Give Up the Excuses

How many updated versions of classic songs do I like? Tons and in almost all genres! Re-makes are all about lyrics, tempo, voice quality, and renewal. As I work in the studio with teenagers every school day, I hear, “Oh, that’s my song!” It’s become a teachable moment in music history, as I share the original along-side the re-make.  Even if it’s just a sample of an oldie, but goodie we used to hear on the radio, back in the day. Even if I don’t particularly think it’s very good.
As an artist, I believe we must celebrate these small moments and use the critique process to stay open to all manner of advise, suggestions and even constructive criticism as we learn through work and play. We routinely edit each other’s papers as we go through the writing process from kindergarten on up through graduate school and into our professional lives. Isn’t it the same with visual arts? Theatre? Dance? Poetry slams and Literature? Culinary Arts? Fashion designers? We need other people’s responses to continue to grow in our creative process. Art is everywhere around us at all times.

All the popular reality show competitions (Project Runway, Skin Wars, Street Art Throwdown and even Survivor and The Bachelor type programs which don’t really focus on arts) expose us to judges who deem things worthy or not worthy. These episodes give us examples of aesthetics, design and the critique process (although the quality of these shows and the qualifications of the judges could be up for debate!) that we can share and build upon as we work with students of all ages.  They are real-life and popular culture all in one! 

As I countdown to my 29th “summer off” as an educator, I’m going to give up the excuse that it’s all been done before and there is nothing new to create. I know it’s important to do the work and share the work.

So…4-3-2-1 I’m going to take my own advice. Stay tuned!


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