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Topic: OT: In a weird place...

  1. #1

    Unhappy OT: In a weird place...

    Has anyone ever felt like just giving it all up? I mean just chucking doing any more music? I felt like that yesterday. It was a weird place. Feelings can be categorized in four areas: mad, sad, glad or afraid. My feelings yesterday, even today are one of extreme sadness, a little anger, and very much afraid to bring any of this up to this forum. I have worked in music for 30 years. I have directed a lot of church choirs (including one now) and several instrumental groups. I have written many, many pieces of music, most of it never heard but by me. My church choir has been my best venue for music. But yesterday a friend's message of "do I really suck that bad as a musician" prompted me to think, what's the point? Hardly anyone has heard most of what I've written. I've tried to write music that makes a difference, that expresses who I am. There's been little to no feedback so much of the time when someone does hear something I've done. So I came back to, what's the point? Why keep writing? Because it's so much a part of me, writing music. That was what prompted the sadness. I really thought what it would be like to shut down my computer for the last time, never pull up Finale again, never write another note. The grief was overwhelming. So do I continue? I have to. Even if no one hears anything else I do, I still have to keep writing. Music has been my life. It always will be. I can't imagine my life without it.

    Gary A.
    Serenity Musician (Gary A.)

    Lenovo, Windows 10 64 bit, 20 gig ram, 2 terabyte hd., M-Audio, Finale 25, Sonar

  2. #2

    Re: OT: In a weird place...

    I've been there. I, too, have been doing music - moderately successfully - for about thirty years. One thing I know is that "this too shall pass." Maybe it's time for a break in your routine, maybe put music away for a month or so, but that is just natural. The mind and body (and spirit) need their breaks now and then. Consider also that it is the middle of Winter - a time for feelings and thoughts such as these.

    My advice - remember most things are cyclical and this feeling will cycle through just like the seasons. Give yourself a break. It is times like this that put the "up" times in perspective and they will be all the more "up" because of this "down" time. I believe it is the natural give-and-take of the creative life.

    Don't make any drastic decisions in a time like this (just the same as when you are way "up"), bide your time and "this too shall pass."
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  3. #3

    Re: OT: In a weird place...

    Hi Gary,
    Sorry to hear that the idea of making music has become painful lately. I think you've said in your own post that you do know the point of it, even under the question - that it's a part of who you are.
    It might be worth asking who are you writing for or who are you hoping to reach? My impression is that some audiences are easier to reach than others - that there is a demand for film and tv and video game music, and probably others, that reach a large audience, but that there's only a very small part of the general public that's currently interested in going to a concert of new classical music. If you want to reach a good size audience I think you'd need to look into the business side of music, which might or might not be fun. It's certainly legitimate to write for yourself, to write for family, to write for friends, to write for God. And to me it's a huge amount of fun to have a very small community of friends who gather to play music. There are people out there who care about expression.

  4. #4
    Senior Member rpearl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Re: OT: In a weird place...


    To echo what's been said - we have all had those feelings. Those days. Those months... You've said it well, in that you do know why you write; the issue of who is listening is where we get disheartened. May I ask how you go about promoting your work? What do you do to make contacts with potential performers? Potential audiences? I know - or I assume - you aren't just sitting around waiting for the world to beat a path to your door; but what we actually do is what matters.

    I was also going to suggest a break. A sabbatical, in other words. Interesting that the root of the wordsabbatical is sabbath, or rest. When it is good for a whole host of other things, why not this. What would happen if you didn't write for a month? Or more? That absence, that time away might just rejuvenate your thinking.

    But these feelings will pass.

    By the way, you have a new friend on myspace...

    All the best,
    Ron Pearl





  5. #5

    Re: OT: In a weird place...

    Schubert wrote 9 Symphonies and a lot more piano music. As far as my biographies go, he never had the joy of a public performance of one of them and still he kept on writing.

    Go and do something else for a while...


  6. #6

    Re: OT: In a weird place...

    There's an Alan Belkin letter that addresses your specific concerns posted somewhere on this site.

    To paraphrase, being a composer is not the same thing as building a career as a composer, whether for recognition, money, or both. In fact, the latter will demand time from the former, all things being equal, as well as often imposing more artistic limitations than would otherwise exist. So there is a definite upside to composing in relative isolation.

    I think it was Aaron Copland who wrote that many composers do what they do because they are basically compelled to do so. And in a lot of ways, the existence of tools like GPO just make that proposition all the sweeter.

    And finally, in moments of doubt, a note from Martha Graham:
    "There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open."

  7. #7

    Re: OT: In a weird place...

    Darwin, that is a GREAT Martha Graham quote. Thanks!
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  8. #8

    Re: OT: In a weird place...

    That Martha Graham was something, wasn't she?
    Dan Powers

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  9. #9

    Re: OT: In a weird place...

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond62 View Post
    Schubert wrote 9 Symphonies...
    Well, 8 1/2 anyway.

  10. #10
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    California Redwoods

    Re: OT: In a weird place...

    Well, this feeling is something that I can fully understand. For a couple of months, I have written essentially nothing. I have asked myself many times, why am I doing this? Then I listen to some of my music, and I like what I hear. But I have not yet reached a point where I am ready to continue. I have no doubt that part of my present situation is that I have been very much pre-occupied with essential matters, like continuing to breathe, with a lot less effort than currently. Big asthma problem, improving slowly. When it passes, I expect the urge to compose will again make itself known. Meanwhile, I continue to think about what I might write when I am able to devote a little less of my thoughts to the matter of breathing!


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