Musical Musings #1
Greetings, and welcome to my Website Blog! I will be posting every Wednesday and Saturday with one of two topics, “Musical Musings”, which will contain my thoughts on an idea or topic about music or “Project Updates” which will contain information on what I am currently working on.
My first Musical Musing topic is focused around a question I have been asked many times in my professional career: “Why are you trying to do so many different things in music?” I have always billed myself as a composer, performer and music educator and plan to keep a hand in each of these categories the rest of my career.
At an early point in my undergraduate studies, professor Patrick J. Burns at Montclair State, who I would later study composition with for a semester, was speaking to a group of students, myself included, about forming a career path. He told us how he was primarily a performer when he first got into music, but due to health problems was no longer able to play. At this point he realized he needed a back up plan, and fortunately he was able to go further into teaching and writing music. He asked us all what our back up plans were, and if we had a second one after that. At the time I was a music education major, and it was at this point that I decided I would always continue my studies in both performance and composition. This being said, I do not view any of these as a back up plan, but rather as all facets that make up who I am as a musician. I have witnessed far too many musicians getting an education degree because they thought that teaching would be a good thing to fall back on when their performance schedule wasn’t bringing in enough money. Many of these people developed a great love for teaching, but others struggled to convince themselves into liking it, and the students they taught often noticed and suffered from their lack of commitment. I have a strong desire to teach, especially beginning instrumental students (I can’t be the only person who loves watching a child assemble a clarinet for the first time, right?). I will continue to write music as long as I have ideas floating around inside of my head, and I will continue to step into a practice room every day to make myself a better performer.
How do I balance all of this? Honestly, I don’t always do it successfully. I miss deadlines, screw up at rehearsals, and mess up the transposition of french horn in front of a room full of students who all know I’m wrong. I’m often tired, hungry, annoyed and discouraged. But I fully believe that today’s musicians need to be multi-talented in order to make enough money to survive. Hopefully by posting everything I am working on in this blog I’ll start to notice what my habits are, good and bad, and will be sure to discuss my schedule here at some point and how I go about managing my time. Until then, I’m off to rehearsal!