Make a big difference to The Big Idea.

Help us tell the most creative stories.

Become a supporter

Curiosity? Just go for it bro!

Advice to my 22-year-old self from Ashley Brown


Well, 22-year-old Ash, you’ll be coming to the end of your Canterbury University days. You’ll be full of uncertainty about the future.  How will plans to study at Yale pan out? What kind of a career lies ahead? You’ve kept your horizons broad so far, but now it’s time to narrow the focus, so you’ll be nervous about making those big, life-impacting decisions. And you’ll be worried about losing touch with the friends that you leave behind in New Zealand.

Just go for it, bro!

There’s so much to learn and experience.
Notice more.
Luxuriate in what you find.
Exciting opportunities are available to you, but don’t just let them happen: Knock on the doors, rattle the windows, be hungry and full of wonder.

The wisdom that the world offers is powerful. It’s a wave worth surfing. You need to put in some effort to catch the wave.  And you have to keep your wits about you to stay in the sweet spot. But feeling that momentum is a beautiful thing. There’ll be plenty of opportunities and temptations to step off (and sometimes it’ll feel like you’re headed for a massive wipe out) but stay with it and it’ll carry you on an amazing, gnarly ride! 

At Yale, you’ll learn at least as much from your fellow students as from your teachers. Later in life, learning from your colleagues will continue to be a hugely important aspect and a luxury. Each experience, whether positive and encouraging or otherwise, brings you new energy and understanding. Be grateful.

It’s wonderful that you’ve made good friends and had a great time through your school and varsity days. Of those friendships, the ones that are meant to last, will. Cherish them. And by the way, you’re about to make a tonne of new mates from all corners of the globe,  so it’s all good!

22-year-old Ash, I’m 46 now. You might follow this same path and turn out like me. If so, I can tell you there’s a rich and fascinating ride ahead of you. But no matter what path your life follows, know this: if you look ahead and remain true to yourself, you’ll never look back with regret. Go for it!

Ashley Brown is one of New Zealand’s leading soloists, collaborators, chamber musicians and recording artists. He is a founder of NZTrio. His musical curiosity has led him from an Artist Diploma at Yale to a Doctorate of Musical Arts exploring the collaborative relationship between composer and performer, and onward to sharing the stage with a diverse range of composers.

: Q Theatre’s Loft, 305 Queen St / 09 309 9771
Loft Series 1: Weave - Sunday June 24 • 5pm/Tuesday June 26 • 7pm
Loft Series 2: Braid - Sunday Sept 23 • 5pm/Tuesday Sept 25 • 7pm
Loft Series 3: Twine - Sunday Nov 11 • 5pm/Tuesday Nov 13 • 7pm
Wellington: 101 Wakefield St.
Home Series 1: Weave – Wednesday June 20 • 7pm

Christchurch: The Piano Centre for Music and the Arts, 156 Armagh St.
Home Series 1: Weave – Thursday June 21 • 7pm
Home Series 2: Braid – Sunday Sept 21 • 7pm

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

19 Jun 2018

The Big Idea Editor