Make Do Play - Week Four

This third week of the Make Do Play challenges started on a bit of a low for me: as I mentioned towards the end of last week I've been feeling quite unwell for a few days now. My energy levels are incredibly low, and I seem to have no motivation to do anything at all!

However, as soon as I saw the first prompt for the week, it made me smile.

Day Twenty-Two

When I saw the prompt for today I chuckled to myself, because I do this all the time. It's a silly little habit, I often sing-speak to my friends and family. There's actually even a term for it: Sprechstimme is a German Expressionist technique, which refers to a style of speech singing that falls somewhere between the operatic 'recitative' and a natural speaking style. Even the pioneer of the style (the composer Schoenberg) was unable to describe exactly what he meant!

Music notation indicates the technique of Sprechstimme by adding a tiny 'x' to the stave of the note - it indicates a style that falls somewhere between speaking and singing, but even the composer found it very difficult to describe!

Day Twenty-Three

This took me a couple of attempts (and a couple of cups of coffee, naturally) as I think the paper I was using was a bit too absorbent - several of the splashes turned into splodges!

I thought the splashes looked a little like flowers, when they had dried, so I coloured in around the outside, and I actually quite like the result.

Day Twenty-Four

As I've written about previously during this challenge, one of my favourite 'happy' songs is Happy by Pharrell Williams (not particularly imaginative, I know!), it just puts me in a really good mood! There have even been studies into what makes Happy so... well, happy: it's a combination of the chord progressions, harmonies, tempo, and other musical signatures which combine to create one of the most popular songs of the last decade.

Having said that, there are plenty of songs that make me feel good, depending on my mood: for example; I like to listen to classic rock (ACDC You Shook Me All Night Long, Meatloaf's Bat Out Of Hell, or anything by Queen!) if I'm in need of an energy boost; classical music is great for inspiration (and Yoga!) with Pachelbel's Canon in D being among my favourite pieces; or I have a playlist of songs (not going to tell you which ones!) that I listen to while I'm getting ready for a night out... 

Day Twenty-Five

When I thought about this prompt, it called to mind a heart-rate monitor, so that's how I drew my day!

Today I woke up, travelled to work, had a busy morning and a quick lunch, then a busy afternoon: after work I travelled back and went out for tea before heading home and relaxing in front of the television: can you see all of that in there?

Thinking of my day like this, I'm sure that most days would look very similar. Maybe the days I'm studying would have less peaks of activity, but they're just as exhausting!

Day Twenty-Six
Craft Making

I had the morning free today, so I packed up my camera and went for a wander; heading in the vague direction of the University, but taking a much less direct path than I would usually. Partly this was prompted by the challenge, partly because of other coursework that I wanted to reflect on, and a little bit because of the weather, which has just a hint of Spring in the air!



Taking a different route to a place you visit regularly has been extolled as a way of enhancing creativity, exercising your brain along with your body, and boosting confidence. It's something I'm lucky enough to be able to do quite often, as I work close to the University campus, and Covent Garden has plenty to offer in the way of a different way!
However, taking my camera with me today encouraged me to slow down a lot more, to look around more, and to stop and savour the different views I found.

Day Twenty-Seven

The video below is really terrible quality, as it's quite old now! However, it is one of my all-time favourite dance videos because of everything that I associate with it:

Hanna Kartunnen and Victor da Silva: Strictly Come Dancing Professional Showdance - 2006

I watched this dance on the BBC in 2006. At the time I was in my final year of dance training, and we had just learned several of these lifts in Partnering Class, so it was really exciting to see them performed so beautifully and (seemingly) effortlessly. I dreamed of being able to dance like this, and, because of the place I was at in my life, I honestly believed that one day I might (spoiler alert: I didn't!). However, this routine did inspire a performance of my own, many years later; and, as mentioned on Day Twenty-Four, the track they dance to is one of my favourites as well!

Day Twenty-Eight

As I mentioned on Day Twenty-Two, I often make up little songs, and sing rather than speak. However these little ditties don't usually rhyme and are usually pure nonsense. It was trickier than I thought to try and make my day rhyme...

When I was a teenager I used to write poems all the time - they weren't very good, but I feel that thinking about the way words work together, whether that's through alliteration, assonance, or rhyme, helps expand vocabulary and writing skills. I love language, and playing with words, and I think that being exposed to poetry at a young age helped to foster this love.

Conclusion: End of Week Four
I didn't realise this was the final week - I thought I had another four days to go! I'm actually quite sad that there will be no more little creative nudges popping into my inbox each day.
However, this month has inspired me to try different things, and find the creative potential in everyday activities, so that is something that I will try and take forward with me.
I believe that the arts are so important, not only for the economy and cultural life, but for personal and mental health. One thing that has struck me most about this project is that creativity can be spurred by the simplest things, if we learn to explore, and find the fun in what might appear to be mundane tasks (such as singing while walking to work!).

"In every job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and Snap! The job's a game." Mary Poppins
Image Source:

The 'Make Do Play' Research refers to some of the ways in which taking part in creative activities (or creating them yourself!) can help enhance wellbeing. Each element of the research alone would be more than enough reason to engage with the arts, and I defy anyone to tell me that there's no point to creative and cultural activities, or that they are 'elite' or 'inaccessible'. Through this project I have been made even more aware that arts engagement can be self-created and self-led, as many of the prompts I completed at home, without needing any specialist equipment or skills.

Several of the prompts have provided me with new methods of relaxing or unwinding (such as on Day Twelve), or given me new ideas for working on methods that I have already encountered (like the mindfulness drawings)
Which activities have been your favourites throughout the challenge?

Read my other blogs about the Make Do Play Challenge!
Week One
Week Two
Week Three


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