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The Power of a Partner

The missing element in your creative process is probably not a piece of gear, or some high-end plugins. It’s a creative partner.

In an opinion piece published by the New York Times last week, author Joshua Wolf Shenk argues that one of the longest running misconceptions of the creative process is that genius ideas stem from an individual person.

Citing examples of Albert Einstein and his favorite “sounding board,” which included the engineer Michele Besso, and Monet with Renoir; Shenk makes a case that many of the best creative ideas actually come out of pairs of people, not individuals or groups.

“Two people are the root of social experience—and of creative work,” he says.

In another article published by The Atlantic , Shenk uses Paul McCartney and John Lennon as the ultimate example of a creative partnership and collective genius.

From that article, he shares an insightful quote that speaks to the dynamic of Lennon and McCartney’s creative relationship: “John needed Paul’s attention to detail and persistence,” Cynthia Lennon, John’s first wife, said. “Paul needed John’s anarchic, lateral thinking.”

Engineer for The Beatles, Geoff Emerich highlighted their differences even further:

"Paul was meticulous and organized: he always carried a notebook around with him, in which he methodically wrote down lyrics and chord changes in his neat handwriting. In contrast, John seemed to live in chaos: he was constantly searching for scraps of paper that he’d hurriedly scribbled ideas on. Paul was a natural communicator; John couldn’t articulate his ideas well. Paul was the diplomat; John was the agitator. Paul was soft-spoken and almost unfailingly polite; John could be a right loudmouth and quite rude. Paul was willing to put in long hours to get a part right; John was impatient, always ready to move on to the next thing. Paul usually knew exactly what he wanted and would often take offense at criticism; John was much more thick-skinned and was open to hearing what others had to say. In fact, unless he felt especially strongly about something, he was usually amenable to change."

With the ability to do so much at home, it’s easy to create music without interacting with other artists. However, according to Shenk, this may not a good thing. A creative partner can challenge and inspire your ideas by taking your music to an entirely new level.

Before you go shopping for another piece of gear, you may want to look into finding a partner. If you’re feeling like you’re in a creative slump, or your music production isn’t turning out the way you want it to; it may just be the missing piece of the puzzle in your creative process.

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