Sunday, 3 February 2019

Beethoven's notebook

Beethoven used notebooks to jot down and then develop his musical ideas. He would record his thoughts with personal shorthand that was easy for him to use and recall. This helped his notebooks to become increasingly tailored to his way of thinking, gradually transforming them into ‘musical mind maps’ that tracked and supported his compositional journey from seedling of an idea to fully flowering masterwork.
Initially unremarkable ideas would evolve into inspired components of great works: one small musical insight leading to another until the various layers of development transformed something humdrum into something brilliant. Beethoven’s famous Ode to Joy went through many changes before it bloomed into the stunningly simple and triumphantly glorious Finale of his 9th Symphony.
The above shows that creative problem solving is very often a gradual process that relies upon the identification and development of small insights that, over time, lead to innovative and sometimes inspired ideas and solutions.
If you want to enhance your ability to creatively problem solve develop the habit of noting down your ideas, however trivial they may seem to you at the time. Also note down your ideas about your ideas: your thoughts about how your ideas could be developed and enhanced.

Try the following:  
  • Keep a personal notebook.
  • Develop your own way of keeping your notes that is quick, easy and memorable.
  • Form the habit of writing down ideas and insights as soon as they occur to you.
  • Invest five to ten minutes at the end of each day reviewing what has happened during it and noting down any insights or ideas that occur to you.
  • Make a point of writing down at least three insights or ideas each day (however small, insignificant or unoriginal they may at first seem to you). 
  • Regularly review your ideas and note down anything that would help you combine and develop them.  
If you want to enhance your creative problem solving, take a leaf out of Beethoven’s notebook: gain the habit of identifying and recording those small insights that can separate the exceptional from the humdrum.

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