056: Where Jazz Music Meets Math With Marcus G Miller

056: Where Jazz Music Meets Math With Marcus G Miller

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056: Where Jazz Music Meets Math With Marcus G Miller

Guest Overview

Marcus G Miller the mind where music meets math. Born and raised in Jersey, from a sax-playing accountant father and a mother with schizophrenia, a Harvard graduate, a hedge fund trader turned professional jazz musician and mathematician is this week’s guest.

In this episode, Marcus explains how he started playing the saxophone at age nine and how through the guidance of a teacher Michael Ghegan and the mentoring of world-renowned saxophonist Bruce Williams he ended up on stage at age 13.

An avid reader and a world level fencer, we went on to graduate from Harvard University with a degree in Mathematics before joining Ray Dalio’s hedge fund Bridgewater Associates.

However, his passion drew him back to New York City to pursue a career as a jazz musician

Marcus has since performed at the Obama White House, Madison Square Garden, The World Economic Forum at Davos, The Montreux Jazz Festival, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and recently spoke at the TED Summit in Edinburgh.

Marcus is a genuine polymath and is exploring the structural similarities between math, and music, to enable creative problem solvers to unlock their imagination and to ‘jam’ on the world’s toughest challenges.

I hope you enjoy the intellectual curiosity and expansive imagination of Marcus G Miller.

Thank you Merritt Moore for the intro.


What we discuss:

His upbringing in Jersey

The impact of his accountant father

His early desire to compete and win

The impact of being skilled at music had

The challenges he faced as he grew up

The motivation to success

His mentor Michael Ghegan

Bruce Willams his teacher

Subbing for Brice as a young teenager


Deciding to study math at Harvard

His love of math

How he is drawn to building the connection between math and music

The subjective creative approach of doing both

Base level reality and the propositions of logic

The underlying structure and overlap of math and music

The non-logical way of getting from Point A to B

The importance of fun in exploring possibilities in math and music and getting access to more

The similarity in systems and subjectivity and individuality of Math and music

Solving problems and go deeper

Building rooms in your house of understanding

How music meets math

Where sparks of ideas come from?

The importance of imagination and his discipline

Training to be available to receive ideas

Order and structure in his life

How he avoids social media and uses his phone

The power of long-hand writing

The resistance and being open to ideas

Managing his use of social media

Becoming a hedge fund trader for Bridgewater

The serendipity of getting an NYC gig while in the second semester

Joining the Hedge Fund

Leaving the hedge fund

Focusing on music

His search for meaning and connection

How he’d change education to foster curiosity and creativity and improvisation

How Jazz is a conversation and has narrative

The connection between Jazz and Language

Higher-order language to think freely


To arrange ideas and music

Teach kids to think freely.

Creativity, structure, and boundaries

The bridge between math and music

Links to Social





Links in the Show 

Tequila Jazz track  

Bruce Williams Jazz 

Michael Ghegan 

War of Art – Stephen Prestfiled

Nir Eyal – Distracted

Rob Schneiderman 

Goethe Faust

Harvard University 

Ray Dalio Bridgewater

Aion Carl Jung 

Mintons Jazz Bar  

St Nicks jazz 

Julliard Music School


Don’t Stop Here

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