So recently I have not been posting much. Hopefully you have noticed this, as that means you are a regular visitor. None the less, I would like to talk about it because I think there are ways to always be learning in life and this is one of them.
A Hub for Learning Music Composition
Originally I set out to create a website that is a hub of learning music composition. I think so far, I am on track, but there is still a long ways to go. There is a balance between posting about my random thoughts and feelings (like this post), posting my compositions, music theory, and general composing advice.
Several things that I have noticed along the way are:
- Setting goals is good, but it can also bog you down.
- Action ultimately is what counts, not talking about action.
- You can’t get wrapped around what you don’t know.
Setting Goals is Good… most of the time
Some of my posts for this site have been “series” posts and some have been one off posts. One thing that has struck me though, is that if I artificially dedicate myself to something, without the real passion towards it, then I end up procrastinating. This is what Steven Pressfield calls “Resistance.” I plan on talking about Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art in a future post. I am reading it right now, and I am getting many insights. For instance, I set out to write a full series on counterpoint, and funny enough, I have just been dragging my feet. Why? Couldn’t really tell you exactly, but so far, I’ve looked at about six different books on the subject, and none of them has been inspiring to me. This is very different than how I felt when I was writing about musical form, after reading Classical Form by William Caplin.
Another place that I have set goals is in my composing. As with the posts, I set out to write a bunch of 18th century type counterpoint, and just couldn’t push myself. I have been writing stuff for string quartet, and piano, mostly in classical and romantic styles.
What this all does is get you procrastinating. When you and your goal don’t line up exactly, then your goal is going to be something that you procrastinate on… more than usual.
For all that being said, setting goals in general is good, like “I am going to compose at least 2 minutes of music each week.” Just make sure that it is truly a goal that you want to achieve.
Action is What Counts
This is a general rule for life. Talk is cheap, action is worth it’s weight in gold.
Especially when it comes to composing, sometimes you just have to sit down and do the work. If you wait for inspiration, it won’t come. But if you are diligent, work hard, and improve your craft through the process of composing, when inspiration comes you will be able to fully realize it. When was the last time you were inspired to write a symphony, but couldn’t quite get it done, or get it to sound right? Sounds like we all need to improve our craft a little more.
This is vital if you want to work as a composer. Sometimes you just have to compose and not worry about what it sounds like. This is usually when you compose your best stuff anyways.
Diligence is the mother of good luck. – Benjamin Franklin
You Can’t Get Wrapped Around What You Don’t Know
I do not know everything there is to know about composing. But this does not stop me from:
- Teaching how to compose
You need to push yourself out of your comfort zone and pursue your passion. I know you have that little voice inside telling you what you really want to do. But there is also that other little voice, that is saying why you shouldn’t; it’s rationalizing. Don’t listen to it. Just go out and do what you need to. Make mistakes. Learn from them. Ultimately we will all benefit.