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I woke up two mornings ago, at 5AM, with some ideas floating in my mind. The main idea was to reduce the string gauges of the supertrebles on my harp guitar by about 0.001; this should maintain the sound qualities while reducing string breakage.
The most important thing wasn't the idea, but the realization that I frequently wake up early in the morning with ideas. That is my creative time. It's good for me, since I'm partially awake and tend to remember the ideas. And, at that time of my sleep/wake cycle, my subconscious and conscious minds seem to be very well connected.
"So what?" you may ask. My point is that each of us has an optimal time of day for creativity. In general, mine seems to be the morning. For others, it's mid-day, or just before falling asleep. Use this time to your best advantage. Keep a pencil/paper, tablet PC or whatever for taking notes and capture those ideas, before they drift off into the land of the lost.
I've been learning as I go here, with my open mics. Several things come quickly to mind. First, it is better for me if I practice the songs at a slightly slower tempo than I plan to play them; this way if I do speed up, I won't end up playing so fast that I make mistakes and/or the sound gets jumbled. Second, I've learned to take it easy with regards to practicing on the day of the open mic, so that my hands are not fatigued. And, again for me, I feel more comfortable playing if I talk more. I don't have to play less, just talk more.
Finally, I've started to work on visualizing myself playing. There are many reports in exercise and psychology journals that show visualization is as good as physical practice. For me, the visualization clarifies where my hands are supposed to be at all parts of the song, and clarifies the song in my mind.
I hope these nuggets will help some others!
I've started playing out again, after a hiatus of some 30 years. As a teenager I always played in bands. My new venture is as a solo artist. This is a new beast. Playing solo gives one a sense of freedom, but also trepidation. So, as I blog, I'll be writing little things that I've found, in the hopes that I will continue to learn by reflection, and others may learn from my experiences.