Oh, I think they are equivalent. In both mathematics and musical professional training, there is “perfect practice makes perfect”. Professional training with musicians you must stop right when you make an error, back track, go slowly and repeat until you get it right before continuing with the piece. I would place discovery and use of heuristics as equivalent to improvisational practice. Mathematics is an art and there are many equivalent ways to express similar things as with music. With music, you can “hear” the calculations as they happen but with mathematics you would only hear the calculations if you can read the steps and understand the placement of heuristics in surprising places. There is a difference in quality of process and results between a student using heuristics and a professional using heuristics just as there is a difference between the improvisation of a professional musician vs the improvisation of a student. I can’t read mathematical formulas but I can read code and I can “feel” what it’s doing as I look it, which I suspect people who can read mathematical formulas can do, which is why I believe it is equivalent to musical improvisation: the same musical idea can be present but be brought forth in numerous ways.

Oh, I think they … [read full article]


I learned an avant guarde notation at 14 years old that I’ve used now and again. I’m trying to find out what it’s called. But it was marking impressions left to right of the “feel” of the composition. It was less about precision of notes – not at all really – as it’s designed for interpretation by the performer so that the same score will be played differently by anybody who works with it while capturing completely the sense being conveyed. I want to say it was a John Cage thing or maybe from the Jazz world. I’m going to have to find it. I had those lessons in the mid 1980s.

I learned an avant [read full article]


At 11, I was supposed to go to Julliard music school. Right near the entry time, I bowed out. I could see my future and I didn’t like it. Same time frame, I stopped a “Gifted Class” test when I realized it wasn’t for me. I love going in deep but quickly. I can’t free float. I need to stay tethered so long as I choose the tether.

At 11, I was [read full article]


I was disappointed at first that I was so close to norms, but in a way, that’s a good. It shows that I’m not excessively removed from humanity, that I can understand and relate and explain in ways that can be understood. It also says good things about humanity: That we may be far more creative than we are given credit for, that “that random average guy over there” may secretly have dreams of being a great musician or that puzzling out how to hold their household or business together requires as much creativity as you or I.

I was disappointed at [read full article]


I don’t think it’s anything special of me. It’s just easier for me to “do friends” online than off. Here, I’ll make analogies: Is a Pokemon player limited to Dunbar’s number or can they easily memorize 807 Pokemon * their abilities ^ their interactions with each other? Or: Can a musician know musical phrases from tens of thousands of songs? These big numbers are nothing special.

I don’t think it’s [read full article]


When I was 11, my mom took me to special piano lessons to get ready to apply for Julliard music school. I went to them, just sort of following along, did well, all the while imagining what going to that school and what a life as a professional musician might be like. But the more I thought about it, the more I knew I didn’t want it. Perfect practice makes perfect, getting constantly judged… So, after six months of special lessons I knew she couldn’t afford, nervous I’d disappoint her for wasting her money and time, I said that I didn’t want to go to that music school, bracing myself for anger. But, she said “ok” and that was that. To this day, I _still_ occasionally thank her that she listened to me when it mattered.

When I was 11, [read full article]