Tag Archives: MusicThinking.com

Epiphany 2019 – Limitation as creativity trigger

Now nine years in a row I did not send any Christmas cards or new years wishes. As my friends know I use the 12th and last day of the Christmas season to wish you all the luck for the new year. Happy Epiphany!

For all of you who hear the Epiphany story for the first time, below is a copy from the last years with some explanation and examples of Epiphanies.

Look back to 2018

The last year was a year of full-swing creativity and many activities, here I want to just mention a few.
The highlight was the publishing of the Music Thinking Jam Cards by BIS publishers and the launch of the new Music Thinking Website with the music thinking framework and a blog. Followed by a music thinking masterclass at the design thinkers conference and an evening for the designers DNA (creative leadership platform). All of this was a real boost of Music Thinking, and as an effect, we got a lot of response and reactions even until Japan. Hope this will lead to new developments.

After nearly 3 years I stopped as Chief Design Officer at the Design Thinking Center in Amsterdam to focus more on Music Thinking and other activities. I did so many workshops, design sprints and training in the last 3 years (maybe more than 250 workshops days) it needed a break.

Further, I started the collaboration with Faebric a cooperative focused on crafting value systems with blockchain and did some training for the Design Thinkers Academy (Paris, Amsterdam, Dubai).
Let’s not forget the two concerts of Raum-Musik für Saxophone on the World Saxophone Congress in Zagreb and a lot of other musical collaborations.
At the end of the year, we moved into a new house and said goodbye to gas and oil – the new full-electric car will be ready next week.

Wishing you many Epiphanies in 2019

The epiphany story of this year is about limitations or better the possibilities that appear if we are open to focus and make the best of all the limitations.
And I think there will be many because the way we live is not compatible with nature and the planet. I would like to inspire myself to see the limitations as new starting points for great things. I wrote on the music thinking blog a ‘behind the cards’ story with the Limitations card as the trigger. Read the story: Limitation as the starting point for creativity

Hope you like it!

All the best for 2019, have a great year
Christof Zürn

A collection of different meanings of Epiphany:

  • EPIPHANY is the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something.
  • PHILOSOPHICAL meaning: having found the last piece of the puzzle and suddenly seeing the whole picture.
  • ARCHIMEDES Eureka! I found it!
  • EINSTEIN was struck as a young child by being given a compass, and realizing that some unseen force in space was making it move.
  • DARWIN An example of a flash of holistic understanding in a prepared mind was Charles Darwin’s “hunch” (about natural selection) during The Voyage of the Beagle.
  • JAMES JOYCE Referring to those times in his life when something became manifest, a deep realization, he would then attempt to write this epiphanic realization in a fragment. Joyce also used epiphany as a literary device within each short story of his collection Dubliners (1914) as his protagonists came to sudden recognitions that changed their view of themselves or their social condition and often sparking a reversal or change of heart.
  • In RELIGION it is used when a person realizes their faith or when they are convinced that an event or happening was really caused by a deity or being of their faith.
  • WESTERN CHRISTIAN Religion: The adoration of the magi, represented as kings, having found Jesus by following a star 12 days after christmas.
  • HINDUISM epiphany might refer to the realization of Arjuna that Krishna (a God serving as his charioteer in the “Bhagavad Gita”) is indeed representing the universe.
  • In ZEN kensho describes the moment, referring to the feeling attendant on realizing the answer to a koan.
  • BUDDHISM Buddha finally realizing the nature of the universe, and thus attaining nirvana.
  • WILLIAM BURROUGHS is talking about a drug-influenced state, a frozen moment when everyone sees what is at the end of the fork (naked lunch).
  • EPIPHANIES is the thirteenth episode of the second season of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica television series.
  • EPIPHANY is a web browser for the GNOME graphical computing desktop.
  • HIERONYMUS BOSCH painted the adoration of the magi around 1495.
  • HOMER SIMPSON has an epiphany, after visiting a strange Inuit shaman, and realizes he has to save the town from Russ Cargill’s plans to destroy Springfield.
  • The last page of THE WIRE magazine with surprising sonic stories about music is called EPIPHANIES.
  • Interesting: if you search for Epiphanies or Epiphany on TWITTER many people talk about that they (just) had an epiphany, but don’t exactly say what it was.

Freude schöner Götter Funken – FROY-DER, SHER-NER GETTER-FOON-KEN

On August 22, I had the pleasure to attend the lecture of Conductor Benjamin Zander in The Hague (new Zuiderstrand Theater, Scheveningen).

It was a very inspiring two hour talk. If you don’t know Benjamin Zander I strongly recommend to watch one of his TED talks (maybe my all time favorite)  The Transformative Power of Classical Music.

The talk in The Hague was based on his concept of The Art of Possibility, which is also a book under the same title. Incredible how he could engage and inspire an audience of approx. 500 people and talk for more than two hours.

At the end, as a sort of grand finale, we sang all together Freude schöner Götterfunken, a-capella 500+ people without orchestra. Everyone got a hand-out with the text. Assuming that most of the people could not read and pronounce the german words in the right way, the text was written in pidgin-crazy-english and everyone could sing it – this was very effective as amazing!


A great performance I will never forget with a lot of inspiration and Music Thinking. This was also a good example for one of the Music Thinking principles: SCORE – the visualization of guiding principles. With SCORE it is less important to describe the vision of your project, but to write actions in the way the people you want to inspire and guide can understand and use.

More inspiration on Music Thinking can be found under musicthinking.com