Phil Circle in a Live Radio Appearance, 2019

In Buddhism, there are three poisons that degrade life: greed, anger, and stupidity. While thinking (chanting?) on that one evening, I decided to do some mental gymnastics in search of other poisons as they relate to my work in music. I was also putting together a master class at the time, so giving consideration to the things that kill creativity was especially relevant. I came up with this breakdown and hope it’s helpful as a guideline for growth.

Now, I’m usually a pretty positive guy and I realize that presenting the threat that something could kill your creativity might come…


Phil and his fellow acting students in a comedic play he helped write.

As I become more comfortable in my own skin and thereby easier-going about who I am and what I stand for, it has created a few groundswells in my life. One is that, after a couple decades of ignoring peoples’ insistence that I should open a school and write a guitar method book, I’m finally pursuing both. Another is that I’m realizing that my knowledge (or at least massive curiosity) about things shouldn’t be kept to my own brain. Analogous thinking means that I see a lot of subject matter from a place a few steps back, so to speak…


Phil Circle and Bob Chin

Usually, when we hear the word “ecosystem” we think of ecology. I know I typically do. For about 40 years I’ve thought of the environmental ecosystem. I’ve always been something a tree hugger. But I’ve also been something of an entrepreneur for about the same amount of time. The thing is that my business skills are exactly what have given me the means to build a life in which I enjoy creative freedom as a singer-songwriter.

The networks we create and communities we belong to, are also being referred to as ecosystems these days. As an example of how an…


Life, music, and the pursuit of happiness: This pretty well sums up what I’m into, I think. Or feel. Or intuit. I’m sharing this because there are some people who see my posts and maybe read my stories and articles and ask: What’s all this got to do with music?

It’s funny, you know? When I was a kid I wanted to be a writer. In 4th grade, I wrote something like 17 books. I even tried to turn one into a screen play, but became very anxious when the other kids I drafted weren’t serious about it. Thus ended…


What’s so great about music? Other than what each of us says about the ways it touches us personally, gives us a better quality of life, and the good and bad and always poignant memories it reaches for when we hear it… what’s so great about music? For instance, what does science say? Or philosophers and spiritualists? What do the smart people think?

Phil’s Cat, Andy Explores the World Between Two Guitars.

I was giving thought to ways I can point out the peripheral advantages of music and an article popped up about the benefits of music to patients of Alzheimer’s. My Pops, Bob Circle, suffered from Alzheimer’s and…


Phil Circle at Home on New Years Eve, 2020 (Photo by his wife, Megan)

Really: What’s all the excitement about? People often talk about it. Some actually strive for it. A few are even doing it. So, what’s so great about doing what you love? I mean, isn’t everybody getting a little tired of all this purpose-driven life, follow your bliss, authentic self dribble? I, for one, can attest to the serious amount of actual hard and sometimes tedious work involved. Then there’s the frighteningly fluctuating income stream and the unending uncertainty of getting any paid work at all. And of course, we suffer the nagging question of whether anybody else loves what we…


Practice makes perfect is a misnomer. Or mis-phrase. Or however we are supposed to explain it. But I know you know what I mean. You’re smart like that. You’re perceptive, too. See that? My imperfect command of the English language (despite being raised by a writer with a Masters in English), created something slightly more human than proper grammar. Humans aren’t perfect. And practicing until we achieve perfection is certainly a nice throw away phrase for any teacher less inclined to look for more real life approaches to music education. But, it’s not enough to just say it without examination.


What?! Green, as in environmentally friendly, as opposed to making more green. And yet, they can work together. Can’t they?

Phil Circle at Chicago’s Navy Pier for a film shoot at dawn.

Other than the obvious or possible spiritual and/or personal moral or philosophical reasons, it seems like being conscientious of green technologies and such can cost more. But, I’ve been finding otherwise. I pay attention to money because it’s often been scarce for me. Now that it’s less so, I’m paying even closer attention to how to make it work for me as it comes in. …

Phil Circle

Phil Circle is a Chicago-based singer-songwriter-guitarist, award-winning music coach and author, and the founder of Guilt By Association Records.

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