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Leaving Room For Magic
In a world of 1s and 0s, we cannot let natural creativity die.
Paul McCartney can’t read or write music.
Musicians like McCartney are known in the industry as ‘hummers’ for their ability to create new music by humming the tune and reproducing it with musical instruments, rather than recording the notes on conventional music sheets. This type of composing takes an astonishingly intuitive feel for music, not to mention an outstanding memory.
“I don’t see music as dots on a page. It’s something in my head that goes on,” the legendary musician told 60 Minutes.
McCartney’s solo writing credits include mega-hits like Yesterday, Eleanor Rigby, Penny Lane, Hey Jude, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Let It Be.
All of which were constructed in his head.
Recently, rare footage surfaced of McCartney’s brilliance in action. With an attentive Ringo Starr and yawning George Harrison looking on, McCartney starts a new song by playing a few incoherent strums, blurting out sounds as placeholder lyrics. Playing without pause, he iterates every few bars, finding patterns and words that fit together, returning to them shortly after to commit them to memory.
As the catchy tune starts to materialize, Starr and Harrison both perk up, clearly realizing their bandmate has something. Starr begins clapping in tune to add mock percussion, while Harrison adds guitar accents of his own. Suddenly, McCartney has formed lyrics. As if from nowhere, he confidently sings:
Get back! Get back! Get back to where you once belonged!
By the time John Lennon enters the studio, Starr was at the drum kit adding rhythm, and McCartney and Harrison had the guitar progressions in place. Minus a few words here and there, the three of them were playing Get Back, the song that would become the band’s tenth best-selling song.
Starting with nothing, Paul McCartney intuitively constructed Get Back within mere minutes.
Musicians who compose ‘by ear’ are often disregarded or dismissed as unsophisticated. What those critics don’t seem to realize is that we need instinctive creators.
We need ‘by ear’ musicians or we lose The Beatles.
We need ‘gut feel’ people or we lose humanity.
We need to leave room for magic.
Sport is full of people who play and coach and contribute ‘by ear’. They may not have traditional skills or have come through the right talent pathway or hit certain metrics in testing, but they have magic in them.
It’s our job to help foster that magic.
Are there areas that you’ve dismissed expertise because they don’t come from the traditional path or the accepted norm? (Like reading sheet music)
Do you know people who have magic in them that is going unrealized?
Where does magic exist that, if harnessed, could provide a Beatles-sized competitive advantage?