One lesson I learned from a drummer on unlocking creativity

Bruno Rigolino on

My best friend is a professional musician and producer. Today, he’s among the ten most creative and talented people I know. But he taught me a helpful lesson when we were kids, and he was still learning how to play.

He was great. In his first five years, he could play complex progressive music and handle a gigantic drum set. He was always adding new toms and cymbals until he changed teachers.

His new teacher was jazzist.

He started to introduce my friend to jazz drummers and lean sets. One day, when I entered his practice room, he was assembling his kit in a new configuration.

He said that having many options in his set was good to practice progressive music. Still, to keep improving his technique, he needed to change constraints: instead of handling many toms and cymbals, he would create as many variations as he could with the most minimal drum set possible.

That day I learned an essential lesson to creative professionals: constraints can be a way to unlock creativity. The challenge is understanding, and when possible, selecting the right ones.