Canadian Musician - May / June 2018 - Page 41

Change Your Environment QUICK TIPS Ideas to Put into Practice Now! 1. Alternate Nostril Breathing Take a big, slow inhale in through your nose while holding your right nostril closed. Then, switch your finger over to close your left nostril and slowly exhale back out the nose. Repeat that drill a few times over and feel the tension go away. The oxygen alternating between your nostrils focuses your brain power on a very simple yet specific task, relieving your worries about the performance. 2. Write & Hang with Other Artists Teresa Cirillo suggests changing up your process and collaborating to inspire new ideas and beat the creative blockage. 3. Try Yoga Down-regulatory exercise like yin-yoga calms the ner- vous system, resets the body and mind, and allows us to focus with clarity and get back to being productive. Jay Bowcott If you want to change your out- come, change your environment in search of a spark. “If you are in the city, try heading to the country. If you play guitar, try writing on the piano. If you usually write rock music, try stepping into another genre like R&B or country,” Black suggests. The process is also something an artist needs to consider. It can be tedious work. With that in mind, I reached out to Jay Bowcott, a household name on the Western Canadian touring circuit, and asked him what strategies he uses in order to keep the creative process flowing. “I switch up what I’m working on,” he begins. “I go from exercises on guitar to rehearsing songs to writing and then throw a little drawing in there. The ticket is organizing your time into sections and making each of those things productive. For example, a half-hour of scales, half-hour of applying said scales to songs, half-hour of lyric memorization, and half-hour of guitar part rehearsal. Songwriting is interspersed in there whenever I randomly get inspired. Drawing is for when my ears get tired.” Teresa Cirillo I hope you were able to take something away from this read, and if so, reach out and let me know what’s up. Until next time, stay sweet. Mike Schwartz (Ba, HLC, PTS, Pn) is a Certified Personal Trainer, holistic lifestyle coach, nutrition coach, author, musician, and the lifestyle tech of the music industry. Hailing from Calgary, AB, his passion to improve the quality of life of others has led him to found MusicFit Collective, an online service that provides every musician with access to a network of professionals and the knowledge and support to help alleviate common lifestyle issues. When he’s not coaching, you can find Mike playing drums, producing music, cycling, running his dog Darwin along the river, or sipping a smooth Americano. Reach out to Mike at Black suggests to “borrow, without stealing, ideas from other artists’ songs – maybe a chord progression or a spe- cific bass line. Lots of music, especially in this climate, is directly inspired by other mu- sic. It’s not ‘stealing’ to listen to music and find inspiration.” I totally agree, so naturally, I wanted to find some artists that could speak to this and came across Calgary singer/ songwriter Hayden McHugh. He ensures he gets out to other shows to fuel the inspi- ration in his own music and suggests other artists do the same. That’s a solid reason to get out and support your local scene if you ask me. 4. Pick Up An(other) Instrument Teresa Cirillo suggests challenging yourself by learning a new skill to break through writer’s block. 5. Take a Walk Andre Kaden Black likes to bust through creative blocks by going for a quick walk outside and surround- ing himself with nature. Rather stay inside? There are plenty of ways to get your body moving for the better indoors. 6. Drink Water Stay hydrated with two to three litres every day. Carry a water bottle around with you with three elastic bands on it. Each time you re-fill the bottle, remove an elastic band. Also, squeeze some fresh lemon in your water to increase alkalinity and support nutrient absorption! 7. Meditate A great way to refocus and reenergize. Don’t know where to start? There’s an app for that. Check out the one I use called Headspace for easy, guided medita- tion and soothing sleep aides. 8. Journal There’s an app for that, too. Pick up Daylio or, if you’re old school like me and prefer handwriting your thoughts, I actually have a journal available called “Start With U: 21-Day Self-Love Challenge” Get your personalized copy at when you claim your all-access pass! 9. Borrow & B uild on Other Music As Andre Kaden Black says, it’s the highest form of flattery and a great way to generate new ideas and inspire new directions. 10. Unplug Reduce your screen time and watch your productivity and creativity increase. Delete the most common time-wasting apps on your phone and stay off of social media for a week. You’ll live, trust me. 11. Draw, Build, Create Put yourself outside of your comfort zone to spur cre- ative growth. Try a new art form and don’t be afraid to fail. Your confidence will grow every time you try some- thing that makes you uncomfortable. Give it a shot. Do something awesome! C ANADIAN MUSICIAN • 41