Brian Alger is writer, musician, and retired entrepreneur sharing his lifelong passion for creativity.
I have always been passionate about creativity, artistry, and ideation. Being creative is an innate source of joy, consolation, and fulfillment for me. My main interest is in how we can cultivate deep creativity in order to broaden and expand the experience of being alive. In other words, creativity is a way to confront the full force of life. It generates opportunity. It helps us find our way through adversity. And it helps us to become more fully human and humane.
My career has has three phases: a) music; b) education; and c) entrepreneurship.
Music is a source of innate joy for me. discovered a passion for musical creativity and improvisation during my graduate studies in ethnomusicology at York University. This provided a significant contrast to my training as a classical pianist during my undergraduate studies at McMaster University. This shift marked a fundamental change in my musical interests, which, 35 years later, have re-emerged as a focus of exploration in this site.
I believe that musical creativity is a wonderful metaphor for life. Improvisation is a fundamental skill in living a life worth living, especially during difficult periods of time. Sometimes, as I have discovered, it is a survival skill. Our life course is an emergent property of the situations and circumstances we find ourselves in. We create a personal story by making, or failing to make, decisions about how best to live. And, of course, sometimes the best we can do is struggle to find a way to adapt to imposed events.
Another major interest in my life is learning. As a teacher, I was interested in the design of curriculum and instruction. Learning, for me, is skill of navigating the confluence of everyday life. Education and training are something entirely different often disconnected from everyday life. Learning is the art of finding ways to live a life worth living exactly where you are. It is a creative act because, like improvisation, it is always about creating motion and finding a way forward.
Finally, I was an entrepreneur for most of my career. Entrepreneurship is the intersection of business and creativity. The businesses I was involved in varied from international consulting to owning a local investment advisory business. Creativity was the guiding force in all of my entrepreneurial endeavors.
At the time of writing this, I am 60 years old, retired, and have started the culminating phase of my life. Creativity has been the connecting thread in my life since childhood and my intention is to embrace creative self-expression to the end. I believe that creative self-expression makes life more interesting, worthwhile, and enjoyable. Moreover, it touches something deep and abiding within the human spirit.
I’m convinced that creativity, improvisation, and ideation are pathways to a more engaged and fulfilling experience of being alive. Living a creatively doesn’t mean that life will always be easy or enjoyable. I doesn’t mean I will always get it right, nor do I need to. But a creative sensibility is a positive way to navigate the good times and the bad times. Creativity is, for me, an essential way to make life meaningful, genuine, and authentic.
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- Administrative Items: Not creative, but necessary:
- The education phase of my career focused on creative used of technology and learning.
- Our Cultural Chrysalis: An article written in 1998 by Brent Phillips at Brock University exploring three perspectives on the use of technology in learning in 1998. Brent categorized my approach to technology as “Cautious-Optimistic.”