A new beginning. What does it mean to you? A new job? A new relationship? Perhaps a new lead singer?
For me, it started about a year ago. I began to think about what I've accomplished professionally over the last couple of decades. I suppose when one reaches a certain age such thoughts become inevitable. I felt a *shudder* mid-life crisis looming.
From thought to action
At first rather casual, my thoughts became increasingly focused, and slowly transformed into action. As a scientist and musician, I considered all the papers I'd read, all the research I'd carried out myself, all the music I'd written and performed, and everything I'd been lucky enough to learn from colleagues all over the world. I set about compiling a list of not just my achievements but the entirety of my professional knowledge.
As the list progressed, some underlying themes began to emerge. First, I actually found myself relatively pleased with my accomplishments and experiences, and relieved to feel that perhaps my life had some meaning after all (in case you find yourself in a similar position, I highly recommend making a concrete list of everything you've achieved and experienced — I'm confident you'll be pleasantly surprised)!
Second, I observed that, although much of what I knew about music had potentially far-reaching, practical implications, the way that knowledge was disseminated meant that it did not reach a very wide audience. Every year, hundreds of scientific studies on music are published, yet they remain largely inaccessible to the population at large. Sure, there are books about music and science written for a more general audience, but none of them approach the topic from a practical angle. And I wanted to change this.
My professional experience can be distilled into three pillars of knowledge concerning how the world around us — and in particular music — stimulates the mind, captures the heart and seduces the body. So I began to think about how I could apply that knowledge to make it more...well, useful. And I slowly realised that this knowledge could be used to quantify the so-called X-Factor, that intangible quality that elevates great music above the rest. Great music makes us feel something, and research has shown that it affects our mind, heart and body in measurable and predictable ways. I realised that these effects, and the musical features that give rise to them can be used to quantify that special something in the music we love.
With this revelation, I began drafting an outline. I strived for an engaging, practical guide that would connect music fans more deeply with the soundtrack to their lives, help music creators write more successful music, and show music professionals how tocreate more engaging experiences. The outline grew into a solid structure, and slowly transformed into an 11-chapter book entitled The X-Factor in Music, Uncovered. It reveals the science behind what makes the world's favourite music so successful.
One year on, and my new beginning had born fruit. And it tasted good.
Giving something back
And having embraced one new beginning, I'm about to embrace another. The X-Factor in Music, Uncovered launches next week exclusively on the crowdfunding platformIndiegogo. Available for a limited time only in Softcover, Hardcover and eBook formats, if you're a member of my professional network on LinkedIn you can get advanced access to the campaign and take full advantage of the early-bird discounts on offer.
Why am I doing this? Well, over this past year, I've come to appreciate the importance of solid networks for both personal and professional development. I've been inspired to start blogging about music and science, and have been publishing weekly posts for six months now. During this time, I’ve received a wealth of insightful and critical feedback, and developed new relationships with people all over the world. My professional network has grown immeasurably. And so I'm giving something back.
So, if you're a member of my professional network on LinkedIn, simply send me a personal message, or comment on this post, and I'll send you a private link that offers early access to the campaign and the chance to get The X-Factor in Music Uncoveredfor a very special price.