“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
- Steve Jobs
As a child, I was always breaking things. This wasn’t because I was clumsy or careless but because I enjoyed taking things apart to see how they worked. The problem was though, I could never get them back together again (a seven year old doesn’t tend to know much about electronics!).
It was only when I got older and started writing music and words that I realised what the childhood fascination of taking things apart had meant.
I was breaking things down into smaller components to try to see how they worked as a whole.
These days when I’m writing music, I begin with just a vague idea of what the piece will sound like and the form it will take. After that come the sketches; a fragment, just a few notes. Over time, other notes, textures, harmonies (i.e., the components), are added to it to make a cohesive whole.
Find an everyday object and see if you can figure out how it works. This doesn’t mean the object has to be mechanical or electrical in nature. It could be something as seemingly simple as a book.
How is it put together?
How does it stay together?
How does one component support the other?