Keith Richards by Michael Doyle

Musical Creativity – The Long And Winding Road

Music is probably a significant part of many, if not most people’s lives. For many of us, our first exposure was our mother singing lullabies to us as an infant. After that you may have sung along with your mom or siblings with whatever songs were popular with the under-five crowd where you hung your hat. It was fun. Musical creativity for many was just beginning to spark. Who knows where it will lead!

Playing the Musical Sticks

As I was growing up, my first exposure to group music was our grade one percussion band. The teacher played the piano while all the kids played various percussion instruments – sticks, tamborines, triangles, bells and small drums. I played the sticks. This is when I thought, maybe I’ve got some talent. Those sticks are really pumping out a great beat! I’m pretty sure we all sounded great to our parents.

Fiddling with a Violin

I started exploring my musical creativity through violin
I started exploring my musical creativity through violin

Fast forward to a new school and a new musical endeavour. Now that I’m at a British school, the musical activities are a little different. The school has a choir. Sounds interesting. I join and I think I’m doing pretty good job, but as the school year progresses, my singing voice decided it’s time for a change. My first broad hint of this was when my teacher said she appreciates my interest in the choir, but could I possibly just mouth the words. Okaaay.

I guess it’s time for a rethink. The school also offered free violin lessons. Time to try something new. I enjoyed the classes and probably could have enjoyed infamy at private parties, but I switched schools again and sent my musical aspirations to unknown horizons.

World’s Next Guitar Solo Superstar

My Musical Creativity expressed through wishful thinking!
My Musical Creativity expressed through wishful thinking!

As with many kids my age at the time, I thought, maybe I could play the guitar. Maybe I could start a band with some friends and play some great music of the day. I didn’t just pick up a guitar, I got an electric guitar! And I took classes. I enjoyed the teacher and I enjoyed the classes, but as time passed, my interest waned. My abilities weren’t developing as fast as I had hoped. The concert arenas will have to wait. What to do?

Playing to Your Strengths

Still, I loved the music that was developing during the sixties as I progressed through school. Our school dances at the time were pretty frequent and, many times, the music was live. The auditorium was packed and full of action. One of the bands that played frequently was composed of local art college students.

I hung out with the brother of the girlfriend of one of the band members. He would show us some of his class projects. So it seems my interest in musical creativity helped kick start my interest in expressing myself creatively through art. When I viewed his various art pieces, I could feel this was a much closer connection to me than my attempts to express myself musically.

Developing My Interests and Skills

So ironically, my interest in trying to express myself through music indirectly led to my interest in expressing my visual artistic inclinations. As my singing and fiddling endeavours were quickly sinking into the quagmire, I had a very interesting art teacher at school. She didn’t like to be confined to the four walls of the art room.

When ever she could get away with it, she would take our class outside to the school grounds. Being a relatively old Roman villa, the “schoolyard” was quite inspirational, with old trees, ancient textured walls and beautiful graveled paths. “Choose a subject! Explore! Draw! Feel!” We soaked up her energy. Maybe this should be my direction…

Combining Musical Creativity with Art Creativity

Musical creativity did not skip our family. My brother has a roomful of guitars in his music room. He has more CDs on every genre of music than you could imagine. And a ton of books on musical artists. Searching through his library, I discovered “Life“, Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards’ autobiography.

I really enjoyed his story. So much so that I decided to combine my musical and artistic aspirations together and create some fan art – a portrait of Keith. Maybe that’s how I should express my music from now on!

Keith Richards by Michael Doyle
Fan Art of Keith Richard by Michael Doyle

Music Comes Home to Roost

I guess sometimes that regressive gene will not be suppressed. All three of my children play music. My daughter played clarinet in the school band. And toured with a handbell choir for a year. My middle son loves his guitar and my eldest son has built his own synthesizer and plays concerts on a regular basis.


Trying to express your creativity will often be a unique and meandering route. Paths that seem to be going nowhere will veer off and take you to a unique destination that fulfills your desire to express yourself.

It seems to me that the best way to spend your childhood is exploration. It doesn’t matter if it goes where you thought it would. Maybe it will eventually lead you to where you should be going. I thought my direction was going to be musical creativity, but ended up making me an artistic dabbler!

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Musical Creativity – The Long and Winding Road

Regenerating my creative juices in Cinque Terre

2 thoughts on “Musical Creativity – The Long and Winding Road”

  1. Hello Mike,

    Thank you for taking me on a walk through your life and lifestyle. I played the recorder at school although not too well as I remember. I went through the guitar stage and ended up playing the bagpipes for 3 years.

    you obviously have a lot more musical talent than I have, and as for art, I have no talent at all.

    It is good to hear that your children are carrying on where you left off.


    1. Hi Derek,

      If you played the bagpipes for three years, then you certainly have more musical talent than I ever did!


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