Angie Mack Reilly

Experimentation and the Creative Process by Angie Mack Reilly

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by Angie Mack Reilly (c) 12/28/16

I never realized how much experimenting I do on any given day until just recently.  For example, I experiment with my hairstyles, the food I create, the marketing strategies I use, the songs I compose, the poems I write, the processes for running my business, the teaching tools for keeping my private music students engaged and my gardening techniques to name a few.

Experimentation is a term that is common in the field of science.  Sometimes I wonder if I should have gone into science.   I remember loving to make “concoctions”, or mixtures of various elements, for my little brother to drink when we were younger.  I would put things like grape jelly, Worscestershire Sauce, pure lemon juice and honey in a Dixie Cup and have him do a “taste test”.   My current family is used to seeing my “experiments” around the house.

“My Kombucha Experiment”

Kombucha Recipe

Homemade Kombucha

How about you?  Are you:

A) The type of person who follows a recipe

B)  The type of person who never uses recipes (or if they do, alter it)

Experimentation is a bit risky for some personality types because experimentation of any sort comes with a risk for failure.  Yet history has taught us that those who often fail the most reach success.   This is particularly true of the inventors.  My heroes include people like Thomas Edison, Leonardo de Vinci, Madame Walker, Benjamin Franklin and Einstein.

FAMOUS INVENTORS

But sound IS science.  And the creative process is science.

That is precisely why I decided to call my music studio an “INTERACTIVE MUSIC LAB”.

Did you know that Thomas Edison was part of the recording experiment that occurred in Grafton, WI  between the years of 1929 and 1932?  Some of the most valuable recordings known to the world were created in Grafton as part of an experiment in a “make-shift” studio covered in burlap with musicians and singers playing into a giant cone-shaped apparatus.  True!

Paramount Records Recording Studio

Recording Studio in Grafton, WI as Rendered by Don Henning and Taken From http://paramountshome.org

I believe that we are entering into a new wave of innovation.  With digital information readily available for the first time in our generation,  people are gaining more knowledge as a whole.  It would be wise for us to use this knowledge to challenge old systems, methods and products.  We need to come up with theories and then test those theories with experimentation.

My kids are grown.  So I am not aware of what is taught in public schools these days.  But I do know that as a music teacher, producer and director, I am very fortunate.  I have a lot of flexibility that other teachers with large classrooms, bureaucratic red tape and political policies don’t have.  My students and I have the privilege of being able to conduct “experiments” in the interactive music lab.

ozaukee-talent-large-view

“It has long been my experience to see that children are capable of so much more than we realize musically. In fact, I see this quite a bit. School music class isn’t enough for some of these gifted and talented children. Right now, I have a 4th grade student who is composing her own music. I have a middle school student who is working with me to create his own video game music, a nine year old vocalist who can nail the artist #SIA . What I do as a talent coach is to find those “hidden gems of talent” inside of each and every child and then give them the musical tools to succeed and to reach for their dreams.”  –Angie Mack Reilly, musician, educator and author

About Post Author

ozaukeetalent

One lesson. One song. One event at a time. Ozaukee Talent is a training and networking facility for people of all ages wanting to advance in the arts. Ozaukee Talent was founded by longtime arts leader Angie Mack in 2016. Ozaukee Talent provides private music and acting lessons, contracted event marketing, contracted arts project management, consulting, arts public speaking and performing, hosts musical events, workshops and classes in the arts. Contact: Ozaukee Talent 1701 11th Ave. Grafton WI 53024 angie@ozaukeetalent.com 262.309.4112 Follow @ozaukeetalent on Instagram and Facebook. Tax deductible donations for Ozaukee Talent through Create Wisconsin, Inc. Venmo: @ozaukeetalent PayPal: angie@ozaukeetalent.com
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how grandma taught me how to love music

Grandma’s Greatest Gift

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Read Time:3 Minute, 2 Second

by Angie Mack Reilly (c) 12/3/16

“Grandma, can I play your organ?”

When I was a child, anything musical was like a magnet for me.    This included my grandparents’ organ which sat in their dining room.  Whenever I went to their house,  I could hear those colorful FOX TROT , STRINGS, SWING, and TRUMPET buttons calling my name.

There were many things at “Grandma’s house” that us grand kids could not touch; her Avon cologne bottle collection, ceramic figurines and more.  But the organ?  Grandma let ME touch that.  I felt special every time she said,

“of course you can play the organ honey”.

I heard another all too familiar story this week from one of my piano students about how the music teacher at school gets angry when the children touch the instruments in the classroom.    It is because of stories like this that I decided to open up an “Open Music Lab” where children are free to touch the instruments, explore sounds and make some noise without “getting in trouble”.   In fact, just last night, I was with my Ozaukee Talent Performers and one of the young gals said, “You are really nice.  You’re like, ‘make yourself at home’!”   The girls and I had a great time singing, dancing and playing instruments in the room to their favorite songs.

My music lab IS like my home.  And when children “come over”, I like to treat them how Grandma treated me whenever I came over.

Not only did she let me touch her organ, but she listened to me.  I mean REALLY LISTENED to me.  She looked me in the eyes and got down to my level.  I remember how important I felt.  She wasn’t rushed like so many parents of multi-children families are.  She didn’t treat me like I was a nuisance.  She would say things like, “Oh, that’s wonderful honey”  making me feel so important.

I remember confessing to her one time that I loved the children’s PBS show, Sesame Street.  As she sat in her kitchen chair watching the program with me she said, “You know what?  I love Sesame Street, too, Angela”.  Wow!  A grandma who understood me!  It felt so good to feel understood.

Each week, I get the privilege of spending a half hour or an hour with each of my piano, guitar and vocal students.  If they ask to touch the instruments in my room, I let them. Never underestimate how much impact a child’s curiosity can have on their learning!

I look them in the eyes.  I smile when they are talking so that they know I value what they have to say.    I remember what it was like to want to be listened to as a child.  Grandparents are great listeners.

My grandma has since passed.  But everyday that I am in my music studio, I think about her and all of the wonderful lessons she taught me, music she shared with me, faith and love she gave to me.  I treat my students like grandma treated me.  I like to think of my music lab as like “going to grandma’s house”.

So, the greatest gift that “Grandma Gladys” gave me was the gift of how to treat and inspire a child.   Our moments together were relatively few.  Oh, but how they left an impression!

Here’s to all of the grandmas this holiday season!  Remember, it’s the little things that mean the most.  Slow down.  Listen.  Look them in the eyes.  Let them explore.

For information about private lessons, email angie@ozaukeetalent.com  Next semester begins January 2nd.  Spaces are limited.  Please reserve now.

About Post Author

ozaukeetalent

One lesson. One song. One event at a time. Ozaukee Talent is a training and networking facility for people of all ages wanting to advance in the arts. Ozaukee Talent was founded by longtime arts leader Angie Mack in 2016. Ozaukee Talent provides private music and acting lessons, contracted event marketing, contracted arts project management, consulting, arts public speaking and performing, hosts musical events, workshops and classes in the arts. Contact: Ozaukee Talent 1701 11th Ave. Grafton WI 53024 angie@ozaukeetalent.com 262.309.4112 Follow @ozaukeetalent on Instagram and Facebook. Tax deductible donations for Ozaukee Talent through Create Wisconsin, Inc. Venmo: @ozaukeetalent PayPal: angie@ozaukeetalent.com
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