For the month of October, Leap Little Frog is croaking about creative space. Here’s what having my own dedicated art space means to me:
I work in different sizes. I perform on big, ornate stages; and I play shows in people’s living rooms. I write melodies for a single instrument; and I’ve composed for chamber orchestra. I’m working on a radio show about Irish music; but really it’s about BIG, universal topics that speak about 21st century humanity.
To remain comfortable in all these different venues, I cling to three consistent elements:
1) My own work space at home
Though my studio is tucked into a small sunroom, I’ve been able to fit piano, bookshelves, an extra chair for students, and a cabinet for our catalog of books/CDs for mail order. Painting one wall darker has helped define and visually expand the space. Lots of windows give an expansive feeling.
I have everything I need in this space. And when it’s time to head out, my beloved laptop bag is there, and knows exactly what to carry to the library, cafe, on tour.
After years of living in apartments with quiet neighbors, I’m grateful for my workspace in our single family home. It may be small, but it’s dense. There’s nothing I can’t do or make in here.
2) A very FLEXIBLE pre-show routine
I have friends who have extensive warm-up routines they always do backstage. I know people who spend a LOT of time putting on makeup before their shows. Some musicians are very finicky in their contract riders, demanding specific types of foods, hotels. These are ways to find consistency from town to wildly differently town.
I’ve tried all that, and none of it has brought much comfort for me. By coming up with a few different things that CAN help, and doing those when I can (choice warm-ups, best foods to aim for before a show, unhurried time to set up CDs), I can do whatever is reasonable in my venue du jour. Ultimately, that’s what has helped me feel in control and at ease.
3) A Diva Bubble
My friend and singing guru Louise Grasmere helped me construct a nurturing, spacious imaginary space. It’s big enough to step into, to protect and support me while I move from stage to stage. I am instantly big and resonant in my Diva Bubble. I can move around, I can be adventurous and playful with the music, I can be a bit bold, and I’m still safe and enclosed. When I walk onto any stage, I construct that sacred space. And I’m home.