Musicians of Rochester: David Costello
June 22, 2017
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How is Your Brain Wired?

To me, a creative is anyone who, frankly, is creative. Do you write music, stories, poems? Do you paint, draw or do sketches? Do you build models or design buildings? If so, you are a creative. These types of individuals are only a small sample of the thousands, if not millions of creatives in the world today. My question is – How is YOUR brain wired?

Let me see if I can explain mine. By trade I am a Data Analyst. I analyze numbers and names and all sorts of things that need to be analyzed. This jacks up the left side of my brain. It also means that math rules the world! Why, because everything in some shape or form is a calculation. Distance from the sun, miles per gallon, beats in a measure – well you get the point.

The musician-side of me is the complete opposite, yet the perfect compliment. The whole creative side of my brain is pretty much parks on the left side. Right side + left side = the perfect environment for musical composition.

The problem with me is I do it backwards. If I want to write a song, regardless of the application I normally pick a drum track and create based on that drum track. Not so sure why, but works for me. I don’t work off a thought or melody or lyrics, just the drum track and fill all the rest in later.

BUT – if I am working on instrumental music my approach is a bit different. See, I believe any tidbit of an idea can develop into a composition or story or poem. That is where I start. I set my hands on the keyboard, ask for divine guidance and play. When it’s all said and done – then I analyze and tweak. My brain likes to look at symbols so here is an example of where I end up:

My brain easily translates this into something I can understand. How does yours function?

Next Episode: There is More to This Than Meets the Eye.


  1. Well…. that is an interesting approach. We are all unique and different in hiow we create. The important thing is that we do use our creative gifts and always look to grow and learn.

  2. Rob Cooper says:

    Sometimes I work off of a percussion track/groove and improvise off of that and then go back and look for phrases to use as the basis of a melody line. Other times I am just on the guitar looking for interesting chord progressions and modes. My biggest problem is carving out the time for more music. BTW, I like what you are doing Dave!

    • Dave Costello says:


      The whole chord progression thing can really bog you down. I know it happens to me as you are always looking for something fresh. My theory is
      “if it sounds right, it is” and tend not to focus too much on it. Its all been done before, yet you don’t want sound like everyone else. I just watched
      an interesting documentary regarding Prince and it was interesting how he was able to stay ahead of the pack in his artistry. His ability to play multiple
      instruments was a huge advantage for him. It comes down to what is best for you or me. I’m hoping someday that we will be able to get together someday
      and have a good long chat about all this. I’m glad you are still playing and let’s keep in touch.

  3. Gary Liotta says:

    My approach is very similar (although simpler in outcome).
    When it comes to writing music (for me) inspiration can come from any source.
    Something I see, hear, feel, think, but getting it out always proves transience.
    Some days it flows other days it’s impossible. I’ve tried to learn how to control the variables that leads to “flow”
    but have never been successful.

    One thing I’m very grateful for and try to impress on young musicians is to spend time on studying music
    theory and learn to “read” music.
    The dividends this pays when music is flowing are great, knowing chord substitutions and not fighting it by ear have been priceless for me.

    Peace to all!

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