11.27.2010

Are Musicians Good At Math?

There is a school of thought that says that musicians are good at math.  This is based on the fact that music is a set of patterns (like algebraic equations) and ratios: the note A Major vibrates at 440 times per second (440:1) – regardless of the instrument; a guitar string, a piano, even the human voice all vibrate at the same ratio to produce a given note. While I am a classically trained musician, I taught myself to play the guitar without instruction.  This is because once I learned the patterns, ratios, and equations that are true (like math) throughout my education, the guitar became easy to understand.  So, am I good at math? Not on your life.  In fact, I had to take remedial math in undergraduate school because my ACT scores were so low.

The math-to-music comparison is one I use often to describe the relationship between left-brain and right-brain. Each of us draws on specific sides of our brain for a variety of daily functions; it's just that many people tend to use one side much more than the other. This is very true with musicians and with writers (think of the rhythm of a poem).  I find this to be true for me and the process I go through for creativity.

I believe there is no defined process and that it varies greatly from one person to the next.  Here is an example. Today I had a meeting with someone who was faced with a potential public relations challenge.  They stated the problem and asked for me an answer.  Their problem was an “if this, than that” type of question which is a very math-based or analytical situation.  I told the person my first solution would be to solve the first part of the problem first.  Then, based on the answer to that problem I would develop a proactive PR solution.  They asked to me to give them my recommendation on the spot based on the two potentially different outcomes.  I said that a creative solution cannot be solved on the spot and that I would have to think about it (incubation, perhaps).

So, today I was an explorer first, an artist second, then I was a warrior as described by Von Oech.  Based on the article by Stultz, I would say that this scenario today could be described creative thinking + critical thinking = conceptual thinking.  I find that I work best in an environment where I allow myself to explore then incubate, so it is a hybrid of the Wallas and Von Oech approaches.

I had an Aha! moment in preparation for this post.  Not only do we take into account our own cognition, but also the consumers’ cognition was revealing. It is not just about how we process information but also how the recipient of our message will view it.  Knowing Left Brain-Right Brain theory is important in developing IMC messages because your target market will be made up of one or both types of consumers. Aha! Isn’t that the IMC approach in a nut shell – keeping the consumer, not the product, at the center of the process?

1 comment:



  1. Hạ Thiên nói.

    - Hừ, tiết lộ thì sao? Ngươi không phải nói ngươi một mực ở tại trên núi ư? Vậy làm sao mà ngươi có thể quen biết Kiều Tiểu Kiều?
    Tô Bối Bối có chút đắc ý, cuối cùng cũng thấy sơ hở của gia hỏa này.

    - Kỳ quái, người ta nói ngực lớn không có não, ngực của ngươi nhỏ như vậy sao cũng ngốc như thế?
    Hạ Thiên quay đầu nhìn vào Tô Bối Bối, bộ dáng không rõ ràng giải thích.

    - Ngươi ngươi ngươi..... Tên lưu manh nhà ngươi nói cái gì vậy?
    Tô Bối Bối bực mình đến nói cũng lắp bắp.
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    - Không sai, ta một mực đều ở trên núi, nhưng lão bà của ta chẳng lẽ không thể lên núi tìm ta à?
    Hạ Thiên một mặt xem thường:
    - Nói ngươi ngốc còn không thừa nhận!

    - Hạ Thiên, ngươi biết Kiều Tiểu Kiều đang ở đâu chứ?
    Diệp Mộng Oánh không muốn cho Hạ Thiên cùng Tô Bối Bối cãi cọ liền xen vào một câu.

    - Lần trước lúc chuẩn bị xuống núi, lão bà nói với ta muốn ta đến đại học Giang Hải tìm nàng.

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