I was inspired by a conversation I had last week with a music teacher I’m coaching.  We discussed ideas for marketing and I began spouting ideas off the top of my head.  As an E, for extroverted thinker  (Myers Briggs scale)  this happens a lot.  I don’t even know what I’m thinking until it’s coming out of my mouth!

Take a look at the ideas on this pictogram/mind map and see what comes up in you.  The best part of a mind map is that often, ideas on the map will lead to new better ideas.  I like to call these stepping stone ideas.  You get a few of these stepping stones that are not really great, but then they lead you to something that’s a whopper!

I first discovered mind maps from a book Writing the Natural Way by Gabriele Rico  She called them clusters and I instantly fell in love with the process.   It’s a way to access the hidden greater ideas from your brain in the most natural way – non-linearly.

Lists are linear.  But a mind map or cluster is an organic jumping off.  It’s how I imagine the brilliant actor Robin Williams’ brain worked.  His free association skills were astonishing.

The thing about mind maps is they mimic how the brain works.  You don’t always think in ordered lists.  You jump around.  And it’s great for coming up with ideas for anything.

I’ve taught this to teams at advertising agencies, in coaching sessions, at not-for-profit board meetings and even in composing music.  For my film scoring, I would gather ideas for the sound and the palette on a mind map before composing an aural sketch for the director.  I’ve taught mind-mapping to my wife and son and we have even used mind maps for grocery shopping!

Later, I discovered books by Edward deBono and Tony Buzan who further explore lateral and radiant thinking through mindmapping.  These guys are both great resources!  But I do love Gabriele Rico’s simple clustering exercise.  She made writing so fun and easy.

So take a look at my mind map/pictogram and see if it sparks some ideas for you to get more students for your teaching practice.  I haven’t actually tried all of these, so would love to know your feedback and results.  Please share with your friends.


A pictogram of ideas for marketing for music teachers
Where’s waldo?

Hey, where’s Waldo?  (only kidding)


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