Tag Archives: The Creative Process

The Unplayable Piano

“..all of us, from time to time, need to sit down and try and play the unplayable piano.” -Tim Hartford

On the long flight home from Rome this summer I found myself watching TED Talks on the aircraft’s entertainment system. Already thinking about the beginning of a new semester, one talk in particular caught my attention. Tim Hartford, an economist and journalist, gave a brilliant talk about frustration and how it can actually help us overcome obstacles and discover unforeseen possibilities in any creative process, whether it’s the design of a jet engine, the design of a musical composition, or the creation of a work of art. Weaving in examples from cognitive and social psychology, complexity science, and rock and roll, Hartford’s bottom line is simple. What we need in order to tap our highest creative potential is, in his words, “a dash of mess.”

Listen to the full Koln Concert of Keith Jarrett

Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies

David Bowie’s “Lodger” album (1979)

Carlos Alomar (Bowie’s guitarist, discusses working with Bowie, inspiration and motivation)


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Filed under Process, Theory