As you may know from my recent blog or my social media updates, I started a thing this month called NaMuCoWriMo (National Music Composition Writing Month). Basically, all that means is that I'm challenging myself to compose every day, no matter how crappy the output is.
True to form, I have a zillion thoughts about this already, but I'll reserve the bulk of my reflection for my follow-up post at the end of the month. At the end of the month, I'll also post a list of what I worked on every day.
But I wanted to do a little check-in now that the month is over halfway over! It's been a GREAT experience so far.
My work has really been all over the place this month, and I mean that mostly in a good way. Because of the "rules" I put in place for myself (mainly not to stagnate in perfectionism), I've been a lot more willing to go outside of my usual boundaries. This means I've done more in Ableton, done more with visuals and space, worked on text, started things that didn't have a clear direction or destination.
Some trends that have developed. I don't want to judge myself for them yet, instead choosing to (attempt to) focus on observing them neutrally.
- Some days, I "finish" a draft. Other days, I do not. So far, I haven't gone back to fix or finish a lot of my compositions started this month, thus I have a lot of new incomplete things. This makes me slightly anxious but not nearly as much as usual.
- I really, really love working with text. I mean, I already knew this, but damn. I really really really do.
- I am liking Ableton Live 1000% more than expected, and I actually think it'll be be a bigger part of my future. Here's a song called "Lament" that I made in there. I assembled the lament on the night of the devastating election, which also happened to be the day of my grandfather's funeral.
- Writing myself etudes and beginner pieces has been really fun! I started learning marimba recently, so one of my compositions was an easy marimba etude to work on some 4-mallet intervals that I suck at. I'm actually totally into the idea of writing more beginner pieces for myself. Not even just beginning-level things. I'm going to start doing this for myself more with violin too, to work on specific things that crop up. Why didn't I think of this sooner?!
- It's been an interesting struggle figuring out the best way to notate experimental things.
- One piece I'm totally jazzed on is a collaboration with my friend Arthur Breur! We have never met, but we are "composition" friends online, and he is a fellow Patreon creator. I don't know too many composers on Patreon, so it's rad to have him there. We are writing a sonata for violin and piano together, sort of like the FAE sonata except totally different, of course. I want to collaborate with more Patreon artists in the next year, since there are so many creative, cool people on the platform, and Patreon is where I have the most fun with things creatively. So far, I've worked on initial melodies, and Arthur is in the process of coming up with harmonies.
- Related to the above point about my sonata collaboration with Arthur: Because he exclusively uses MuseScore for his composition notation, I downloaded it and will be using it for our sonata too. It's easier to share things that way, since it's an open source program that has easy online saving options. We tried sending back .xml files, but it was too clunky. I'm nervous but up for using this different platform (I'm normally a Sibelius person). In the past, I probably would have stressed about changing my routine in any way, but this month has freed me up a lot.
- NaMuCoWriMo has made me even more obsessed with Patreon, to be honest. Since I've been trying a lot of new weird things this month, it's nice to have a safe place to share half-finished and vulnerable works. Most of the things I've done this month are definitely not polished enough to share with the public yet, haha. So if any of my patrons are reading this, thank you for being so receptive and in for this ride! (If you want to be one of them, you're of course welcome to join at any time! It's literally just $1 a month for the the secret updates.)
Stay tuned to hear my further developed thoughts and the day-by-day breakdown of what I actually worked on every day this month!