5 Podcasts That Spark Creativity

5-podcasts-that-spark-creativity

Early in the week, my internet was out for 24 hours, and while trying not to use mobile data, I realized how much I listen to podcasts and how much I missed them! Today I’m going to feature some favorite podcasts. I am definitely a podcast junkie, so I’ll narrow it down a little: favorite podcasts that inspire my creativity.

1) Creativity Drill

Jonathan and Dawn Rundman talk to creative people of all types about life. Jonathan is a musician, and Dawn is a psychologist - combine that with interesting guests, and you get wonderfully thoughtful conversations. I always love hearing about people’s creative processes, even if they’re not musicians. This one looks like it’s not being updated currently, but there’s a whole archive to dig into.

2) Pratfalls Podcast

The Pratfalls Podcast, hosted by Levi Weinhagen, used to be Pratfalls of Parenting, conversations with artists/creatives who are also parents, which I always enjoyed, even as a non-parent - it’s all about the great conversations, regardless of the guest’s status as parent or not. I always appreciate the vulnerability that results from it, a side effect of “the relationship between making cool things and being a person in the world”, as the podcast describes itself.

3) #CreateLounge

The Create Lounge podcast, hosted by Kayla Hollatz, focuses mostly on creative entrepreneurs, and often covers business topics and the intersection and balance of business and life (self-care). I like hearing about how other self-employed creative people are making it work in their business - even ideas from non-musicians give me interesting possibilities to think about that I might be able to use. Bonus: Kayla hosts a vibrant Twitter chat every Wednesday night, and has all kinds of insights on how to build a thriving community.

4) Magic Lessons

Magic Lessons is Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast based on her last book Big Magic, about inspiration, the creative process, and working through our fears as we go. Each episode features a call from someone who’s feeling creatively stuck and would like some coaching from Elizabeth, but she also calls another successful person in the field to join in and impart some wisdom. It always makes me feel like whatever has been holding me back doesn’t need to. I still haven’t finished season 2 because I want to make sure to savor it and absorb all of the gems.

5) Composer Quest

Composer Quest, hosted by Charlie McCarron, is my favorite music podcast - I love hearing the conversations about the composition process, and discovering new music by interesting people from all genres and parts of the world. Sadly, it is soon coming to an end, but also has included bi-monthly composing quests that anyone could participate in (which I never did for some reason - I suppose that I still could go back and do them!) There are very few music composition podcasts out there, so it will be missed, but there are so many episodes to go back and re-listen to.

BONUS: Hidden Brain Episode #53: Embrace the Chaos 

Learning about human minds and behavior always fascinates me, and Hidden Brain always gives me something to think about, but the current episode (#53) is about being messy (literally or figuratively), and how it can aid your creativity. The most memorable part, to me, was the mention of Keith Jarrett’s Koln concert (one of the most popular jazz albums of all time), which almost didn’t happen. When he arrived at the concert hall, he found a piano that he deemed unplayable, even after a last-minute tuning. Then, after being begged to stay and play the concert anyway, he finally agreed, but the instrument’s issues forced him to stay within the mid-range notes and to use a heavy playing style to get sound out of it - the limitations imposed by the situation still yielded something great.

As I work through some blocks with my current arranging projects, I’m trying to embrace this idea by shaking up my routine and methods in unexpected ways. As Caroline Winegeart said in her recent blog post, if you’re a planner by nature, you just have to work experimentation into the plan.

Even though I clearly have a problem and will never get through all of the podcast subscriptions I already have, I’m always looking for awesome new ones to get into - what are your favorite podcasts that spark your creativity?

Rebecca Hass

Pianist and composer