i got an email today from someone who commented that they were "bored" with their playing lately. i believe this happens from time to time with musicians. we get so used to hearing our own style and licks and become familiar with them sometimes to a point of contempt or boredom. don't let it get you down...there are always plateaus and highs and lows in the journey. i think we have to be as creative as we can in finding wasy to be creative and inspired.

here are a few suggestions of ways to overcome that situation.
1. go listen to something you have never heard before
2. write a new piece of music
3. record yourself and figure out the things you like and dislike about your playing
4. practice something familiar in a way you have not tried before.
5. write out 5 strengths and 5 weaknesses in your playing.
6. watch your favorite musicians on youtube and find inspiration in that!
7. take a lesson with someone whose playing you really like.
8. go sit in with some other musicians.
9. set up a jam session or a string of them to have an opportunity to play.
10. take a lesson with someone who doesn't play your instrument.
11. go to a museum, art gallery, walk in nature and find some inspiration there.
12. play freely and see where your own music takes you when there are no restrictions.
13. find an artist you have always heard about but never heard and dig in!
14. make your own list of how to get out of your "rut".

these are a few suggestions that work for me and that have been shared by others. i know there are many more and you should share them with those around you. open up a dialogue with other musicians because this is a common situation we find ourselves in.

here are some musicians i recommend who are sometimes a little off the beaten path...i hope you find inspiration in their art...
charles lloyd, oumou sangare, ornette coleman, hariprasad chaurasia, ali fakar toure, lightning hopkins, john lee hooker, afel bocum, hermeto pascoal, carlos malta, guinga, alan lomax field recordings, www.folkstreams.com, jesse fuller, bert wilson, toumani diabate, sun ra, richard galliano, roland kirk, alash ensemble, konger-ol ondar, kasse diabate, fanfare ciocarlia, dhafer yousef, professor longhair, bettye lavette....to name a few. happy listening!

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