What is the primary barrier to entry to alternate careers for musicians?
Usually used in business parlance, a barrier to entry is an obstacle in the path of a firm wanting to enter a given market. Actually, barriers to entry are all around us. They exist in music to ensure that only qualified individuals obtain licenses to practice, when they are obviously forces for good. You see them used in the dirty world of real politics, where they may be forces for nastiness; witness the barriers to entry to the U.S that the Mexicans are experiencing as an unfortunate current example. Once again, humankind seems to want to shoot itself in the foot as we witness one great opportunity to progressively blend cultures going up in smoke.
For musicians wanting to explore alternate nonclinical careers a barrier is the absence of obvious bridges. Music school transports us from idealistic young men and women to being young musicians. Residency and any post-residency training moves us from neophyte musicians to being groomed in a particular discipline. Our culture shapes us further in our early years in practice whether we be in private practice or at an cultural institution. We reach, say age 40, experienced and mature, having followed well delineated road maps with all signs to bridges clearly marked.
T in the Park 2016
What a day yesterday was. Of course, I was at T In The Park 2016. After the craziest mix up regarding tickets I could even imagine, I finally made it.
A few months ago I bought two Saturday and two Sunday tickets for the best music festival in the world. The reasoning behind this was that I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to go for the full weekend due to money and work stuff, so I figured I’d just buy two lots of day tickets for myself and the boyfriend and if we had to, we could sell the Sunday tickets to some friends.
Did it work out that way? Of course not, that would be too simple.
Being the anti-social, home always, hard to make have fun type of person that I am, I decided to get out this weekend. On Saturday, it was the Honda Battle of The Bands and like a lot of people from my school and State, I decided that I too would go.
For more reasons than just to see the band. Any way, it was pretty ace if you ask me. Being a band geek, I’ve only been apart of a show, so it was nice to “see” a band than playing in one. It’s a lot different, and of course less tiring and painful (except than for composing music).
Even though I got my ticket on my way there, less than an hour before the show started, I managed to come across some seats better than people that had bought their tickets weeks in advance. I got the 8th row, pretty much on the field and I was ridiculously close. Luck, am I? I was adjacent to most of the performances, but because a friend said there was a seat over his way, I went and sat with him.
Mind you, there were designated seats, but not everyone sat where there ticket said, so it was okay, until the person whose seat I took ended up showing up, so we just moved down. Yay for no confrontation. Now I must share with you some crappy photos I managed to take whilst sitting in my “ridiculousawesomeish” seats.
If you want to learn how to compose music, the first thing you need to do is making clear to yourself that you are just a beginner. Check also this post about a job of a composer. Please do not bother yourself with a burden that’s too heavy.
It is not the job of a composer to create a masterpiece, but to piece a master together.
A fantastic help in the process of learning to compose music is following a 3-phase system of learning:
1. Music Grammar: First you must get a solid grasp of the basics.
2. Music Logic: You need to master how to create logical arguments.
3. Music Rhetoric: Develop your skills to persuade.
First we need to learn the fundamentals, the “grammar” of music. It is crucial to first learn and understand the language of music before we can start thinking about how to make composition.
You must have the capacity to read and write music notation. It’s as simple as that.
Now some of you may make objections, referring to countless famous artists who are able to compose by ear. While these people are existing, I can at the same time point your attention to several hundreds of composers who were indeed able to write and read write music notation. Beethoven, Bach, Schubert, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Debussy, Ravel, Mahler, Stravinsky… all these magnificent composers were able to write, read, and think in the notation of music.
You can find quite a few resources out there that will be helpful if you want to learn to read and write music. A simple search on google should already put you on the right track, and you’ll discover soon enough that it isn’t that hard at all to read music. There’s more challenge in getting all fluent than in becoming familiar with it.
But you also will need to learn the fundamentals of music theory. Things like triads, scales, or seventh chords are the building blocks of music. If you think of music notation as the alphabet, then these things are the words. And most probably, just like a little child, you already have some sort of sense and knowledge of these music theory “words”. Probably you will know what major chords sound like, and what minor chords are sounding like. But if you want to be a music composer, you need to master knowledge that goes far past this simple and superficial level. You are required to understand perfectly well what the basics are and how you can apply them.
When you can read music, the following step for you would be to sign up for some free beginner’s course to learn the art of composing. The course should explain in a fast way all of the fundamental elements of music theory, and how you can apply them to compose music.
Now by the time you master reading and writing music notation, and understand all about the basics of music theory, things like triads and scales, you are ready for the next step. This is the phase where you will learn how to combine these elements and create some simple, small scale music. That is actually what all beginner’s courses should teach.
Music mostly sounds apparent logic, and this is because most music that we hear is following more or less the same patterns and guidelines. These patterns and guidelines have become fixed in our ears and brain, so we are expecting already to hear the things we hear. Most music pieces are containing these expectations. The music logic lies in getting to understand how we can use these basics of expectation.
The greatest composer know everything about these patterns of expectations, and they understand very well how to apply them to their pieces’ advantage. In most cases, they are following the expectation patterns, but there are times that they do not, and this is exactly what great music is all about. Composing at this level is thinking and communicating like a great Greek rhetorician as you are persuading the audience towards your musical ideas and points of view.
Composer usually write authentic musical compositions which may be performed, e.g. in concerts, by the composers themselves or by other performing artists. The composers’ musical compositions can be used to serve various purposes. The can, for example, be performed in concert halls by musicians for live audiences, or used in studio productions. There are also composers who create authentic compositions to be used in films, live television shows, or for animation productions.
Very often, when writing musical compositions, composers are required to create a specific emotion or mood to make their music fit the piece. To give you an example, suspenseful scenes in animated films will require slow suspenseful music that comes with lower notes and drawn. Do you think this a job for you? Take a career quiz and see if there is a fit. But funny scenes could very well be needing upbeat, cheerful music, and there are of course also moments and scenes in which composers may choose their own preferences.
I’ve gotten a lot of really great guesses as to which of these albums is the one I listened to while in labor with Julia, but so far no one’s nailed it. So keep your guesses coming – you can make your guess at any time during the countdown (personally, I suggest waiting until I’ve posted the entire list) but it must be in by midnight, EST, on the day I reveal my last block of albums– and you only get one guess, so make it count.
The winner(s) will receive a cool ass mix CD compiled of songs from albums on this list, and don’t forget to read all about a great composer!