It is no secret that all artists strive towards being recognized and loved.
When creating any piece of art, there is no set formula that, if used, will capture everyone’s hearts and result in success. Hence, the composer’s skills should constantly be changing.
There are a thousand theories that discuss ways to improve your craft.
Gladwell claimed that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become a master in your field.
Others oppose this view, saying that it’s not about the hours but the quality of the practice that matters. These contemporary theories are all great to keep in mind, but our purpose here is not to master the art of composing, but rather find ways to grow it. Why don’t we go back to the 5th century BC and listen to the first moral philosopher in the history of the world? You’ve probably heard of the Socratic method of learning that was created by – drum roll please – Socrates!
The method states that the best way to learn is by asking questions. Socrates believed that an argumentative discussion between individuals or even with oneself is the best way to bring out issues connected with a thesis through critical thinking. Now, let’s come back to the issue at hand. What are some questions that will stimulate growth in a composer? Here are some of them that will provide food for thought and hopefully help you come as close as you can to mastering your art.
How to keep growing?
Take this as the foundation for your “journey” to reach new levels of skill in composing classical music. Constant change is the core factor in keeping you on your feet and opening new doors for development.
A common issue that most composers have is the artist’s block. Maybe you’ve exhausted all your ideas or just can’t find the right rhythm. As with anything that involves creativity, it takes a specific mindset to be able to let your mind explore new territories and create something of value.
If you’re making a living off composing, being consistent with your creations might be a challenge. Luckily, there are infinite ways to create motivation for yourself. Some might take up drinking or even something worse. However, everyone’s different. So, finding a way to channel your creativity such as trying new things, trying old things, or making a change in your status quo is a good place to start.
Do I show my work?
In today’s competition-heavy world, it is important to put yourself out there for everyone to see. Specifically contemporary classical music has a niche that can be captured and the most major issue is being able to reach those people.
If your goal is to become available to potential listeners, Soundcloud is a perfect platform to present yourself in. Moreover, you can promote yourself (although not for free) and not only reach an audience but also create networking and career advancement opportunities for yourself.
Becoming a part of the composers’ community will create future opportunities for you, which will serve as motivation to become better and better. This brings me to my next question which is…
Is this interesting for today’s audience?
Since you are writing your music specifically for your audience, you have to be conscious of what they are looking for and give them exactly that. Satisfying your listeners’ demand will bring you closer and closer to your dream of becoming a famous composer.
However, going from one extreme to another is not the message here. Even though it might have turned into that, you probably started writing music not for anyone else but you. So, staying true to your roots is something to keep in mind since it will also serve as motivation to keep composing.
They say that the measure of a person’s importance in history is the time they take to be forgotten. If you look at composers who were underappreciated but gained fame after death, it is all because they wrote music that was close to their heart and didn’t alter their creations because it would earn them more money.
Has it been done before?
Another issue created by competition is the need for innovation. Nobody became famous by doing something that everyone’s doing. Hence, if you want to be remembered for your work, creating a new technique or an extraordinary piece is somewhat of a must. With contemporary classical music, your work has infinite directions it can go since you have the freedom to express anything you want.
Overall, composing classical music comes with its challenges. Some days you might be stuck in a rut and be unable to write down even a single note, however, it will always pass. Remember that your art is ever changing and the way you express that art is always subject to development.