Monday, March 30, 2009

Stifling the Muse?

I have recently been accompanying a lot of standard repertoire for high school musicians. Some of the pieces are rather difficult (especially the ones that have an entire orchestral part reduced to a piano without leaving any notes out!), some of them are harmonically simplistic but technically flashy, and some of them just strike me as mediocre pieces of music.

There are a couple, though, that really grab me, and I think: I wish I had written this... I could have written this... I can write something as compelling and as beautiful and as fun as this... Why don't I?

Not very long ago, I would have said that self-doubt and fear of not being good enough were the biggest obstacles. When I check that with myself now, though, it doesn't ring true. I honestly believe that if I created the time and managed my energy for the task, I have plenty of music to compose. And although I am still a little caught up in the effort it takes to get a piece performed, I have been sending out compositions to contests and calls for scores for long enough now that I realize there will be ample opportunities to seek or create a performance once a piece is written.

So what am I waiting for? Well, nothing really. My days and weeks are packed with other things: my job, my marriage, accompanying, More To Life, life in general. I am working toward creating more space in my life for composing, but creating that space takes effort in and of itself. So I beat myself up for not making composing more of a priority right now. A part of me believes that I'm just being impatient and another part believes that I'm just being lazy.

Sometimes, I can't win with myself, even when everyone around me is acknowledging the value of what I am creating day to day.


  1. You can call yourself many things. "Lazy" isn't one of them.


  2. Hey, this is America... I can call myself whatever I want! It doesn't make it true, though. No matter how true it sounds or how much I believe it. That's the real kicker.