Play it like Jazz, Campfire Bath

We had our first Campfire Bath in April bringing together people who are directing their energy, creativity and talents to do good in their work, life and play.

Mr John Cullum, Chairman of The Forever Friends Appeal was our first guest storyteller, sharing stories, thoughts and insights on TALENT. John nurtured the natural talent in two boys – Ben and Jamie Cullum – encouraging them to become successful musicians writing and playing music around the world. He is now nurturing the talent of others through the launch of the Cullum Family Music Scholarship Programme.

One thing John shared sent a message out to me loud and clear on repeat: ‘Play it like Jazz Kat, play it like Jazz.’

Both sons went to classical piano lessons. Ben loved it and passed all his exams. Jamie hated it and gave up at Grade 3.  Classical music expected Jamie to play the right notes in the right order.  But Jamie has Jazz and improvisation in his heart.  In Jazz a discordant note opens up a whole new jam, a whole new possibility.  Having to play the ‘right’ notes is restrictive and shuts this possibility and freedom down.

I strongly relate to this with my own creativity.  My mind says get it right, get it perfect and do it in the right way. Sometimes this means I don’t start, sometimes this means I shut it down, sometimes I try to control it. Always it is tiring, restrictive and minimising.  My heart shares the same love of freedom as a Jazz musician.  When my heart is open and I’m creating my work, life and play there are no wrong moves, only different paths and possibilities to explore.  I go for something and whatever comes, in whatever way is a delight and a surprise.  So from now on I’m consciously playing my life like Jazz – no wrong notes! I’m willing to make glorious mistakes that open up new paths and possibilities – pure creative freedom to play.

John shared 6 guidelines for nurturing talent in our children, employees and others around us. Take note:

  1. Provide a continuous learning environment from the start
  2. Look for and encourage early aptitudes or interest levels
  3. Provide the tools to support enquiry and aptitude development
  4. Be realistic but encouraging when nurturing talent for the longterm
  5. Provide early financial support where possible, rarely can talent develop without money to fund the learning or resources
  6. Encourage continuous learning to deepen the level of talent and its longevity


This Campfire Bath film was produced by Jackie Sloane (minutemovies.co.uk). Music is Jamie Cullum’s Pure Imagination – beautiful hey.

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