Coach Marla Beck

On Making Art During the Holidays

by Marla Beck

in brilliant creativity

Last Sunday, I spent the day with eight talented singers in a daylong Vocal Improv masterclass.  (If you like Bobby McFerrin, then you can imagine the kinds of sounds and songs we improvised together.)

Setting a full day aside for myself wasn’t easy.  Even your coach occasionally struggles to prioritize time for writing, art or music.  (It’s so close to the holidays!  I was so busy the week before – wasn’t it time for a quiet weekend with the family?  You know how this goes.)

Before I left the house that morning, I sat down and warmed up my voice at the piano.  It wasn’t long before my ten-year-old daughter sidled up to me on the piano bench.

“Mom?”  she asked.  “Why do you have to be gone a whole day today?  Why can’t you stay home with me?”

I answered her question as if I were meant, all my life, to answer her.

“Because!”  I said with energy.  “When Mommy goes off to sing I’m teaching you how important it is to always make time for your music.  Mommy’s teaching herself this, too.  You wait — I’ll bet she’ll be super happy when she gets back,” I told her.  “You’ll see.”

Had I responded to my daughter uncertainly, I’m sure I would have been asked more questions and flirted with the self-doubt and guilty I’d so deftly deflected.  Thing is, as a coach and as a mother, I’d pre-rehearsed my response.  Before I “pre-rehearsed,” I’d taken the time to clarify my intentions and build my beliefs at the start of the day.

I woke up and decided:  Sunday would be a designated day of music-making for me, important to do so I can continue to serve the Divine, the world, my family and myself as an even happier, more deeply resourced woman, wife, mom and musician.

I enjoyed the day immensely, and discovered a community I enjoyed, a mentor I admired and an art form that spoke to me very deeply. I also came away from the workshop feeling more confident about my musicianship and voice than ever before.  Quite an enjoyable use of an afternoon!

I brought back each of these treasures because I gave myself the opportunity to do something I loved, “just because.”  All I need to do was be courageous, trust my gut, honor my “artist-self,” tone down my doubts and deliberately, confidently take some time away from others who need me in order to nourish myself.

Perhaps my story will inspire you to do the same.

Never forget this:  making art in any form is worthwhile and important.

Even during the holidays, making art matters.

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