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Manifesto for Musicianship

Updated: Apr 29, 2022

The Art and science of music-making

Independent musician Iwan Gronow provides perspective on creativity in his music-making process. Iwan is the bassist in Johnny Marr's band, has toured the world, played at festivals including Glastonbury, Coachella, and Fuji Rock, and appeared on Later with Jools Holland and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

The manifesto for music-making is:

1 Imagination.

The creative process initiates and iteratively turns an idea into its final form and brings it to life through a progression of thoughts and actions by applying creative and critical thinking and applied practical problem-solving skills. In general, all musicians go through three phases to bring their ideas to fruition—Dream, Make, and Do to transform their nascent ideas into music!!

"It starts with a rhythm, beat, or crafting a simple chord arrangement, a melody that I've dreamed up from my imagination. The key is to find the creative trigger and just start!"

2 Orchestration.

Making music is iterative and constant, encompassing idea inception, concept development, orchestration of musical talent and instrumentation, bringing it all together, and making it cohesive within a finished product.

"I develop the musical concept organically by infusing additional instruments like guitars and synthesizers, depending on whether the song needs it. I work on the lyrics and ideas individually or with my bandmates on the song's building blocks and decide on the sonic, instrumentation, arrangements—the intro, verse, chorus, bridge, outro, recording, and production."

3 Do-It-Yourself.

Rejecting conventions and originating new ideals to the rebellious impetuosity of non-conformity with direct action and not selling out, but rather doing it in your own style and pace.

"I taught myself how to play the guitar. Learning by ear and through doing. Listening to songs on record and cassette, dissecting them, and eventually working out what key they were in and the chords. Getting it wrong and persisting through experimentation and determination until I got it right in my own way and style. Treating learning as essential to mastering the craft."

4 Half inspiration, half elimination.

Stanley Kubrick shot millions of reels of film, knowing that most of it would end up on the cutting room floor. Like music-making, you assemble and refine different pieces to create a cohesive whole, which shows that the creative process can be half-inspiration and half-elimination.

"Sometimes you have to be ruthless by deleting a lot of material to hone the song to what its natural course becomes."

5 Time, place, occasion.

Creativity inspires urban development which attracts bohemians and artists with the attraction of being exposed to innovative ideas, like-minded people and innovations is more likely to happen, than in rural area. Drawing more creatives to these open-minded, modern, and progressive communities and the culture and amenities that come with them, by forming a social system with distinct values, attitudes, and feelings learned and transmitted from each generation.

"We threw everything we owned into a van and headed north to Manchester from Cornwall to make it. Landing on the doorstep of the late, great Joe Moss!"


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"Unknown Origins" soundtrack composed and performed by Iain Mutch


Roy Sharples

Founder and CEO of Unknown Origins, a creative studio on a mission to save the world from unoriginality by unleashing the power of creativity. Author of "Creativity Without Frontiers: How to make the invisible visible by lighting the way into the future."

Photo credit @ Brian Smale.

Attitude. Imagination. Execution.

Unknown Origins. All rights reserved © copyright 2021

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