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86: Peter Himmelman — Wherein Andy Writes and Performs His 1st Song

By February 23, 2017Podcasts
Reading Time: 5 minutes
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I’ve often wondered how a song becomes a song. The process seems mysterious and, frankly, impossible for a “normal” person like myself. What comes first — the title, tune, chords, or words? How do you put them together? How do you write the lyrics? And what about the structure? It’s all overwhelming to me and completely outside my comfort zone.

Peter HimmelmanAnd then I read Peter Himmelman’s book, Let Me Out: Unlock Your Creative Mind and Bring Your Ideas to Life. Peter is my guest this week on the podcast, and my intention in having him on was to talk about creativity, since he’s mastered it in his life and has written a book full of exercises to help others learn to foster it in theirs.

The final exercise in Peter’s book is a simplified step-by-step guide for writing a song. According to the book, the process takes less than fifteen minutes. I’m going to let you in on a little secret now: I hardly ever do exercise like this in a book, but this time I felt compelled to give it a shot. Why?

I’ve always had a secret desire to write a song.

I’ve been playing the guitar for about ten years. I’ve achieved a certain level of facility in strumming and playing chords that I’m comfortable with. But one area I’ve always had a secret desire to pursue is songwriting.

When I was putting together this episode, it suddenly occurred to me that I could record a song and share it with you. And in spite of my trepidation, fear, and self-judgment, I decided there really couldn’t be a better way to demonstrate the effect of putting action together with creativity, fun, and a healthy dose of fear.

Andy Petranek Plays GuitarAt the time of my conversation with Peter, I hadn’t yet read his book. Between then and now, I did — and as a result, I wrote a song.

Yes, I wrote a song.

In about fifteen minutes, I had in my hands twelve lines of lyrics that constituted the first three verses of my first and very own song. Since then, I added a verse and wrote a chorus.

So not only is this podcast a conversation with Peter, it’s also the world premier broadcast of my first and only song, Riding My One-Wheeled Bike! You can listen to it at the end of the podcast — at 1:22:00.

This podcast with Peter Himmelman, my friend, songwriting muse and teacher, singer, songwriter, composer, painter, and author of Let Me Out, is a conversation about creativity, gratitude, and living a happy and meaningful life. Whether or not you consider yourself an “artist,” there is something in this podcast for you:

  • A daily happiness hack to boost your mood and increase productivity
  • Focusing on what you have rather than what you need
  • Using a timer for brainstorming
  • Starting the process of writing a book with the title
  • The three categories of action-taking — every action fits into one of these
  • The difference intentionality makes in taking action
  • Intentionality in the conception of a child
  • Sharing the results of your creative actions with others
  • What comes first — the lyrics or the music?
  • Songs are to an album as chapters are to a book
  • Finding the joy and beauty and sharing with the world
  • Building your personal board of directors


Andy Petranek Whole Life Challenge

P.S. If you only have five minutes, listen at 46:08 where I talk to Peter about “seeing the beauty” in things as a way to build a practice around fostering creativity.

THANKS, Peter Himmelman! If you enjoyed this podcast and want to thank Peter, Click here to thank him on Twitter.

Episode Resources
Let Me Out: Unlock Your Creative Mind and Bring Your Ideas to Life — Peter’s book. — Peter’s website.
Big Muse — Solutions to expand your creativity as an individual or business.
Cessna 172 — The type of aircraft Peter operated on his first flight.

Connect with Peter
Peter’s website
Peter on Instagram
Peter on Twitter

If you enjoyed this podcast, here are some others to check out:
Peter Himmelman — Anything But Your Average Rock Star
Julianne Jordan — The Perfect Pitch of Career and Personal 

Connect with Andy. Offer feedback. Ask a question.

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Andy Petranek
Andy is what you’d call a modern day Renaissance Man: a former professional trumpeter who attended the Eastman School of Music; a snowboarder, mountain biker, surfer, kayaker, outrigger paddler, mountaineer, and former Marine (Gulf War veteran); a professionally sponsored adventure racer; and the oldest participant to qualify for and participate in the CrossFit Games at the age of 43.

Andy is a certified CHEK Practitioner and holistic lifestyle coach. He holds a spectrum of certifications from CrossFit and is also a Vivobarefoot certified running coach. He has trained as a Zen buddhist and graduated with a Master’s degree in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica.

Andy founded CrossFit LA one of the first and most successful CrossFit training centers in the world and the first to be featured in national media. He is the co-founder of the Whole Life Challenge, Inc, currently its president, and is also a consultant and life/business coach. Andy lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Julia, and son, Dashel.