Viewing: The Year of the Album 2022 - View all posts

Better Late Than Never! 

After some issues involving sickness, financial worries and the stress of working three jobs while trying to write an album, it is understandable to be significantly behind schedule.  That being said, I had to confront some of my thinking to this point. Since before the start of the year, I have been under the assumption that I would be having to become a proficient keyboardist (pianist) while also trying to write the album itself. This has proved to be faulty thinking on my behalf. It may have set my early attempts up for failure.   

I was under the mistaken belief that because instruments like saxophone were, at best, unpopular outside of the jazz world, and downright cheesy and cliche at worst. I went forward thinking that I would have to change my entire self, skills and past accomplishments to find success. What resulted was not only feeling like my piano work was suffering, but my ability to write appropriate music was hampered by my lack of skill at an instrument that has only existed in the practice room.  

What I have come to understand is that I should embrace my strengths again. I have skills that I can tap into and can only be  enhanced through more persistent practice. Much of my work is arranged by computer, so live piano performance shouldn’t be my main concern. The challenge of being a composer is to know what can be done and writing accordingly for instruments you may never even play. This is what separates me from other artists: I have  the academic background and foundation and can make use of it where others have to try and learn outside of the resources I had.   

So I happily pick up my saxophones, break in a new set of reeds, and ensure that I can better target places where I need the most practice and can improve, and leave the instruments that I am not as proficient upon to either friends that are, or technology. My duty is to make what I feel is right and sing with a voice that I can make my own, even if it does not come from my throat.

The Year Of The Album - December, 2021 

December, 2021 

With the upcoming year of music making, I decided that I would take some time to enjoy the remaining amount of my month. I currently work about three jobs, including food service, music retail, and teaching. It shouldn’t feel like I am doing so much, but during this month, it’s pretty wicked. I decided to focus on doing enjoyable things, since my holidays are pretty limited. I did get to enjoy some things that I would be happy to share 

Meeting up with gaming friends. I enjoy playing tabletop games, and I’ve had experience in playing them for many years. Originally, I started with Warhammer 40,000 in college. I didn’t have a lot of friends on campus, seeing as I was the one of two people from my state on campus, but the hobby got me out of my dorm room on weekends to hang out with people I felt comfortable with. Admittedly, I wasn’t very good, but it was the assembling and painting that made me happy the most. I would move on from early paint jobs to improve greatly. Today, I actually play a number of games when I can, and have some very good friends to share them with, even if they are also working professionals with little time of their own. 

I do think it’s important to have hobbies outside of music. The last thing that you want to have is serious burn-out and then you feel worse because it’s all that you are doing. Being able to distract yourself and get out of yourself for a time is something to be encouraged. Read a book. Paint Miniatures. Play some video games. Go to a Board Game Night with friends. You might even find some inspiration for something in what you do for no other reason than to please yourself.  

Plus, I should add, visual arts of any kind are a good partner with music. Music exists in a state limited by sound and time. When it’s done, it’s gone and nothing else to be done than put the needle back at the beginning of the record, or do another count off. With something like visual arts, you can set it down, admire it, hate it, love it again, and then put it somewhere to enjoy later.  

Composition is a rather lonely sort of thing, with lots of time being spent working however you produce, with a lot of pressure to perform and to have brilliant ideas. Maybe pick up some paints, or a sketchbook, or a copy of Space Hulk and go meet up with someone to play?