Where to begin Part 1.

How do I begin being a composer:

I’ve composed a few pieces but I have problems even knowing where to begin with a piece. I end up making up very simple harmonies and I just seem lost. I have a lot of music dancing in my head and I dont seem to know how to put it down on paper. Is there anything I can do? Do you have any tips?

This is actually a fantastic question and one that deserves some thought. I will answer this in  two parts; The environments that will encourage you learn the most, and  how  an individual can make the most progress from their own practice.  Let me give my thoughts on the best learning “structures” to help you grow.

1. Teacher/mentors: You will learn better, faster, and have someone point out your blind spots. A great teacher is worth their weight in gold in my book. Think about it. The people at the top of their field are going to have a set of distinctions that others do not have. You are really only going to learn that by learning the tools and techniques that they use.

2. Saturation environments: This is what a music school does. By exchanging your knowledge with others you see new points of views. Also by immersing yourself in an environment you are learning things sub-consciously. Another option are weekend seminars, or one week courses. Also consider going to professional networking events. It is important to get out and let yourself be known.

3. Read books, Videos etc.: Become furiously curious, and hungry to learn. Libraries are an immense resource that are free and under used. My only word of caution is regarding internet forums and exchanges. Forums, with low entry barriers, often give the worst advice and just as bad lead to distractions causing wasted time or unproductive discouragement on how hard the music profession is.

Posted on August 11, 2011 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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