1 min read

The Imitation Game

Last night I attended a mediated conversation between Sir Paul McCartney and Paul Muldoon (U.S. Poet Laureate and genius) regarding their new coauthored book, The Lyrics. Both in the book and on stage, they explored how and why Paul was so darn successful at the whole songwriting thing.  

In the most striking moment of the interview, Sir Paul addressed the artists and writers in the audience: "You know, I find the most helpful exercise is to pretend your someone else writing the song. You're Little Richard, or Brian Wilson, and you can take the pressure off yourself. And it turns out that even though you wanted to sound like them, it always ends up being you."

Imitation is how we learn everything, and, apparently, how the greatest singer-songwriter in history made his mark. Our kids too show this principle at work all the time in our classes: "Oh, this is like when Harry Potter is living under his stairs! Let's make it like that." Of course, what they write ends up being nothing like Harry Potter (ours are much better), but that's a good thing! Now we have a direction, a voice in our head that's not just our own, to keep us company and sing us lullabies. 

And if Sir Paul McCarney says it's okay to imitate others, it probably is.



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