Tagged: creativity

Liberté! Egalité! Creativité!

Napoleon Bonaparte in the coup d'état of 18 Br...

Napoleon Bonaparte in the coup d’état of 18 Brumaire in Saint-Cloud. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The cries of liberty, equality, and fraternity were the pillars of the 1789 French Revolution.  Those words became the litmus test for the social, political, economic and religious reforms that changed France forever.  Performing arts around the world face similar circumstances and the Tuxedo Revolt wants to lead the charge for a revolution in the arts world with a new motto: Liberty, Equality, and Creativity.

In the rapid changes brought forth by the millennium 12 years ago, the world is seeing transformation across the board in politics, economics, environment, and social structure. Technological advancements like the iPhone and Facebook have completely altered the way humans communicate and relate to one another.  The arts are in no way insulated from these changes, in fact, they are impacted more directly than any other one area of the humanities.

Throughout recorded history, we have relied on man’s artistic achievements to capture the spirit of the times. It is a culture’s art, song, dance, and creative legacy that tell us how it felt to be alive and a part of a particular culture in a certain time. You probably already know this.  In fact you already participate in the performing arts. It doesn’t matter whether you are creating art to be performed, performing art yourself, buying song’s on iTunes of someone else performing, listening to the radio in your car, watching TV, buying movie tickets— the choices you make that relate to creativity and performance are helping to shape the way that the future will view our time now.  Everyone is part of the process, some consciously and some unconsciously.

My mission with Tuxedo Revolt includes empowering anyone who is involved in performing with resources to enrich their work and help them to reach the widest audience possible and with the maximum amount of relevancy.  Just like in France in 1789, when the feudal system had become dysfunctional and irrelevant, so too are many of the norms and standards surrounding the performing arts that restrain and confine us to perform at the status quo.

Liberté

In the culture we live today, we have unprecedented liberties when it comes to distributing our art. Through outlets like, YouTube, vimeo, personal websites and other electronic resources, we can truly perform for the world. As performing artists, we cannot afford to neglect the opportunities these resources have to offer.  We are no longer confined within a geographic area to build our audiences or to wait for institutions and “experts” to give us the green light to go. With hard work and strategic planning, we can expand our reach across oceans and continents.

Egalité

The fluctuating economy, the rise of the middle class, and the flood of electronic media resources since the millennium have (almost) completely leveled the playing field for performers of all types.  This, in many ways, is a double-edged sword—for every coin has two sides. But for better or worse, there is an unprecedented equality when it comes to the market for your performance. The Internet not only leveled the playing field, but also greatly enlarged it as well. The days of a few major record companies and large performing arts organizations completely dictating the market are over. Let me be clear, “market” in this context is about the “market” for the commodity of audience. There is simply more content out there for people to choose from, making everyone from the freelance performer all the way up to the largest organizations work harder to get your attention—and hold it.  The “holding” holding of your attention is a key component of Tuxedo Revolt and it involves creativity and imagination.

Creativité

This is single largest platform for building a revolution in the performing arts.  Humankind has always been creative. That is part of the human nature. But the exquisite ability to express our inner nature and relate to others is a gift waiting to be used and unlocked. The millennium brought with it a need for self-expression unlike anything we have every seen in human history. Everyone is telling their story on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Pinterest etc.  There has never been more material available for performing artists to draw upon and to be inspired by.  There are new pathways to create highly original work and  to authentic living. This goes beyond performing artists and extends to everyone, globally.

Music, Art, Dance and Culture, can harness the emotional power prevalent in today’s global societies and turn it into deeply moving performances. By doing this, we can create and/or recreate works of art that are relevant to the modern audience.  The possibilities are endless, but the Tuxedo Revolt Blog will attempt to chronicle them.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned.

-John-Morgan

Caught in a Musical Rut?

Cover of "The Artist's Way: Spiritual Pat...

Cover via Amazon

This post will be the first of many which relate to that nebulous and mystical thing: our creative self. Today, I want to take a look at the creative self and ways to ignite your creativity.  I have spent the better part of the last three years actively searching to spark my own creative fire after it had shut down from several years of  running it into the ground by overuse.  I started on this search to find my misplaced creativity, because I was feeling empty and void without the flood of creative ideas with which it had filled my mind my entire life. Some of the tips I discovered from various mentors and books (especially the amazing treatise on creativity The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron). Others I discovered through some serious soul-searching.

I believe that each of us have the capacity to be highly creative. Our brains can function in abstract and enormously complex ways! We only know of a fraction of our total brain capacity. So if you follow this train of thought with me, that our “computer” is working properly, then it follows that lack of creativity and imagination is a result from a lack of input for the brain to work with. In short– our flow of creativity has become blocked or dried up.

The computer analogy overly simplifies the complexities of being blocked or suffering from a drought of creativity. But take faith in the fact that there are many, many paths you can take to recovery.  I believe that the first step is acceptance. It takes bravery and courage to stop beating your head against the wall, or practicing etudes and technical exercises all day long, or spending countless hours wasted in the practice room. It takes bravery to say– it isn’t my technique, it isn’t my dedication, it is the creative spark which lights my fire that has burnt out and is causing me all this grief.

When you have realized this, then you can begin the process of becoming unblocked and healing. If you asked me what was the most dominant feeling I had when made this realization midway through my Master’s degree; I would say that it was the feeling of being starved. When I realized that I had not been feeding my creative soul for months and months on end, I felt well; sort of used up.

I dove into any and every book I could find about imagination and the creative process and this is when The Artist’s Way fell into my hands. It couldn’t have been more serendipitous. One of the main points that Julia Cameron makes in the book is that we must constantly be feeding our creative selves. I had literally starved my creativity to the point where it was beginning to shut down.

As I said before, there are many ways to restoring or improving the health of your personal creativity. I feel though that writing and seeking new experiences were the building blocks of my recovery.  The urge to try new things became overwhelming! I began writing poetry that started to pour out of me at random moments while laying in bed or while I was on the train. I was scribbling things down in a horrible chicken scratch just because I wanted to write everything down very fast, before the thought could leave me. I began sitting at the piano (which I don’t play) and somehow improvising large works which I would end up recording for myself because they were so spontaneous I could never hope to reproduce them. One of my good friends Erik Saras and I began tossing around the idea of co-composing a short ballet, and by November, it was being produced by Manhattan School of Music and with dancers from the Juilliard Department of Dance. My wife bought me watercolor classes at the New York Student Art League and as of this week, I will be showing my first watercolor in a public show in the East Village.  These experiences allowed me to absorb new techniques and skills, while allowing my brain to experience different thought processes than the ones I had used over and over leading up to my creative block.

Once I began to be aware of the needs of my creativity and fed it the new experiences it desired most– that is when my productivity skyrocketed.  When you have identified your need to rehabilitate your creativity, the most important thing you can do is listen to your creative self, bring it what it wants, and treat it with respect and the utmost care.

Tuxedo Revolt and the World of Performance

 

Thanks for stopping by the Tuxedo Revolt website and blog.  For those of you who have been following me and the previous models of this site/blog I should start by thanking you for your loyalty. My online home has undergone plenty of revisions since the initial domain name several years ago.  Over the course of the past several years, I experienced a personal and professional metamorphosis that transformed who I am as musician and artist.  It reshaped and enriched my thoughts and convictions about performing.

I left Kentucky to start a life of music in New York City, I finished my Master’s at Manhattan School of Music in 2011. I freelance with various professional orchestras in the New York City Metro area; worked in th

e Director of Education of a professional orchestra in NYC; taught music lessons to underprivileged children in inner city Harlem; and I also work in higher education in the music library of The New School University in Manhattan. All of these things have shaped my perceptions of the performing arts climate worldwide and how we all fit into it.

If you have been following me over the years, you will realize that my online presence has shifted from being centered solely around just one of my life’s passions—playing the horn and classical music—to changing the way that people perceive classical music so that it becomes relevant to their everyday life.  Sounds like a lofty-artsy-fartsy goal right?

To be more specific, I believe that similar to the turn of the last century, the entire world is undergoing massive changes in

politics, economy and culture(s). The performing arts are in no way insulated against them.  How do we as artists adapt? How do we evolve? How do we craft performances to which everyone can relate? How do we connect with our audiences and invite them into our creative process? How do we connect children and young adults to classical music in a way that real and meaningful to them?

Whether you are a performing artist or an arts aficionado, I hope that you will find answers to these questions and draw inspiration from the Tuxedo Revolt. I want to prove that the days of walking onto

a stage in a black and white tuxedo and giving a performance that is both irrelevant and isolated are numbered– no matter how technically perfect the performance is.

Don’t be misled– my message is not negative. In this blog I will explore creative opportunities for performers  and music educators that will help to identify practical resources. By stimulating ima

ginations and examining the culture and identity of performing arts around the world we (the collective of performers worldwide) can respond appropriately and adapt to this changing landscape.

So as you can see, this blog and website has become about us as whole and not so much about me as an individual. Yet, I hope to lead by example—by presenting exciting, original, and innovative performances and I will document my projects on the blog.

I will seek out and profile other performers who are doing highly original work and who are helping breakdown old models in favor of newer innovative ones.  There is wealth of new discovery waiting to be explored in the world of performing arts.

I want your input as well. If you have a creative idea for innovative performance, please reach out to me on the contact page; I may feature your idea on the site.  Thanks again for stopping by—I hope you’ll join in the conversation.

-John-Morgan