worry, it’s all here. The last thing I want to do is to scare you off…here we go
This week’s Painting:
Following on from last week: As I can’t get out to paint on the spot, I’ve taken a series of photos of a beach walk, which I’m painting in the studio, in a ‘plein air’ style, rather than realism.
This is the view to the right, once you’ve come down the path (see the handrails in the pic). You can walk around a few small beaches to Ranelagh Bay. You might find a seal having a rest on the rocks.
(More here: www.petepascoe.com )
It’s great to be able to pop down and get some fresh air. Not a day goes by without me counting my blessings, being able to do that.
Now, back to me ‘piping up’…
Over the years, I’m wondering if I’m imagining a decline in my young student’s ability to remain ‘In The moment’ to engage and learn easily for more than short bursts. Other teachers I speak to are discussing this possibility.
This is a generalisation, but I think perhaps fine motor skills are not being developed as early these days. Back in the day, everyone (youngsters included) got stuck in with basic chores to help the family unit. Then automation started to kick in, taking care of processes like dishwashing. Less needed be done. Less needed to be known.
I think that in the early formative years 1-3 , kids that are playing with wooden blocks and moving on to smaller objects ( eg Lego, pencils, etc) are going to progress more quickly.
The catch is.. I think we need to invest in the time, as parents, to teach them how to ‘play’, by rediscovering the sense of play ourselves: getting in there and playing with wooden blocks and plastic animals (I have memories of Saturday mornings in the lounge with a very fuzzy brain, making gigantic constructions for animals to play in).
I don’t think a lot of time spent playing games on a screen is helpful with development – I would venture to use the word hinder.
It appears attention spans are shortening all the time. The time and patience required to eventually master an art is starting to look like a ‘big call’ for a new generation.
Digital screens appear to be hypnotising the young (and older) minds to a point where we have difficulty re – engaging with reality (remember the ‘fuzzy feeling’ you have in your brain, when returning to reality once the movie finishes). We have been literally lost in another world.
Here’s another world you can go to each week if you’d like to try it..
Song and a Chat Podcast
(from the song notes)
This podcast is a bit like a ‘songwriter speaks’ type of gig. I’ll talk about an old demo, we’ll look at it from a songwriting point view. Plus- and perhaps more so – I’m talking about episodes from my past – you’ll get a slice of the life of a songwriter.
Recording these episodes, I fly by the seat of my pants. As such, there’s a sense of discovery. It’s a casual presentation each week i have fun & I talk honestly about my work.
I also talk about the featured song of the week – what I was feeling at the time wrote it. I talk about the lyrics & the music.
Everyone Falls is this week’s song. It’s from an old album called the Patient Hum – this is the 21st year (!) since I released 100 CDs of it (yep, back in the day). I have recently re recorded the vocals. I’ve nearly finished remixing this album. It’ll be online soon..
When I composed this (In 1998) I was 2 years into a ‘new start’ in Melbourne, after leaving New Zealand.
I’d gone back to NZ for a music tour that didn’t happen. So I decided to record instead. In one afternoon we recorded 14 songs. This was one of them. I released the album as I said, and at the time I also released
It turns out (in my opinion) the song Everyone Falls also reads well as a piece of poetry. On the spur of the moment, I give it a reading …this was a surprise. I think it goes well.
The lyrics came about reflecting on the fact that I’d gone from playing the lead role of JC Superstar, and playing with the band in a rock festival to suddenly singing covers in a Holiday Inn and starting all over again …
You gotta have humility, a thick skin, a good sense of humour and a mountain of determination to do this ‘artist’ thing…
So this song could be about the ups and downs (and about resurrecting ) an existing path, it could be about something that urges us on, rescues us – the natural essence.. call it what you will.
I hope you enjoy this song and I hope you enjoy the chat.
Thanks for tuning in.
So, with the podcast episode, you’re getting a taste of the upcoming Patient Hum release.
The band Pascoe did a markedly different version of this song: Everyone Falls
Now, back to the thread..
My particular concern is: Where are the next artisans, craft people, artists going to come from? It takes 10,000 hours to get really good at something. What if you’ve frittered all your hours and half your brain power when you suddenly wake up at 30?
Of equal -or greater – concern is the possible consequential ‘disconnection’ through the inability to conduct a basic one on one relationship through this lack of being able to ‘stay with a concept’ for a length of time, in discussion. ….
Here’s some writing I did about connection on the train, years ago. As it was a long regular trip, I could allow my mind to drift (yes, I missed my station once)…
‘…..Our minds are a clutter of unwashed dishes
& yet to be realised imaginings.
Little wonder the signposts to the way forward are misted.
A few decent breathes may calm the body
& whisper rumours of peace to an anxious soul….’
More here: Connection Peace Pesto
….further, breakdown in communication holds major ramifications for society: The connection, the patience, understanding, and empathy for others is completely out the window.
Personal relationships are floundering, communities appear to be crumbling and the relationships of countries are once again edgy.
With so many of us being restricted in our movements presently, perhaps now is not a bad time for us all to consider what things about ourselves, our lives, we’d like to change for the better.
This digital age is here. It is amazing. Right now, it’s probably keeping us sane. Movies are brilliant. For the kids, limiting screen time might be (perhaps correctly) eased up on because our kids are suffering from not playing with their friends. Movies and music are a great mood lifter, a distraction – a place to learn.
Here’s an example: Fine motor skills to develop, an art to try & with some relaxing music. To suit the times, it takes just a few minutes (perhaps this is a case of : ‘if you can’t beat ’em join ’em!?).
Where I live, the frogs were singing up a storm last night, in the fine misty rain. I didn’t catch any guitars in the mix …
Frogs are a good thing. If they’re around, it’s like trout being present in a stream. The local ecology is doing ok. Keep and ear out for your frogs, people! (they can be like a canary in the cage…).
I’m stoked that my cartoon videos are being very well received by young and old. Virtual classrooms of kids are tuning in for their ‘mindfulness’ exercises. So there are so many positives with this digital age, but I think perhaps there is a huge price I’m not sure we are aware we are paying.
The plasticity of the brain comes into play in the form of changing our thinking patterns to short bursts of concentration. Are we devolving? Are we lessening the chance of reaching our potential?
What is it going to take to turn this ship around?
it’s been widely discussed, limiting screen time with young ones is an obvious starting point..
The artisans, the people who have honed their craft during years of exploration and development, these are the ones that lift all of humanity. Will we look back on the last few hundred years as the apex of our collective development ?
Why are we not encouraging the arts to a greater degree? Perhaps one day being creative will be the only thing artificial intelligence won’t be able to do (a few ‘creative orientated’ algorithms do not compare to the power of an engaged human mind and spirit). Perhaps that’s the key: once there’s money to be made, a thing will be given energy and gain momentum and grow. So there is hope.
On that note, here’s a song I wrote which is topical. I made the video for it this week.
You can find it on the Walking Through A Dream album by myself and Paul Dredge. It’s a very laid back album.
I’m an optimist. I believe we’ll rescue ourselves, collectively. It may not come until the darkest hour before the dawn, but I believe we can. When is that hour? is it close?
I think one answer to that question might be to prepare and choose to evolve, regardless.
Nurture your ‘creative self’ and guard it well. Also, find creative and personal development books- you can’t really do one without the other.
and we can’t really do it without each other.
Being human is an opportunity for self development and interconnection. It’s potentially a joy- and there is potential for the opposite. Where we put our energy is where the growth will be. We all have the choice .
When I was 30, I didn’t want to wake up in 30 years, wishing I’d opened my mouth. Back then, like any artist, I thought deeply about all this. I still do. I’ve written a lot down over the years. I’ve chosen to put these thoughts into my art, my lyrics, my music. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve buried my thoughts too deeply in my art. Probably.
eg: how about this for an obscure lyric from my song ‘Walk By The River’, (which I talk about -explain- on an upcoming podcast episode):
A strange poet’s been looking under lids
of old pots cooking on a broken down stove
in a run down kitchen, wondering what I did
with the last wooden spoon, must’ve chucked it out.
Here I was referring to a shaky societies/civilisation as a whole being weakened by rituals, concepts, information (recipes) having being lost -or distorted- as they were handed down through the ages … Hmm.. I could’ve been a bit clearer!
The danger is you’re risking having a less than positive effect if you start trying to stuff this sort of thinking in people’s brains. People ‘arc up’ -and rightly so, because we are all evolving at our own pace, in our own way.
Perhaps the main thing, out of all this right now, might be: I think we need to be gentle with each other and avoid being judgemental. Everyone’s uncertain, some are getting ‘scratchy’ – and fear, the great destroyer, is not far beneath this veneer.
Anyway. This is why I’m so committed to the artists way, why I keep releasing new music and paint and teach piano. I’m trying to make a positive difference in my own way.
Want some peaceful music to chill to? Try my 4 piano albums. Or for ‘a bit more’, the two piano vocal albums are meditative, as is walking through a dream, which I wrote and recorded with Paul Dredge ( piano, guitar and vocals)..
It’s all here: Pete Pascoe & co Bandcamp
& some albums are available on your favourite streaming service.
I’ve got another solo album coming up this year – this group of songs await more attention. They’ll have to wait another week though…
The mixes of the upcoming album by Pascoe, the band, are nearly finished. I’ll be in the studio in the next couple of days (hopefully) finishing these. Producing a rock album is a big mission, especially when you’re self taught, and learning all the time.
I think the tracks are sounding great. We cut loose here and there, interacting together. It’s great fun to do this. I miss playing music with the band. At least I get to enjoy mixing the album. One song, ‘Mobile Phone’ addresses the complexities of the digital age. I wrote it years ago, but the lyrics apply today, for sure. It’ll be one of the first songs to be released.
Also, I’m continuing with the online piano teaching. I’m making music videos, cartoon drawing videos and recording podcast episodes. I’m continuing the process of getting all my piano teaching together, so it’ll eventually be available online. ( yes, there are some positives about this digital age) …It’s certainly all go.
But I’m taking time out too.
So I think this illustrates the power of creativity. It has a positive effect on the person who is doing the work and it lifts us all. I hope you have a positive and creative week.
Thanks for reading. I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s blog post.
If you have, please do like/comment/share etc. That would really help me. Thank you.
PS, here’s this week’s lyrics to the song featured on the podcast episode (have a read while you listen if you like – the song starts at the time in the title, so you can fast forward to that spot if you haven’t got a spare 30 mins…).
Everyone Falls Words & Music P. Pascoe.
resets their sights
heaven it calls to set things right
We envision messengers
deemed to wash our senses
Like a tide toward the good,
not tied to must and should
While you pick yourself up
don’t worry cos there’s help inside
Turn on the light, rub the bump on your head
Be thankful you’re still here and nurse your wounds
Everyday’s a constant start again
of different ways, how and when
And who, don’t worry
Like a tide toward the light
not tied to must and right.