Thursday, July 2, 2009

Warrior's Music

There have been some compositional ideas rattling around in my head since my time at Way of a Warrior last week. Much of the training was quite experiential; there was something to be learned in physical action rather than just sitting and listening to a lecture. One morning, exercising outside, I was visually taking in a beautiful serene mountain lake, smelling clean air and freshly cut grass, feeling the dew on my leg cooled by the morning breeze, and hearing bird calls from close by and a far off train. I was reminded of John Cage's philosophy as I thought: What incredible music!

For some of my ideas I want to submit for film or television scores, it works to keep it simple without being simplistic. But too often, I limit myself in my other compositional efforts by believing that I have to write something "accessible" or at least something that musicians will want to perform. It can be paralyzing at times, because ultimately I have to admit that I don't really know what other people will listen to or want to play. I can also get into telling myself that I won't write anything worth people's time or effort. Certainly not a motivational place to be.

Today I had a little time to start re-conceptualizing a piece I started a couple of months ago and dropped. After my trip to New York in March, there were wondrous ideas for a percussion piece floating around in my head, but when I started to get them on paper I was dissatisfied with the result. Now I am thinking about that piece in a new way... as a potential experience rather than mere sounds.

It's not a completely novel idea, but I don't really believe that everything (or anything) I do has to be completely novel. Still, I haven't often allowed myself the free rein to be as creative as I can be. Now I have been reawakened to the potency of experiential art, and I want to approach the music I write as openly as I can, stretching that aspect of myself to the fullness of its capacity as well. When I am excited about what I want to write, I am much more likely to carve out time to create. And when I pour my complete self into what I am creating, I know my effort won't be wasted.

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