Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Each of us has a great amount of creative potential inside.

What is the trick to letting it out? For me, hard work is the answer. There is always an aspect of craft to every form of art. Pianists need to exercise their fingers regularly; painters, their hands and arms; dancers, their entire bodies. Writers must write, painters must paint, and photographers need to make photographs. Listening to music, watching videos of dancers, reading other people's books all day is going to give you information but will add little to your craft. You see, the moment your fingers hit the keys or the shutter, you have committed yourself to creating art. And that's where the journey begins - day after day.

I came to Germany nearly 24 years ago because I thought I wanted to study musicology, earn a doctorate and return to the US to teach at a college where I could introduce my students to good music. It took three semesters before I realized that, even more than the music itself, it was really the musicians themselves who fascinated me: the biographies of the composers and performers and, as I became better connected in the music world, the actual lives of the performers, composers, critics and even instrument makers. I didn't have a very good background in music theory, either, which really slowed me down and eventually made me switch back to studying languages.

Over the past 28 years I've been a teacher in some capacity. I have never liked George Bernard Shaw's saying, "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach," because it sometimes hits home too closely. However, during my teaching, I always did the same assignments the students did. I wrote the short stories, took the pictures, acted the scenes - whatever it was - because I like doing, too. 
Teachers are indeed important, but we are all students of the world, so let's keep on doing!

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