New Year resolutions, and evolution

This is the first post for the new year, so let’s just say a belated happy new year! How did you spend new year’s eve? For some people, the period between Christmas and New Year is one continuous stretch of partying and drinking and eating. New Year’s eve might have been nothing different, merely a repeat of the day after Boxing Day. For others, new year’s eve is more of a special event, spent with family members in the living room, reminiscing about the past, playing board games such as Monopoly, Cluedo, or other board games that might have been consigned to the loft for the remainder of the year. Others might prefer poker or other card games, while others might take to the streets and public events to see the new year countdown. Normally there are events where people sing, dance, perhaps do a bit of magic, or some other variety performance, while the hours, minutes and seconds tick closer to closer towards the new year.

A popular thing to do in the new year is to make resolutions. For some it may be something such as to lose weight or to improve one’s health by doing some exercise. It is no wonder that gyms sometimes report that the period between December and January are the peak signing up seasons, as memberships get given for Christmas or people start thinking about starting afresh and doing something new in the new year. A resolution need not be something physical, it may involve something altruistic such as being kinder to others, or involve learning a new skill.

What is true about the new year though, is that in making changes in order to better ourselves, we realise that we have to evolve and cannot simply remain the way we are. Life is a process – unfortunately for those who hope to simply stay on top of things by doing them the same old way. Even things such as pop music or classical music have to evolve in order to remain relevant. (You can find out more about the latter from the Piano Lessons N4 website.)

Why not let that be one of your new year resolutions – to evolve and better yourself? You may find that this one choice covers a whole multitude of resolutions.

Inventions and music

Do you want to make a great fortune? Nowadays the world is teemed with people trying to make it big with the next big thing. Everyone wants to make a product that will be consumed and will have great purchases. You may argue that it is an evolutionary trait in humans to invent things. Our forefathers invented things to improve the quality of their lives, or also to improve the yield of their crops and farming. Can you imagine life without items such as the light bulb? Can you imagine what people would have lived like had they had no sanitation? (In many parts of the world, some still don’t.)

One of the inventions that changed the modern world greatly was the invention of barbed wire. The simple principle of intertwining wires together and then laying out these wires across posts to enclose land was so revolutionary, that at one factory, production of wire ballooned from 36 miles of wire to over 250,000 miles of wire just six years later. Barbed wire has made its inventor, one John Gates, a very rich man. Gates used to wager that his wire, however flimsy looking, could keep wild animals penned in, and often took bets on the strength of his wire. But uncannily, it wasn’t the strength of the wire, that helped popularise the invention. It was the advertising and attention brought about by these bets that brought the wire to the eyes of Americans, who were alerted to a cheap material to help them command land.

So barbed wire was an invention that had a modern impact. But inventions do not need to be physical items. They can be ideas, musical structures, and things which exist only in the aesthetic. The composer Gustav Holst wrote a tone poem, a symphonic work – rather than a symphony which composers of the past had written. But tone poems helped break down traditional structures and gave rise to a musical landscape. We would still be writing symphonies if other formal structures had not been invented.

The human spirit involves creativity. Get thinking about ideas, find solutions, and be creative while going about them!

How creativity in the music world relates to increasing global population

How many people are there on the planet? If you were asked this question without having fully known the answer, would you have come up with a reasonable figure? What sort of figure would you have come up with? Seven billion? Nearly eight billion? Or splitting the difference – seven and a half?

The latter answer is actually correct. Seven and half billion inhabit the planet. But what if someone assesses you on the rate of population growth? Would you know how long it would be for the world’s population to reach eight billion? What would your best guess be?

Astonishingly, if populations continue to rise we might be speaking of eight billion by the year 2024. Considering it took twelve years to reach the figure of seven billion from six billion in 1999, it may surprise you to know that the population of the world increases by a billion every fifteen years or less. We may be looking at a world population of nine billion by 2040!

These of course are only estimates. And why is it so hard to assess the world population accurately and the rate of growth? One major reason is that the rate of deaths is hard to measure. Natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons cause loss of life, and these affect future projections. Then there are also human disasters such as war and famine that affect population count. Lastly it may also be that in some countries – especially ones with rural populations – births and populations may not have been recorded properly. What would have to do to get a correct count, and do we need it at all? Would we have to all stand outside of our houses while drones fly over to take pictures of us, and then someone counts the number of heads in the photos? (Or if they have too much time, count the number of hands and divide by two?)

An increasing global population means more competition for jobs. Those in the younger generation have to be even more creative to distinguish themselves from their peers. Of course, those in current professions that are fairly competitive are already doing it. Musicians have much competition for the spending power of fans, and also compete for the airplay. It is no surprise that the Piano Teacher Finsbury Park website tells us how they have migrated simply from the job of playing music to actually other activities such as building a social fanbase, running courses, and doing all sorts of other things loosely connected with music in order to remain in the minds of those that matter – fans and industry professionals.

Teaching these skills to the young – how to be creative – may soon become a feature in the curriculum of tomorrow. Perhaps those of us already in the know – by virtue of experience – can impart some pointers to those after us!