My Morning Routine

Recently a musician friend of mine made a post on Facebook about books that had helped him be more creative and work through blocks that he had, both physical and mental. One book that was on the list was a book that I must had started to read half a dozen times since I purchased it years ago. I decided that it was time to give it another shot and started reading The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron –


The first thing she has you do is an exercise called Morning Pages. Here’s the explanation from her website:

The bedrock tool of a creative recovery is a daily practice called Morning Pages.

Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*– they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.”

I have become addicted to them. It’s been about 2 months and my morning just isn’t the same if I don’t do them. But in addition to doing the traditional Morning Pages, I also do some music composing, what I call Morning Compositions, while keeping the same theme and goals in mind.

Morning CompositionsI compose a line of notes, a line of rhythms, and a line of chord progressions. The composition ideas came from three sources.  The first was Stan Smith (my jazz composition teacher from Capital University where I’m working on my Masters) who had me write tone rows as one of my assignments once. Trumpeter Dave Douglas (at a 2014 JEN Clinic) talked about setting limits, so often I will pick a range or a series of notes to play around with. Sometimes I’ll use a 12-sided dice or something to create a random series of notes. The composer, Michael Abene told me that he often composes using a rhythm first, so I stole that idea as well. I don’t worry about what they sound like, or what they look like. Just like Morning Pages, Morning Compositions is about the process and has me creating music every day. They may turn out to be something useable in the future, but that’s not really the point for me right now.

What does your morning routine look like? Share with me anything you do to be creative and jump start the process.

One thought on “My Morning Routine

  1. I love the Artist’s Way, and have found it immensely valuable in helping me to step out of my own way to release the creative beauty lying latently inside. I really like your idea of “Morning Compositions”. I’ve been doing something similar to this for some years now, and it is without a doubt from where I find my best (truest, most authentic and clearist) compositional themes.

    I like to sing each morning before I practice my instrument. I usually start with a simple theme and/or intervallic movement, and start to improvise very slowly and mindfully, looking for easy resonance in my voice as I follow my ear. Besides getting me ready to make music on my saxophone, it continues to build my trust in my muse and in my ears. Thanks for a very nice post, Monica!

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