Posts tagged originality
Five things #23

Every Wednesday I share five things I liked and think you might like too. Here are this week’s five things…

  1. A conversation with Alexander Shelley (conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra & music director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa) on the architecture of music and the importance of art and culture to society. It's one of the best things I've listened to this year.
  2. A learning hack backed by science? Yes please! — The Secret to Better Learning That Most People Don’t Know.
  3. A great post on originality by Austin Kleon titled Steal Old Stuff — "When any art form or medium becomes primarily about people imitating the dominant form, we get stifling art. If you look at all of the great filmmakers, they’re all ripping someone off but it was someone 50 years ago."
  4. A very useful cognitive bias cheat sheet (make sure you check out the 'diagrammatic poster' at the bottom of the post) — Because thinking is hard.
  5. If you didn't know it already, Elon Musk and his company SpaceX are awesome. Last week they announced their plans for Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species. They seem to be very serious when they say they want to send humans to Mars. Redefines what it means to be ambitious!

That's all for this week. If you liked this, check out my previous Five Things posts or sign up to receive future posts in your inbox.

"You only exist through all the beautiful music you’ve heard" Nils Frahm
Nils Frahm performing in Norwich — Photo by me

Nils Frahm performing in Norwich — Photo by me


Nils Frahm is one of my favourite musicians. I've seen him live four or five times now and each time he's blown me away.

I read this great interview with him this morning where he talks about creativity, composition and on being original. I highly recommend you give it a quick read. The video is great too.

This passage really stuck out to me:

With composition, I’m doing something I’ve learned from other musicians, I’ve learned from other artists, I’ve learned from life. Most of my musical ideas are coming from other people’s musical ideas. And so we are all connected. It would be silly to say that it’s all mine. Nothing really is mine. There are 12 notes in an octave. Was that my idea to use 12 notes in an octave? No, but I still use it. For me, it’s actually a comforting thought that I’m not doing something totally, totally unique. You only exist through all the beautiful music you’ve heard. All the boring experiences and all the beautiful experiences I’m having… Everything jumps in as a source of inspiration. If it sounds right, then I’m happy, no matter how I got there. I just want to make beautiful music.

Creativity and being original relies on exposing ourselves to as many ideas as possible. We are the summation of those influences. Taking one idea and placing it in the context of another — that's originality.

If you haven't heard any Nils Frahm's music this is a good place to start. Read the full interview with Nils here.