Now that my 30 Practice Prompts for Musicians are completed, what comes next? Well, as usual in February, I’m doing FAWM! You can follow my songwriting adventures on my FAWM profile.
As usual, I have the feeling everyone on my watchlist is cranking out songs and I’m the only one who has a hard time coming up with anything. This time it’s incorrect… I just went with an idea that turns out to be so much work. I am composing a thing for (romantic-era) symphony orchestra. Not quite as big as a Mahler or Shostakovich orchestra, but… it’s a lot of instruments. And a lot of details to pay attention to. But now that I have been at it for two days, things are getting easier. I start having an easier time coming up with complementary motives, writing things out and alternating between detail work and the big picture.
And btw, I’m going the all traditional route with this, writing it out in Sibelius. No MIDI at work here.
It’s pretty common for me to be a really slow worker, and it’s especially true with classical composition. I want to see this idea through and do it justice. I suppose it’s going to be worth it.
I want to do a few more songwriter-y things this year, too – when this one is done 🙂
Also, I’m turning an idea in my head for the next blogpost series. I want to share my knowledge about keeping your singing voice in shape. Even when you’re not a singing teacher or vocal coach, you can’t sing for most of your life and not pick up any useful knowledge about it 🙂
So if you have any questions about that – feel free to ask!
(And if you like my blog and want to throw something in my tip jar, you can do so over on my ko-fi page.)
Found this performance recording of a piece by Steve Reich via @rottenlienne on Twitter:
The context for my finding this was a sad/outrageous story about a concert audience that was apparently overwhelmed by a juxtaposition of 20th century and baroque music. As sad as this story is, I find a lot of “New Music” quite interesting, and when I get reminded of it, I ask myself why I don’t listen to composers like Penderecki, Ligeti or Pärt more often.
Some complaining ahead: I’m still struggling to find back into music. My singing seems to be stunted somehow, and at the moment I don’t dare to think of myself as a musician, which, in turn, hampers my making music. Maybe it’s all the “shoulds” and “musts” that are stringed to that – I should be somewhere with my art and my singing now instead of feeling like I start from the beginning for the umpteenth time… Continue reading
Maybe I’ve been overlooking some of my achievements: I definitely made progress in the lyrics department since last year. I now write lyrics with consistent meter and rhymes more easily, and with more conscious craftsmanship. Playing with a click, to a drum track or to a metronome begins to be easier (although rhythmic exactness is still an issue).
Maybe I just need to go with the flow and be a little more friendly and appreciating to my own creations. Maybe, instead of lamenting my many shortcomings, I should also look at the things that do work.
[crosspost from my FAWM profile page]
Well, I know comparing yourself to others is counterproductive, but nevertheless: I’m a little frustrated and discontent with my own creations. There are few in this FAWM with which I’m really content. And others are doing such profound and wonderful things…
So what if I don’t produce any “keepers” or even any play-me-agains? I’ll still be learning.
But I’d love so much to create something lasting. Something I’ll sing for/with friends around the fire. Something profound and beautiful.
I can’t force it, so I’ll carry on and try to create the room where the miracle can happen.
I’ve got some ambitioned things on my plate, and I’m plodding along with them on the “90% transpiration” part. Sigh.
Crossposted from my 5090 profile page
Shoulder feels better, finally. However, I still shouldn’t overdo it. I feel discontented with the quality of things I’m doing just now (mainly with my musical [in]accuracy), but I’ll just keep having at it, eventually I’ll arrive at some better place. I need to remember that this place here is about creativity and ideas and not about clean execution or clever production.
I don’t earn money with music (now), but I’m not a pure hobbyist. I’ve got academic training, and I consider myself as an ambitioned amateur at least. Some time in the future, there might come gigs and maybe more ambitioned recordings. Some time in the future, I might look into selling my music.
Friends of mine are trying to make some money with music. I have been in an independent metal band before, and later, I organized a small series of non-profit low-to-no-budget disco events with friends – so I’ve seen some of the plights of musicians as well as music users. I totally see that music rights management societies could be a good thing for musicians.
Unfortunately, the only German music rights management society, GEMA, is broken, unfair, intransparent. A lot of musicians feel being a GEMA member would do (or does!) them more economic harm than good.
But there’s hope. The Cultural Commons Collecting Society (C3S) wants to become an alternative. A fair, flexible, Creative Commons-aware European music rights management society.
The foundation of C3S would topple the German “GEMA-Vermutung” (the assumption that any music used in public is subject to rights management by GEMA unless proven otherwise – which GEMA makes as hard as they can; that means even for playing Creative Commons licensed music only at your event they can send you a nasty bill) by the way.
And the good thing is: you can be part of it. C3S is currently running a crowdfunding to raise the money needed for founding, but also for developing the software for a more exact and fair calculation of royalties.
I’ll be supporting this initiative. Because music rights management in my country is broken and needs to be repaired.
Last year’s 50/90 was, for me, overshadowed by guilt. I was in the midst of a very difficult job situation. Nonetheless, it gave me not only an outlet, but also a wonderful opportunity to learn.
Now this year’s 50/90 has started. And I’m in again!
I don’t know if I will even output as much as I did last year (13 songs). I haven’t set any goals so far. I’m in for the fun, for the learning, for the community.
Here’s my first output:
Nearly two months since I last posted here. I’ve been busy – moving, getting to know my new job, then getting sick for nearly 4 weeks and now picking up the guitar again. My skills have become a bit rusty.
I noted that I hadn’t uploaded all of my FAWM stuff to Soundcloud, so I have started to catch up on that. Here you can find all the stuff from this year’s FAWM. I’m already looking forward to 59/90!
Most of my work is Creative Commons licensed, which means: you can use it for your own videos, podcasts etc., and remix my music, but you have to name me as the creator and link/mention where you can find the original.
So… I’ve just signed a contract for a new flat in Freiburg yesterday. A tiny one-room apartment. My head is still spinning and already trying to figure out how to fit my household (desk, music equipment, bedroom, kitchen and all) in the exact half of the space I had hitherto. Good opportunity to declutter quite a lot, at the moment I’m thinking of giving a lot of furniture away.
At least, the house seems decently quiet. The small river Dreisam runs beside my house, a small mountain with wood is on the other side of the river, I don’t have a far way to my new work, and the landlady seems to care quite a lot about the flat. And the flat has a balcony where I can hope to grow something – not like my current one, which facing north and way too dark for anything.
Having found a new home is a huge relief. Now I can move forward on some other fields – and if the moving goes smoothly, I can do something music-wise again soon. I already look forward to 50/90.