What I Do as a Flautist When World Events Seem Overwhelming

Thanks to Danielle La Porte for this #truthbomb

Thanks to Danielle LaPorte for this #truthbomb

It’s a tumultuous world energy right now. News events are happening that have brought me tears and a deep frustration because I just don’t know what to do about it.  I can feel small in that sense.

I have learned that I have to check-in with myself in order to keep it all in perspective. I do this along with voting in the US election, holding my belief in a Divine Mystery, and hiding organic chia seeds in my pumpkin muffins.

When world events feel sticky, unjust, and sometimes deplorable, the striving to refine and re-frame what I can give is one of the core objectives that keeps me from hiding in the duvet with Animal Babies. I keep asking:

  • What can I bring to my own playing in order to give musical beauty to someone else?
  • How can I nurture other musicians so that they can uncover joy and creativity in their own expression?
  • What can I improve in what I offer to be of more service to you?

You see, there’s an ethos that has been at the core of how I make my creative decisions. This ethos is how I tend to answer the above questions,  and it’s called the ‘and/ and’ model. The Jungian psycho-analysist, academic, and poet Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes proposes it:

As regards external destruction of new endeavors and ideas, more creative enquiries are brought to a halt and called inconclusive by manipulating the ‘either/or’ model … Which came first? The chicken or the egg? This question more often puts an end to peering at a thing and determining its many values. It puts a close to seeing how a thing is constructed and what its uses might be. It is often more useful to use the cooperative and comparative ‘and/and’ model. A thing is this and this and this. It can be used/not used this way, and this way, and this way (Pinkola Estés, Women that Run with the Wolves’, 2008, 495–96, fn 2).

When the ‘and/and’ model is applied to our music making, for example, it would propose that how we view a score, it’s interpretation and it’s associated techniques would verge away from finding any ‘right way’ to do it. Our musical decisions would be flexible, always changing, and cannot be reduced to fit neatly within fixed ‘either/or’ musical solutions. We don’t have to cling to any one way because according to this theory there would be oh, about a squillion solutions to interpret any given musical line.

You see, I find this philosophy in creating music simply thrilling. It’s my lean back when any overwhelm appears because it creates multiple opportunities for my artistic voice to be heard. I know it can work for you, too.

And so…I’ve designed three upcoming flute days that sit alongside this ‘and/and’ model of musicianship. I invite you to cast your flute nets wider. To encompass more opportunity to explore, and to expand the ways that you could make music on your flute. Let’s work with multiplicity. Let’s break out of any boredom or stagnation; let’s create more solutions.

Let’s tap into more possibility.

Click here for my latest workshops; I’d love for you to join us.

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Happy Flute-mas (yeah, I really did just write that)
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