January 28, 2021 morenomaugliani

5 inspiring TED Talks for musicians

One of the hardest tasks nowadays is carefully selecting which inputs we should accept.

The TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) platform is the happy secret place I go to when I want to learn something new or get inspired.
Since 1984 they summon ideas, speeches, lessons from great thinkers, professionals, teachers, or common people with uncommon stories, everything available in more than 100 languages!

I collected 5 TED talks as a must-see for musicians to enrich your creativity and sensibility, and to boost your productivity.

Forget about your mobile for a while and give yourself some quality time!

I. The transformative power of classical music

This is certainly one of my favorites. Benjamin Zander (if you don’t know him, go check him out!) explains with irony, tons of knowledge and experience, why we got away from listening to classical music.
He analyzes the wonderful Prelude in E minor by Chopin, translating the technical aspects into elements that take the listener into the composer’s world.

I strongly recommend you watch this. It really changed my approach to classical music. Often our “I don’t like it”, is just a simplification of “I don’t recognize what I hear, I’m not used to it”. Once you get to know what you should be listening to, your approach might change. Or not!

II. How I started writing songs again

What happens when the writer’s block hits one of the biggest artists of our time?

In this Ted Talk Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, a.k.a. Sting, shares what happened to him when he couldn’t write new music anymore. I admired Sting already for his ability to reinvent himself as a man and as an artist. After this talk, I admire him even more.

III. The difference between winning and succeding

How much do you struggle to get what you really want? What is that you’re searching for? Are you really giving everything you have to reach that?

With this classic, John Wooden – basketball coach with an undefeated victory record with the team of the University of California – talks about the difference between winning and succeeding. Too often we’re just focused on the wrong goal, delighted from the outcome, and not caring about what we actually do to get it. A must if you are struggling with motivation and need a fresh start.

IV. Do schools kill creativity?

There are three parameters I use to determine how much I like someone: the knowledge someone has, the ability to share it, and the use he or she makes of (self) irony.
Sir Ken Robinson hits the jackpot with no doubts. He was an author, educator, speaker, and international advisor on education in the arts. In 2003 he was made Knight Bachelor for his service. He passed away on the 21st of August 2020.

In this talk (70 million views!) Sir Robinson explains the importance of creativity in the growth of children and analyzes the use of it in the modern school system.

A must if you work in Education, but also if you are looking for another approach to learning.

V. The surprising habit of original thinkers

Adam Grant is an American psychologist and author.
In this talk, he examines the common traits of the so-called innovators. With a fluid ironic approach, he describes three characteristics of the most original thinkers.

I found it really useful to reframe my approach to creativity and productivity, and I’m sure it can help you as well.


I really love the TED platform, it’s a neverending source of inspiration where you can find anything you need. Every talk has an interactive transcript with up to 100 languages available. 

I chose these 5 stories because they give tons of points of view, or shooting angles, that we could have been ignoring so far.

In the end, it’s always been like this: we learn by listening to others. Preferably listening to others who know more than we do.

P.S. If you want to know more about productivity hacks, check out this article!

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