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Summary

Free Play is about the inner sources of spontaneous creation. It is about where art in the widest sense comes from. It is about why we create and what we learn when we do. It is about the flow of unhindered creative energy: the joy of making art in all its varied forms.

Free Play is directed toward people in any field who want to contact, honor, and strengthen their own creative powers. It integrates material from a wide variety of sources among the arts, sciences, and spiritual traditions of humanity. Filled with unusual quotes, amusing and illuminating anecdotes, and original metaphors, it reveals how inspiration arises within us; how that inspiration may be blocked, derailed, or obscured by certain unavoidable facts of life; and how it can finally be liberated - how we can be liberated - to speak or sing, write or paint, dance or play, with our own authentic voice.

The whole enterprise of improvisation in life and art, of recovering free play and awakening creativity, is about being true to ourselves and our visions. It brings us into direct, active contact with boundless creative energies that we may not even know we had.

©2019 Stephen Nachmanovitch (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Essential book for creatives of any kind

This book conceptualised a lot of aspects of a creative's life and it brought a lot of awareness into creative process in so many aspects.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-10-20

Playing with Other Musicians

He gave words to that thing that is created between musicians, which is like a thing in and of itself. It's a special language, listening and interacting, a knowing, and a type of love, another place, and time...... I will be listening to this book AGAIN soon so I can write down some things. THIS is my new Big Magic.

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  • christopher j
  • 06-10-20

Improv is Intuition in Action!

Truly exceptional piece. Read with care and skill, this one is not only worth listening to, it's a valuable contribution to society. Seriously, the language is well crafted, the message is strong and positive, and it has an inspiring and encouraging feel to it. (Non judgmental.) As you listen it's as if a big brother is sharing his world with you in a loving, supportive way. I imagine the wisdom is applicable to all walks of life.

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  • Raymie
  • 10-03-21

good listen

I was looking for a book on comedic improv this was not it. good though

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  • Scott
  • 26-09-20

Great! Inspiring and insightful :)

I heard about this book through listening to the Sonic State (music production) podcast in Sept-2020 - I believe the artist that mentioned this book is named “MATTHS” and is a musician that seems to mostly use modular synthesizers.

Anyway, this book was unexpectedly exactly what I was looking for. Interesting, insightful and at times, motivating & inspiring.

I’m now planning on listening to this book again and using some of the creative exercises and concepts for my own work & life.

I’m a professional artist that never went to art school, so I love learning more about some of the classic artist in history - and what they have to say (especially because I feel under-schooled in this area) ....many of the references and concepts in this book come from areas in art that I’m very unfamiliar with (such as theater), so this peek into other creative worlds feels like a gift (to be dramatic and a little cheesy about describing it)....

Also, even the author’s insights about artists I’ve read and studied were great! For example, I’ve read books by Henry Miller before, but when the author briefly wrote about H. Miller, I still learned something new about him and his process & creative perspective & life.

The book is theoretical, practical and personal (stories from the author’s own experience are intertwined with concepts and historic examples) and these flow together nicely.

To me, the narrator’s voice was perfect for this!

Yeah, an unexpected gem for my creative world.

Enjoy :)

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-07-21

5 star book, 5 star performance

I started Stephen Nachmanovitch’s Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art expecting it to be a lightweight “creativity tune-up,” the kind of comforting pabulum all creators reach for once in a while to cheer us on and get us back in the game after a slump. What I found instead was a deeply thought-provoking exploration of what it means to be, not just an artist in any medium – music, painting, sculpture, writing, poetry – but a fully-actualized human being. Free Play’s big picture is that authentic humanity, creativity, and spirituality are an inseparable braid, maybe even three perspectives on the very same phenomenon. You deserve to read the little picture details for yourself. 5 stars.

I listened to the Blackstone Audio audiobook of Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art. The narrator, Robertson Dean, is marvelous. His pacing is perfect, and his voice is rich and expressive throughout. 5 stars for his performance, as well.

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  • Scott Perry
  • 21-07-21

Insightful and Actionable

Nachmanovitch’s work taps into ancient wisdom and timeless practices. A powerful reminder to re-engage with our childhood sense of wonder and to play our way into our creative potential. Highly recommended.

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  • Amadhi
  • 02-05-21

Wow -- just... _wow_

I've been a professional, studio artist since bout the time this book was initially written: 1990. I wish I'd read this book then. It would have helped make my arts a lot better, and helped make the challenges that face artists a lot more... productive.

Myself, I'm going to be coming back to this book time and time again in the (hopefully) coming decades.
Im also going to be getting the physical version of it too so I can highlight and dog-ear the heck out of it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-03-21

artists: you need to read this!

This book is the holy Grail of books about true creativity that you feel deep in your soul. I am mediately started the book over again, it had so many amazing golden nuggets all throughout it that really hit home to me, a full-time professional artist. You don’t have to be a musician or actor or visual artist, you can be any sort of creative human!

I cannot recommend this book enough! It’s brilliant.

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  • Nigel
  • 28-01-21

Exquisite

Goodness - this book is exquisite. Absolutely full to the brim with conceptual insight and frameworks for artistic and spiritual understanding, it is a portal to the most important leaps that help every artist free themselves from the humdrum. I will go straight into a second listen with more note taking - suffice to say that the beauty of Stephen's prose has generated multiple goosebump moments on my walks by the sea this past week. The concentration of wisdom in this achingly sensitive and perceptive volume is a gift for which I shall always be grateful. It makes sense of so many facets of the artistic and spiritual journey. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou....

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  • KEVIN J SMITH JR
  • 13-12-20

amazing study on improvisation cross discipline an

amazing study on improvisation cross discipline an
while a definite leaning toward my new favorite concept -लीलाsanscrit for divine play, like muse