Updated: Jul 17
A couple of months ago, I got an email from a saxophonist through my website. She was asking if I still sold a saxophone quartet I had written forever ago.
If I'm being honest, I had kind of forgotten that I had that recording up on YouTube. The piece was called 'Nightmare' and it was one of the very first pieces I had ever written. The recording is actually an excerpt from a larger work piece that I had withdrawn.
I think as composers, we are often in a weird place when it comes to being current. Performers practice every day, they hone their craft every single day, and barring an injury or or a bad day, their abilities are current. Their skills and level are on display that day.
But with composers it is different. We are judged not by the works we are writing that day, but by pieces that we've already written. Young composers especially can find this confusing because taste and interested can change so quickly when we are young.
And this is a great thing! Growing and learning and finding new directions in music is everything a young composer should do.
I know for me at least, I used to look back on some of my earlier works with a bit of disdain. They usually very optimistic, upbeat, perhaps even corny to a certain degree.
I think many of us can look back and cringe and older things we've done. It doesn't always reflect the work we are doing today.
But, there is something to be said for having your work out there. Even if you've moved in a different direction. Changed, styles, or focus.
The point I'm trying to get to here is that music is music. What we find in our music as creators will be fundamentally different than what someone who wants to play it or listen to it will find. And that is the point.
Because even though we are composers and we make music, the music isn't necessarily our's. It's not always about us.
Once the work is out in the world, it becomes part of the world. And this is very powerful idea.
People develop relationships with all kinds of works of art, from music, to movies, to almost everything.
Having a personal relationship with the creator isn't always a must.
I used to spend a lot of time trying to go back and fix old pieces. I wanted to make them perfect. And when they would inevitably not magically become perfect, I'd want to abandon them or withdraw them.
But what I've realized through this interaction is this:
It is selfish of me to hold my works back because I can see flaws in them.
Because, of course I can see flaws in the things that I make. Any artist sees their work differently.
But art isn't about making something perfect. It is about making something, being transformed by the process.
You start, you finish, you grow. And then you keep doing it again.
And hopefully, your art will find the person who needs it.
But, they'll never find it if it isn't there.
So that's my 2% today. Just wanted to share it!
In the spirit of showing your work, I've decided to upload all of my recordings to YouTube and Instagram. I've scheduled these videos to release on Tuesdays. I'd love it if you checked it out!
This was the music I wrote for a friend of mine, Preston Jeter's 2nd year student film, 'Horizon'. It is scored for chamber orchestra and is conducted my friend John McKeever. Horizon was a silent film and was my first experience at writing for film. I wrote the score in a 3 week period and had the entire work read, rehearsed, and recorded all in the same 3 hour session, which was the only session we were going to be able to have. It was an incredible experience. Horizon is scored for clarinet, tenor saxophone, trumpet, trombone, vibraphone, piano, and strings. It was written in 2012.
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