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Tchaikovsky used a structured schedule and frequent walks to compose masterpieces

July 6, 2012

tchaikovsky used a structured schedule and frequent walks

tchaikovsky used a structured schedule and frequent walks

How to Use Your Brain  to Produce Masterpieces Like Tchaikovsky

I am very excited that The New York Philarmonica will be celebrating Tchaikovsky Festival on 6th of July.  I have been always been fascinated to learn from a composing legend, one of Russia’s finest, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky one of my favorite composers.

Tchaikovsky represents a combination of passion, love, melancholy, excitement and inspiration. So that is why when I decided that I was attending this concert I wanted to know more about his life. I researched the internet and went to one of my favorite websites for Lectures, The Teaching Company and to my surprise there he was and also taught by one of my favorite professors Professor Greenberg.

As Professor Robert Greenberg says, “If Tchaikovsky felt it, it found a way into his music.”

As an artist—and it is worth recalling that he was the first full-time, formally trained, professional composer in Russian history—Tchaikovsky walked a fine and difficult line between his Romantic penchant for expression and the demands of Classical structure.

Tchaikovsky had many great qualities especially two of them: Structure and the fact that he used “Walks” to clear his mind or in my own terminology to get the brain working and get the motor neurons firing increasing blood flow to the cognitive areas that he used when he was composing his music.

Recently there was a study that New York Times mentioned  in their magazine “All in our mind” where when we exercise or move that increase of blood flow to those areas of the brain transfer to other cognitive areas and I loved to learn that Tchaikovsky used those walks to fire those neurons and come with beautiful pieces

From the New York Times: Why would exercise build brainpower in ways that thinking might not? The brain, like all muscles and organs, is a tissue, and its function declines with underuse and age. Beginning in our late 20s, most of us will lose about 1 percent annually of the volume of the hippocampus, a key portion of the brain related to memory and certain types of learning 

Back to Tchaikovsky, he was an absolute structured man with a vision and a severe discipline for hard work and I love it cause I would love to learn more about having a strict structure when you are at home and sometimes I struggle. In any case just wanted to share his daily structure:

Tchaikovsky’s HomeThe following was Tchaikovsky’s daily schedule: From The Teaching Company and to my surprise there he was and also taught by one of my favorite professors Professor Greenberg:

  • Wake up between 7:00 and 8:00 am
  • Breakfast, 1 hour of reading, 30-45 minute walk
  • 9:30 – 1:00 pm Composing
  • 1pm (sharp!) Lunch, followed by up to 2 hour walk
  • 4pm Tea, 1 hour of reading
  • 5:00-7:00pm Composing
  • 7:00pm Stroll, dinner
  • Post-dinner:  If guests — play cards; if no guests — letter writing and piano practice
  • 11pm Bed
tchaikovsky home where he used to walk for two hours to help him compose better

tchaikovsky home where he used to walk for two hours to help him compose better

From an interesting blog called Soul Life by Heather GrayWhat we can learn from Tchaikovsky

The essence of  Tchaikovsky’s schedule can help anyone who wants to replace scattered days of spinning wheels with focused productivity, and contains a several key aspects that are translateable to any entrerpreneur who has been confronted by the freedom of the untethered life.

(1) Chunk Your Time

Tchaikovsky did not “compose” all day long, which would be a recipe for burn out.  Instead he had two “chunks” of structured time for “composing” during his day. One was 3 1/2 hours and the other 2 hours in length. keep reading 

I am studying his life again and listening to the three pieces that will be performed tonight:

Program (Click the red play button to listen.)
Media not available Tchaikovsky Festival Coronation March About this Music
Media not available Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 (Siloti version) About this Music
Media not available Tchaikovsky Selections from Act IV of Swan Lake About this Music
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