Wednesday, 17 July 2019


Composers create excitement in an audience by quickening their music. The last movements of symphonies by Haydn and Mozart give audiences fast, enjoyable and stimulating musical rides.

If you ever need to stimulate and excite your thinking (and in the process uncover new and creative ideas) quicken what you do:
  • Use "Yes or No Meetings". At the beginning of these meetings, attendees vote for or against any decisions that need to be made. After this initial voting, the provisional decisions are reviewed and either confirmed or changed.
  • Ask people to make quick selections of solutions (or causes of problems) and then review the selections made.
  • Set short and challenging time limits for brainstorming and other activities.
  • Sketch a quick and simple outline, picture or diagram of a problem or solution.
  • Create a sense of urgency by emphasising the necessity for quick and effective action.
Also, composers will often gradually quicken their music until it reaches a climax. This adds a feeling of anticipation that increases audiences' excitement: Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King from his Peer Gynt Suite is a popular example. If you want to achieve a similar effect within your own context, create a series of deadlines where the amount of time between each one is slightly but also significantly reduced (e.g., 10 days, 8 days, 6 days, 5 days, 4 days, 3 days, 2 days, 1 day...). The sense of ever more quickly working towards a climax or launch date will encourage excitement and stimulate thinking and action.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Do the everyday hard graft

When I studied music, my main focus was composing. This entailed a lot of copying: copying initial ideas into sketch books, copying more developed ideas onto musical scores, copying instrumental parts from scores.

Unsurprisingly, copying became an important part of my compositional process; seeing the notes forming and intertwining as I copied them provided me with a strong sense of how each note and phrase rubbed along and interacted with another.

As I copied out my ideas, my thoughts about developing and enhancing them gained clarity; the task of copying provided the space within which my intuitions about my music could incubate and then rise to the surface of my thinking.

Everyday and seemingly mundane tasks can gradually reveal how intricate details rub along, interrelate and frequently combine to create surprising and creative things. Embrace these tasks: they make eureka moments possible.