Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.
As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.
The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.
Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit www.afm.org/join.
April 1, 2021IM -
Creativity goes far beyond your artistic outlets—it’s about doing something meaningful, giving you a sense of purpose. Acting on your creativity comes with a bonus side effect of living longer, because being creative reduces stress and keeps your brain active.
Not that you needed those stats to want to continue to love and foster your musical outlet, but you might be wondering how you can tap into your creativity more. How can you spark those creative juices?
My short answer is … breathe.
You know that your brain needs a constant supply of oxygen to survive. In fact, your brain uses 20% of the oxygen and blood in your body. But when you start breathing with intention and focusing on how you’re breathing, you can ignite a new flow of energy. Breathing purposefully can calm your emotions, help remove stress, bring about inspiration, enhance memory recall, and give a sense of mental clarity. All of which allow you to tap deeper into your creative state.
Your brain processes sound on the opposite sides of the head, so I’m going to teach you a breathing technique that’s done on only one side at a time and also stimulates the opposite side of the brain. Breathing through the left nostril is calming and soothing, while breathing through the right nostril is stimulating and energizing. Utilizing this technique in full will help you lower stress levels and heart rate, improve respiratory and cardiovascular health and allow your creative energy to flow freely.
I’m all about healthy habit stacking, so after you’ve added your new alternate nostril breathing technique into your routine, you can enhance the practice even further by adding an essential oil to the mix.
Aromatically interacting with an essential oil can alter your mood within 10 seconds. A great way to do this is by using an ultrasonic diffuser to push the aromatic compounds of the essential oil into the air you’re breathing. Topical application is also extremely beneficial. Apply the oil to one or two of your easily accessible pulse points (on the wrists, over your heart, inside of your elbow bend, and on your neck), or put a couple drops on the palms of your hands and deeply inhale. Regardless of how you use the essential oil, it will reach every cell in your body within 20 minutes—so it is a natural, fast-acting, safe, and convenient way to help control your mood and emotions.
Some oils that spark creativity and help with your creative blocks are: wild orange, tangerine, and clary sage. Let’s dive a little deeper into tangerine though, as this is the oil of cheer and creativity.
The tangerine fruit has been used throughout history in Chinese culture and herbal health practices. Tangerine is unique among citrus oils because of its diverse chemical makeup. Not only is it rich in limonene, but it also includes significant amounts of alpha-pinene, myrcene, and even linalool. This allows tangerine to be emotionally uplifting while also calming when experienced aromatically.
Tangerine essential oil smells sweet and tangy. It invites you to make room for your creative side, inserting fun, joy, and spontaneity. When you’re feeling stifled creatively, overworked, heavy-hearted, or joyless, the scent of tangerine can quickly turn those feelings into positive emotions bringing cheer and evoking creativity.
Both breathing and using essential oils are not just easy with fast-acting results, but they both come with a myriad of health benefits. So, if you’re open to these two natural solutions, I encourage you to implement them and begin your empowered journey to convenient and safe practices to help you deepen your creativity.