Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Godowski's challenge

Leopold Godowski was a man who liked a challenge, and it was a trait that contributed to him becoming one of the greatest pianists of his generation.

His ‘Studies on Chopin’s Etudes’ take Chopin’s music and make it even more demanding. Some of them transfer the difficult right hand parts to the left hand and others are rearranged for the left hand only. Some of the studies even interweave two etudes: one played by the left hand and the other by the right.

Many of us, having worked hard to reach a high level of achievement and success, can very easily become complacent and with this can come a staleness of mind that degrades our thinking and impedes our creativity and ability to innovate. This can sometimes be seen in people who have success early in life, when they subsequently find it difficult to motivate themselves onwards towards even greater achievements.

If we wish to maintain and develop our creativity and ability to innovate we need to find new challenges that will keep our thinking fresh and agile.

If you ever smell the stale whiff of complacency settling upon you think about the following types of questions:

  • If you have had a great success how can you build upon it?
  • If one of your ideas has been widely praised and implemented how can you enhance it and adapt it to more uses?
  • How could you achieve the same outcome with only half the resources?
  • How could you combine your idea with those of others to create something of more value than the sum of the parts?
  • What is the next goal you could set yourself that would bridge the gap between very good and excellent?
  • What is the one thing no one has tried because it is considered too complex and difficult and what small part of it could you to take on and overcome?


  1. It's what my friend Bill Nelson calls "Stay Young" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieFfZshRBAY

  2. Yes, and taking Toscanini's challenge helps you to stay young: http://charleslines.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/toscaninis-challenge.html


I would really like to hear people's views and ideas about music and creativity - just leave a quick message here.