Monday, October 24, 2022

On Composition

 I must admit it feels slightly pretentious of me to be posting about music writing, but I've been composing Jazz tunes since the mid-80s (and Pop tunes WAY before that) so I thought I'd like to share a few things I've learned along the way.

1. It's been my experience that the more one writes, the easy it is to compose the next time.

Now, as the drug ads go, results may vary, but I find composition begets composition for me. I put myself on a "compose every day" diet at the beginning of the fall, and I'm amazed what's come out! And related to that…..

2. Don't feel that everything you write has to see the light of day

It's more important to go through the act of writing than worry about anybody hearing it. Along those same lines, don't be afraid to go back to fragments and ideas you may have given up on and continue editing them. The tune itself will tell you when you're finished.

3. Vary your writing method to keep your compositions fresh

George Colligan's great (and currently hibernating) Blog has some excellent suggestions for this. In a nutshell, force yourself to approach writing differently, to shake it up……

4. Ask for help….

Drummers tend to be the least harmonically advanced members of the band, so hit up your bandmates for help and suggestions. I have played many a tune for people like bassist Mike Downes, and guitarists Ted Quinlan and Dawn Thomson, and they were very generous with their advice. After all, if the drummer's tune makes more sense, then it'll be easier for everyone else to play on! 

Alright! Everyone get writing…..

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