Not just playing songs but living them

A couple of recent experience have prompted me to reflect on my approach to my creative work:

I went to see the band The Felice Brothers play on Thursday night. A great American band whose music cannot be easily classified, but traverses the territory of folk, rock and country in the tradition of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie.

This tweet by @mikewh who saw them the night before in Sydney captured the atmosphere of the show perfectly:

Caught Felice Brothers #annandalehotel last night. Sonic barrage – not playing songs but living them… #felicebrothers

I was really struck by the extent to which these guys immerse themselves in the energy of the songs, really throwing their heart and soul into it. Considering the fact that they would have played some of these songs live thousands of times, they succeed in bringing a freshness and vitality that, as an audience member, helps you to feel like you’re part of something special.

…not playing songs but living them..

I contrast this with a Linkedin page I saw a while back. It contained a description of the type of work the person is really passionate about, and then what the person does to ‘pay the bills‘. If I was hiring I wouldn’t be after someone who was just looking to ‘pay the bills’; who would approach the work as a necessary evil, a means to an end, or stop-gap measure until some real work comes along.

Why not try playing the song with gusto and abandon, even if it’s not your song? By throwing your heart into the work you are currently doing you might find you get a lot more out of it.

Each time I go and see a great band it reminds me that creative work happens when you abandon the process of going through the motions and hurl yourself headlong into the moment.

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