Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ok time to get serious (Song #1: Senator Happy)

Here's the first week's submission of the song a week challenge.

It's a rocky start for now.  I'm coming off another composition that I'll share later too of the orchestral variety.

If anyone else is interested in joining me for the rest of the year in making a song a week then check out this link.  It makes a huge difference to have a goal to strive for and a community to support that goal so doing the reddit song a week challenge seems like a great thing for accountability.

About the track:
The challenge was to use the notes "G-G-G-Eb" in a composition, those also being the first 4 notes of Beethoven's 5th symphony (you know the "Da-na-na Duuuuuun" one).  I decided to mask the motif pretty strongly by using chords that contain those notes rather than the specific notes themselves, as well as doing it in an 8-bit light house music style.  The title is completely arbitrary, though I suppose it could be used in a vintage style game where you're a senator voting and debating or something.

In other news, I took down a previous post about a polyphasic sleep as it was irrelevant and unhelpful to me in the long run.  Sleeping 2 hours a day is way too extreme for my busy life.  I hold a 9-5 (actually more like 8-6) video job in addition to composing so it just wasn't working out.  What I DID discover recently was a book called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work.  It's a pretty superficial read that makes no overarching assumptions, and I've been listening to the audiobook version on my commutes over the past few days but when I finished it, I summarized 4 things that I learned from it:

  1. Artists and composers that were prolific were the ones usually kept busy by work besides what they were famous for.
  2. It didn't need to be work related to their preferred field.
  3. The majority of them remained consistent to some kind of routine which separated specific times of day for creation, leisure, and dayjobs (with occasional and very human lapses of procrastination).
  4. Almost all of them either involved waking up early in the morning before the sunrise or going to bed close to or after midnight.
In light of this information, I have been trying to keep to a routine of my own.  I set my alarm for as early as 4:30am now and wake up slowly but surely, review the previous day's composition work and add new ideas as they come to me in my groggy dream state before my critical mind is fully awake.  It is agonizing to keep my eyes opened at time but important for my mood the rest of my day.  When I break about an hour later to get ready for my dayjob, I already feel productive and like I'm being true to the parts of me I genuinely love and wish to cultivate.  No matter what distractions come through the rest of the day, I never go to bed feeling unaccomplished.  While at my dayjob I take notes on new ideas to solve some of the problems I hear in the track from the morning, my critical brain now doing its part.  When I get home I spend time with my wife and son, eat dinner, and then go back to the computer to resolve and solidify my musings and solutions from the day.  If I run into a block, instead of beating my head against it, I practice scales or learn a new cover song.  I either end up being inspired by the effort, or at the very least, keep my other musical abilities sharp.

What about you?  Do you have a composition, writing, or creative routine that you keep to in order to stay productive?

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