Karate and “making it” as a composer

In Karate they say that once you have been given your black belt it does not mean that you have mastered anything. Rather it simply means that you have done enough exercises that you can actually begin to learn what Karate is really about. I think this is a nice metaphor to think about growing as a composer. One of the great benefits of music is that the possibilities are as endless as one’s own curiosity is. This means that while is it is inevitable that I will grow old, if I continue to devote myself to this craft I will never grow bored. That fact alone is both priceless and worth the labor of love that is required to undertake a life of music composition. Prominent in my mind, and most composers mind, is “how do I make it” as a composer. What is often meant foremost with this question is how to be able to earn enough finically from my music that I am able to devote my time to music, and derive a income suitable for living off of. Often times being a composer of “Art” music excludes one from this equation. From my studies of composers whose careers I deeply admire I have deducted 3 common traits from their vastly different paths.

1. Be proactive:don’t wait for someone to call you.Pick up the phone,meet performers, get involved in the musical community.

2. Something unexpected happened as a result of being “out there”: Often composers spoke of how one collaboration lead to either a commission or a referral that lead them to a more prestigious performance.

3. Go where you are wanted: Some places just have more possibilities than others.

Posted on March 28, 2012 in Music Composition

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About the Author

An award-winning composer, accomplished musician and sonic storyteller, Douglas Gibson resides in New York City, where he composes and gives music composition lessons locally and online worldwide.
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