Make Better Music 28: Revolution not Evolution

make better music. Trebuchet magazine
make better music. Trebuchet magazine

Your music-making skills will evolve over time, the speed of that change will probably depend on how much you write and how intensely you listen.

Why not take control of that evolutionary process and try to steer it towards becoming a leopard rather than a sloth (nothing wrong with sloths by the way, they are great at what they do, but wouldn’t you fancy being something a bit more…sleek?).

I believe that your artistic evolution generally goes on as a background process – it’s all the things you learn and ponder over, but probably haven’t realised that you’ve learned or pondered over.

It’s quite possible to take control of this process, although luckily a certain amount of it will always be uncontrollable – and this is great as it still leaves the door open to fortuitous moments of inspiration and strange quirks of fate. Life would undoubtedly be poorer without those.

However, your evolution as a creative musician is pretty much steered intuitively – but the fuel for the transition is what you experience, and your internal monologue!

Control the spice and you control the universe!

Oh hang on… I mean something more like “control your thoughts and you control your future!” though not as rigid or as scary as that sounds. It’s more like aiming towards experiences that will have a positive effect on you, that will give you the sort of fuel you want your mind to be running on. Just watch out you don’t forget you’ve got a diesel brain and start filling it with petrol.

Some of the more cynical of you might be thinking:

Well hold on, surely bad experiences contribute to your artistic growth too? If I only have nice things happen to me, I’ll end up making new-age music and looking starry-eyed all the time!

There’s some truth in that for sure, but in my experience the less positive parts of your life are quite capable of making themselves happen, and require no further assistance.

It’s also worth remembering that we attach significance to events, they have none of their own, and the universe rewards those who try to find the best possible slant on whatever has happened. Unless you enjoy being depressed and/or are dying to form an Emo band.

When you get a feel for what goes into your mind as an influence or as something that resonates with you, you can easily start to steer your thoughts towards those that will benefit the music you write. As I said above, this process cannot, and should not become fully controlled, the unconscious element is also vital, but as with many of my ideas, it is about using them to make the most of what you have. Don’t force things that don’t feel right, just use what works for you.

 


Make Better Music is updated every Tuesday.
Image: Francesco Marino / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Dave Graham 70 Articles
David Learnt composition (harmony, counterpoint and orchestration) to degree level through studying Schoenbergs Fundamentals of Musical Composition, the classic text on twentieth century harmony by Vincent Persichetti, Henry Mancini's Sounds and Scores, Rimsky-Korsakov's excellent books on orchestration as well as studying any scores that intrigued me. He is a founder member of two bands, avant pop duo Cnut, and orchestral doombience outfit Regolith, and have performed across Europe with them.

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