So, if you’re thinking you’re getting a ‘late start’ or that time has passed you by…consider this: Anna Mary Robertson Moses, aka: “Grandma” Moses (1860-1961) started painting in her seventies. For the majority of her life, she and her husband raised a family of 10 children, five of whom would survive infancy. It was during […]
October is Black Speculative Fiction Month and like legions of others, I am celebrating it something fierce.
Why does Black Speculative Fiction Month matter?
Black Speculative Fiction Month matters because now more than ever our stories must be told and our voices must be heard. Black Speculative Fiction Month matters because too often at cons and writing events, I’m the only nonwhite guest in attendance.
View original post 199 more words
It was a night of line strolling and rolling in the aisles. The 2016 Mississippi Greek Weekend Step and Comedy Show, hosted by comedian and Zeta Phi Beta soror, Sheryl Underwood, was lit. Continue reading Sheryl Underwood Inspires Audience at MS Greek Weekend Step & Comedy Show
Fantasia Barrino is, unapologetically, an open book. The reason she shares so much of herself is because she believes someone somewhere will benefit from her experiences. Continue reading Fantasia shares a glimpse of the process behind making “The Definition of…”
If you don’t know by now, Lela Loren plays Angela Valdes, Ghost’s mistress on the oh so hot Starz drama, Power, now in it’s third season. In a nutshell, Ghost (Omari Hardwick) is a complicated, three-headed monster of a character. So naturally, Continue reading Power’s Lela Loren explains how they captured Tommy’s drug rage
Check the process behind this version of ‘Breathe Life’ sung by Craig David, then peep the official video.
We know them — the kids who read before they are potty trained, play classical piano before entering elementary school, or compute high school math in first grade. While the world shudders, in reality, most child prodigies rarely become influential change agents.
Why not? According to Adam Grant, in his New York Times article, How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off, what holds them back is that they don’t learn to be original. They strive to earn the approval of their parents and the admiration of their teachers. But in their perfection, they don’t get the chance to innovate. In adulthood, these prodigies may become experts in their fields — but only a fraction of these gifted children become revolutionary adult creators.
Grant explains how the gifted may learn to play Mozart, but rarely compose their own original scores. They conform to codified rules, rather than inventing their own. Ironically, research shows that those who are bound for creativity are less likely to be embraced by their teacher — they have their own ideas.
In comparison, the most creative artists didn’t have elite teachers — their first lessons came from nearby instructors who made learning fun. Mozart showed interest in music before he took lessons, not the other way around.
Read Laurie Futterman’s entire article to find out what’s killing creativity.
About the featured image: Just like Mozart, Mary Lou Williams started playing the piano at the impressionable age of four. She became a professional musician at the age of eight. Learn more about Williams in The Little Piano Girl: The Story of Mary Lou Williams, Jazz Legend available at Amazon.
The writer Edith Wharton, a self-professed “slow worker,” dismissed the idea of easy creative triumph. “Many people assume that the artist receives, at the outset of his career, the mysterious sealed orders known as ‘Inspiration,’ and has only to let that sovereign impulse carry him where it will,” she wrote in her 1925 bookThe Writing of Fiction. The artistic impulse, she continued, was instead achieved through “systematic daily effort.”
But while she championed diligence, Wharton was also driven by something she found more difficult to describe. Writing in The Atlantic in 1933, she sought to explain that “central mystery” of spontaneous creative expression—the “teeming visions which, ever since my small childhood, and even at the busiest and most agitated periods of my outward life, have incessantly peopled my inner world.”
“It is as impossible to fix in words,” she wrote, “as that other mystery of what happens in the brain at the precise moment when one falls over the edge of consciousness into sleep.”
In a 2008 study published in the journal PLOS, Charles Limb, an otolaryngologist at the University of California, San Francisco and accomplished jazz saxophonist,and Allen Braun, a speech researcher at the National Institutes of Health, designed a clever way to observe creative expression in the brain: an fMRI machine with a specially made musical keyboard. The two men recruited six professional jazz musicians for the study; while in the fMRI, the participants performed musical exercises ranging from a memorized scale to a fully improvised piece of music.
Observing the musicians’ brain activity as they performed each task, Limb and Braun found that when their subjects improvised, a region called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) became less active. Like a neural mother hen, the DLPFC is connected to planning, inhibition, and self-censorship; its deactivation has been suggested to play a role in altered states of consciousness such as daydreaming, meditation, and REM sleep. (A separate imaging study published in the journal Nature in 2012 found a similar lulling of the DLPFC during freestyle rap.) This pattern of brain activity, Limb and Braun wrote, may be “intrinsic to the creative process,” which “can apparently occur outside of conscious awareness and beyond volitional control.”
Their findings support a fundamental model of creativity developed by Arne Dietrich, the author of and a professor of psychology at the American University of Beirut. Dietrich argues that the brain’s prefrontal cortex is central to creativity, and depending on the particular creative activity, the region will either significantly slow—as it did in the jazz study—or ramp up.
Earlier this year, Limb co-authored a new study led by Malinda McPherson, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard-MIT Program in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology, to address that missing element. The study also asked jazz pianists to improvise in an fMRI scanner; this time, though, the musicians were instructed to first review photographs of a woman wearing a positive, negative, or neutral expression, and then to try to match the photo’s mood with their improvised melodies.
The results were somewhat surprising. McPherson’s team predicted the creativity-related DLPFC deactivation from the previous study would be found equally in the negative and positive improvisations, but it was much more pronounced during the happy trial. The researchers also found that the negative-photo improvisations showed greater activity in certain brain regions connected to cognitive control and reward; specifically, there was increased connectivity between the insula, an area that controls visceral awareness, and the substantia nigra, an area responsible for reward and pleasure.
Broadly, McPherson’s findings support Dietrich’s argument that creativity doesn’t stem from one easily definable process or brain pattern. The results also indicate that “emotion has a huge effect on the way our brains can be creative,” McPherson says. Positive emotion, for instance, seems to be related to a deeper state of creative flow. Her findings also seem to indicate that unhappy artistic expression requires more conscious restraint than happy music—but may also be, on some level, more rewarding.
“Sadness in art is perplexing,” McPherson says. “People love performing and listening to sad music, but generally try to avoid sadness in other areas of their lives.” It may be that the arts give us the chance to safely practice and experience a range of emotions, she says—or, as Wharton writes, to experience feelings “quite unrelated to the joy or sorrow caused by real happenings, but as intense.” Sad music, then, could be especially pleasurable because the musician “knows that the sadness is coming from the art, and not from any other loss,” McPherson speculates. Happy art, on the other hand, may allow a deeper creative flow because it carries less emotional risk, even if it also means less of a reward or release.
Of course, the more questions that are answered, the more questions arise: Do the findings about jazz improvisation apply equally to other forms of art and music? If there are distinct paths to creativity, how can we steer our brains to enter a state of creative flow? What happens to the brain during those more deliberate creative efforts, such as revising an artistic work?
As they move forward, Limb and his colleagues are working to both deepen their understanding of musical improvisation and extend the research to other areas of creativity. “There are so many deep and critical questions when it comes to the neuroscience of art,” he says. “It may take a while before we are able to unify the knowledge across disciplines.”
David Banner was in town for his foundation last week. He came to speak to the kid at the Juvenile Detention Center and open up new studios at the YMCA in Jackson MS. Jessica Simien got a chance to sit down with him to discuss his intention for putting the studio in the YMCA and how the kids can benefit from it. He also spoke about how Mississippi artist need to create our own sound. I agree we do need to identify a unique style to stand out from the crowd, so we can carve out a legacy for generation to come out of Mississippi. He said artist need to speak life with the words they use to write rhymes. Check out the full article at JessicaSimien.com. Links are under the video.
David Banner is preparing to release The God Box Album real soon so you can preorder the album here – https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-god-box/id1064139161
View original post 88 more words