Thursday, February 25, 2010

Approach. Part 1

Hey again.

I'm still getting this blog started and am slowly getting a feel for what kind of content I want to put on here.

In this Post I wanted to meditate a little bit on my approach to writing music. First, I wanted to start by being totally honest about the process: It's totally convoluted. Who knows when or why or what will inspire me for a given song, or idea. Breaking in to that or pretending to be able to "contain" that sort of thing in a way that can easily be blogged about is impossible. I want to do something a little bit more practical and just elaborate on some of the things I think about or keep in mind when writing music. Today I'm going to talk about the "big picture."

My definition of the big picture has a lot to do with bridging (or at least being aware of) the gap between concept and execution--the gap between what I tried to do and what I actually did.

My big piciture approach starts with a few rules.

Rule #1: It has to sound good.

To me anyway, whether after multiple listens, or even if it's the first time I've listened. I try never to get so involved with what I'm writing that I can't sit and listen to it with the "amateur" ear--hearing what I want to hear and not what's actually there.

Rule #2: It has to reward the listener.

Why? If someone is going to spend 3-5 minutes listening to something I wrote I want it to be worth their time. Whether it's played in the background while they do, played in their CD player when they drive to work, or sitting eyes closed with headphones on. I've always liked the idea that anyone who listens to my music can for the most part "choose" how involved they are. I tend to make my stuff pretty catchy but I also really sweat the details. If you listen to a song multiple times I hope that the attention to detail will come out and that that care equals you becoming a fan of my stuff.

Rule #3: Be willing to walk away, and push ahead.

I've always been a perfectionist with my own stuff when writing. I live in a world with deadlines. This is actually one of the reasons I like writing for Schools. It forces me to finish something in a given amount of time. I can push it, but not much. With my own music there really are no deadlines, and sometimes it's good to let music incubate, but not always. What I write doesn't have to be absolutely perfect. I think after a certain amount of time or work, the extra bells and whistles I try to put in a song, or the putting off of putting something out there so that it can be fine tuned starts to become synonymous with hesitation. I gotta be able to walk away and let my shit stand on it's own. Use the "world" as the next step in helping me figure out how to fine-tune my music.

That's about as big picture as it gets. A good friend Chris also told me that it's important to love the process. And another blog told me that "insatiable curiosity" is sure to make people successful at what they want to do. What makes me willing to do this is the fact that I really dig making music. I really enjoy almost every step of the process. Not so much practicing, playing, and singing; but I'm learning.

That's all for now.

In other "approach" blogs I'll talk more about certain aspects of how I write/compse/sequence/produce and maybe even get technical.

More to come soon.

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