I have been slowly but surely stitching my creative life back onto my Life Coaching work. This integration feels like an opportunity to give all of my gifts and to step out of those boxes that may have served people in the past.
I recall a situation a few years back that I will describe anonymously so as not to impact others. I am part of a social gay network here in Northern California. We have regular gatherings and at these gatherings we entertain each other with songs and poetry and humor. I would almost always play a song I had written or a song that I was obsessed with.
One guy had a passion for performing, but did not play an instrument. He asked if I would accompany him and I said yes. He chose a song that he loved and I was able to learn the chords quickly. We only had a few opportunities to practice. He was not a trained singer and I was not sure if we had enough time to prepare. But it was clear that he was motivated and that this song meant a lot to him.
We did a bit of pitch work just to expose him to matching a note on the piano. There were some awkward moments, but we stayed in the space of fun and motivation. He had the songs lyrics memorized so that was a huge advantage.
We tried some exercises in the energy of the performance. I played the chords on my guitar and he stood a few feet in front of me and sang. Then I suggested he back up to about six feet away and sing it again. I asked him to notice what was different. Then 16 feet away did he feel he needed to shout the melody?
We focused on the message and the story of the song and as he had really studied the song he deeply appreciated this way of getting to know the song even better. I suggested that he use his ideas about the song to emphasize the meaning. For some lines that meant marking a word with a gesture. For other lines it meant sharing the main word like a secret. For other lines he was like a magician revealing a trick! It really was great fun to explore the song.
We tried approaching the song fast, and explored what felt too fast. We flipped to performing the song slowly to find insights that way.
The day of the performance we had one last opportunity to practice and rehearse variations of these exercises and experiments. We were outside so we could really get far apart from each other for the distance exercise. He was entirely engaged and I knew we were connecting.
His performance was so fun and satisfying. I saw him truly embody the ideas we had played with during his performance. He was having a good time even as he managed his nerves. The song came to an end and he got a well deserved even wild applause.
But, the story didn't end there. At the end of the whole show after all the performers were done the audience members began leaving and two men approached him. In a perfect microcosm of how feedback works one man said to him, "Hey that was great! It didn't sound like the album but you did a good job."
I could see his shoulders deflate as he received this.
The other man hugged him and said, "Thank you, Oh, Thank you for that! I truly saw you through that song!"
As they hugged again, I could tell this second response had brought him to tears.
This entire experience is just one among many that I've been a part of that I hold as so important. I wasn't so much a music teacher as I was trying out an early form of being a Creativity Coach. We both used our intuition to dig deeply into how he could best present the song and his willingness and joy were enmeshed in the process. This allowed his performance then to impact the audience and resulted in a rather unskilled and highly skilled bits of feedback.
All of this is why I am integrating my creativity into my coaching and integrating my coaching into my creativity!
I recently an experiment I'm very excited to introduce for those who would love to explore writing their first song... or perhaps their next song! You can request this
. OK, now who wants to get started and have some fun?