As part of my program at Capilano, I have been composing a work that might be in our upcoming show at the PUSH Festival. This work has been keeping...
As part of my program at Capilano, I have been composing a work that might be in our upcoming show at the PUSH Festival. This work has been keeping me busy. So I’ve been thinking how does one come up with ideas to compose a work? What do you need to compose?
The more I compose the more I realize that it is much like writing an excellent essay. The larger your vocabulary is the more words you have to describe and demonstrate. The more you know your subject, the better you write. There is a famous saying somewhere that to be a great poet, one must read 1000 poems, and memorize 100 poems. I believe the same can be said about composing.
It seems that there is that attitude that anyone can be a composer that with minimal training (or no training) you can produce a great song but I disagree. Maybe you can write one song and if you do it – it may be accidental. But I don’t believe that you will be able to continue to create new and exciting works. One of the biggest complains of popular music today is that everything sounds the same and most artists copy each other and keep creating songs that have no real substance. It is much like one of my professors; Alex Ferguson said in one of his lectures. Without understanding your process, he told us you will keep creating the same kind of works over and over.
Sometimes, the classical system of studying theory seems boring. It seems sometimes to be a bunch of boring rules and ideas that one will never use in composing. I remember when I studying harmony at Trinity Western, I was often frustrated studying theory thinking when will I use this? Abraham Lincoln said something interesting in his Lyceum Address in 1838, “You must understand the past before you will understand the present.” Mr. Lincoln was so right, the more I understand what the composers of the past did, the more I am to able to come up with ideas for the present.
I truly believe the more you study the better you will become! Happy Studying.