A while ago, I came to the truth that to be a selfless artist, one must be selfish with ones art. In other words, if our creativity and art is to impact people, we have to stay true to ourselves. We can’t be someone else; we can’t do what other people think we should do. We have to be genuine, and true to who the creator made us to be.
So, why are so many of us motivated to please others? I know I struggled with this in college. Was I good enough? Did I meet the world’s standards? All this fear and approval seeking stifles creativity and I found some of the academic standards choke the life out of creativity and the arts.
Do not get me wrong, I loved college and was overjoyed to study music, but among all the good things I learned, I also learned what not to do; some things needed to change. Specifically how we approach teaching and studying the arts.
The arts are naturally different from other academic subjects because the arts contain each person’s unique creative approach to music, art, writing, etc. Any subject needs to be taught and approached from the heart and with passion. But, instead of leading with the head, the facts, figures, tests, etc., students and teachers need to approach studying the arts from the creative soul and each person’s uniqueness. Creatively we are all different from each other – art is subjective – and not everyone is going to “like” what you do, or “get” what you do artistically. Does that mean we stop? Absolutely not! We need to be content with this, because there are people out there who will “get” us and who will be blessed by our art. Creativity needs to come first and from that, lead us to practice and discipline ourselves, not through fear or seeking people’s approval. When we pursue art from the right place, great art and music is born.
So where do we begin? How do we change this approach within the academic community and world? It starts with me and you, conversation, and movement...to be continued.