Whether your voice-driven career or reasons for strengthening your voice are more rooted in singing or speaking, creativity likely comes into play on some level. Problem-solving, shifting perspectives, and gaining information to then digest for deeper understanding are part of the creative process.
Creativity impacts decisions you make in everything from your
daily warm-up to taking a walk to clear your head or blow off steam, to choosing material for your next singing gig, recording session, speaking engagement, teaching assignment, rehearsal, audition, or songwriting session with a new co-writer.
The process is a huge driver in decision-making, especially when you feel distracted, burned out, frustrated, and otherwise overwhelmed.
The following exercise is a variation on the simple process of word association, and it can be used to spark your creativity when you feel like your focus is fuzzy, your enthusiasm has turned to sour whining, your upbeat attitude has flat-lined, your fresh ideas are wilting to the point of rotting, or your think-tank has bottomed out.
Spark Fresh Ideas
This exercise can help to spark ideas for tweaking song lyrics ore adding colorful language to perk up a speech. But it can also be used to stimulate new ways of looking at tasks you need tackle or pressing problems you need to solve. It can be engaged to help you choose between several necessary evils or between two potentially attractive ventures to pursue.
In simplest terms, this exercise can help you to view a situation or circumstances with fresh eyes so that you can take a step forward by setting up some plan of action with clear goals to follow. It helps you get unstuck. And, it can even be fun and helpful when things are going well.
The exercise works for small groups, such as your band, or development team, or mastermind group. But it also works with just two people, and can also be engaged when you’re on your own.
The first step is to identify the problem or challenge by creating a simple statement that describes what’s going on or is needed, as best you can. The statement could literally be as bland as: I’m stuck and not sure what to do next.
You then choose two differing points of view triggered by the statement that can be summed up with one or two words. For this example, the perspectives might be identified as “stuck” and “free.”
You then make two columns for free association. You list everything that comes to mind when you think of being stuck. Even if it doesn’t make sense or it’s starting to get you annoyed or frustration, you go with what is triggered by the word or phrase, which in this case is the word “stuck.”
Some examples might be words like: sinking, immobile, glue, blocked, nowhere. Images may come to mind such as: spinning wheels, in a rut, up against a wall, in a straight-jacket, covered in duct tape. You keep going until you have at least a dozen words and phrases in your list. Don’t analyze it. Just go with what flows, flies, or creepy crawls out of your head and sticks to the paper or your monitor.
Then, move onto the other phrase or word you selected, which in this case is “free.” Then, start listing words and short phrases that are triggered. Some of the words might be: flying, running, unclogged, complimentary, breathing, admission, flow. Phrases or images might be: prison break, no charge, in the wild, water fountain, mountain stream, open gate, ocean cruise.
If you’re having trouble opening up or getting started, you can choose to associate any number of things with the two words or phrases that represent your question, challenge, or situation by listing songs, artists, actors, cities, countries, activities, books, colors, movies, TV shows, websites, textures, names of friends or family members – whatever you choose that you associate with your first two different words or phrases to fuel the process and make your lists more diverse, unique, and fun.
Prime The Pump
The example we have here is obviously boring, generic, and pretty lifeless. But if you were to think of songs that express what it’s like to feel stuck, and then think of historic figures that you associate with feeling free, the exercise becomes quickly infused with energy, clear ideas, and primes the pump for making associations between the responses in your two lists.
This exercise is designed to open your mind and senses to fresh ideas and perspectives so that you can think more clearly when making decisions, whether it’s the selection of new material, finding new venues for singing or speaking engagements, or simply wanting to brainstorm at your next mastermind meeting.
This exercise can be used on a daily basis by randomly selecting two separate words or short phrases to then create lists for what they trigger. You then play with building bridging statements and connections between those phrases. Just like your daily vocal warm-up keeps your voice primed and supple, the word association exercise keeps your mind supple and your brain stimulated. But it also works much in the same way as Brett Manning’s vocal exercises and methods that stimulate and strengthen coordinations by engaging muscle memory.
Feed The Forums
Share your results with others at SingingSuccess.TV and talk about any fresh perspectives and new ideas for songs, image issues, and even career decisions that a little free association has triggered. Share your own variations on the exercise and other practices you indulge to keep your imagination alive and well and get your creative juices freely flowing.
Two For Booking
Make two lists of words associated with reasons for booking sessions with one of Brett’s master associates. Let one list be your reasons for booking, and let the other be why you haven’t booked a session. Feel free to visualize what you hope to accomplish, as well as what you fear may or may not happen. Once you have your two lists, then build a bridge or association between the two lists that prompts an action plan for booking your first or next session via skype or in the studio.
Dedication – Commitment
The more tools you have to stay fresh, feel energized, gain focus, and stay positive, the better equipped you are to make the most of your voice-driven career. All it requires is your dedication and commitment to pursuing the full potential of your singing success.