Tips and Advice

Finding the Play

Finding the Play.

One of the things I’ve learnt over my studies is the importance of play and fun in what ever you are doing. This is not to say that the more mundane, and dry tasks aren’t important too, just that enjoyment of what you are doing should  be one of your top priorities.

I don’t mean you should quit your job and go galavanting around the world (unless, of course that is what you really want to do). This is more about finding the fun in what you do already. “Well that’s easy for you to say; you’re in the arts and get to play all day!” Oh contraire! I have just as many task I have to do that I would really rather I didn’t. Bibliographies are my nightmare. Not the research side. Not the listing of sources. But the formatting it exactly as required by the guide. Now I’m not going to give you some rubbish about ‘finding the fun’ in a task such as formatting the bibliography, but not to let it diminish the enjoyment of the work you are doing. Instead, let us focus upon the elements of the work that are enjoyable.

If we were to look at any one of my pieces that require me to roll dice to generate the music or material, I can easily say, and with much emphasis, that I love writing rules, and rolling the dice. Nevertheless, rolling them again and again, sometimes over 3000 times!

Over time this can become  quite a laborious task. Therefore, I turn it into a game with the dice. For example: if you get a string of numbers (say, ‘333’ or even ‘1234’) you can then say that you will eat a jelly bean, or even hop for 5 seconds. This extremely silly, (and let’s not pretend, something that can make people look at you strangely), could give you a little giggle and all without affecting your work.

It doesn’t have to dice related, this is just one example of something I have to contend with in my composition routine (well, as much of a routine as is possible for us creatives).

Another way is to pick something you will enjoy from the get-go. In 2017 as part of my Masters I took an Analysis module. I love analysis, but can find the anything tonality related challenging. As part of my Atychiphobia (fear of failure) I can avoid anything that I believe I would fail at. Instead of letting my fears get the better of me, I chose to utilise the tonal forms of analysis on music I enjoy. The first was an analysis of One Summer’s Day by Joe Hisaishi from Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away; a favourite film of mine. The second assignment was a presentation in which I analysed the thematic content of Murray Gold’s I Am The Doctor from BBC’s Doctor Who; for those that know me well, or even those that have met me in passing, it should come to no surprise that I am a massive Whovian.

Adding these elements did not diminish my enjoyment of the show* or film, but rather enhanced something I was apprehensive of.

My task for you now, is to find or add that element of fun to a task you are not looking forward to. In fact I have already thought of a way to find some fun in the bibliography task… adapting the ‘dice’ challenge, I could count every time a letter appears, (‘y’ for example), then eat that many sweets (small ones) after I’ve submitted or emailed the document.

*I am currently typing this while watching the final stages of my Doctor Who Marathon ready for the 11th Series (or 37th Season).


17th September 2018
Johanne-Bryce Hodgson
(formerly Jason Hodgson)


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