One of my friends messaged me this morning with the news that her first guitar book is on its way to her, and she is SO excited about starting to teach herself guitar. Music is another creative outlet that I love; in fact I was a musician myself for quite some time. I spent many years as a jazz vocalist in high school and early college, and was even working toward my BA in music for several years before I went into education (I love now that I’m a teacher with a very heavy arts background… I have minors in music and visual arts). I no longer study or perform much, and while I miss it sometimes, I get a lot of creative satisfaction from sewing, crafting, decorating, jewelry making and the other visual arts I do.
In our discussion, I found myself comparing and contrasting my experiences in music and my experiences as a seamstress and crafter. As much as I loved making and performing music when in was in college, it was a definite struggle. I think one of the hardest things for me was being unable to see much of a tangible result as I worked and studied to create better music. That made it hard for me to muster up the discipline to continue (among other things… ah, how complicated the early twenties are…). When I found myself leaving the music school. my teacher told me that while I clearly had the talent, I lacked the discipline and desire. I had to agree!
The visual arts are a lot more of an immediate result, and very tangible products that I can make comparisons with. It’s interesting sometimes to look back through my costumes and see how I’ve changed and grown, and look at the visual reminders of an old skill that I’ve improved, or a new one I learned. Crafting and sewing are also things that can be repaired, for the most part; the artist can come in and make changes after the fact. Once a wrong note comes out of your face, it’s out there! Whoops!
As an educator, I see my very obvious kinesthetic learning style revealing itself in these experiences, and I think that’s one of the things that makes me a strong crafter. I get a deeper understanding of something I’m learning if I’m doing it with my own hands (and brain, and eyes, etc). I naturally feel confident about that, so I see where I’m drawn to activities and problems that I can solve in a hands-on way. I’m a big proponent of hands-on teaching and problem solving for this reason as well.
I’m really glad that I’ve been lucky enough in my life to experience as much of the arts as I have; I think it makes me appreciate the work that goes into music and arts that much more. What do your experiences tell you about your work, and yourself?