I’ve always admired people with a process who can craft a workflow for themselves. These people on videos say, “when I start a project, the first thing I do is…”. My process when composing is not that organized. That’s not to say, with every project; I’m running around like my trousers are on fire. I have a publishing, producing, and teaching process because I know the goal I want to achieve with each of these. When publishing, I know what I want the score to look like; when producing, I know how I want the track to sound; and when teaching, I guide the student toward the learning objective. But I don’t usually set goals when composing. Unlike Stella, I don’t have my groove back.
Perhaps it’s how I write music; I write with chaos, disorganization, and confusion, an ending here, modulation there, an introduction in another place, mixing them up, copying them over to different places, then stitching them together. If I had to define my process, it would be to create a little havoc, then sift through the rubble and dust off what survives the catastrophe. I don’t want to admit this is my process, but unfortunately, it is.
I never thought of this chaos as a process, but it is. So when I say I have no process, I can’t clearly define what I’m doing in terms of steps A and B. I approach each composition similarly, creating chaos, disorganization, and confusion, dusting off the creative parts that survived. My process is an ugly one, but a process nonetheless. When I start on a composition, I write four to eight-bar sections; once I’ve written several sections, I find which ones relate to each other and a way to connect them. Then I work through the composition linearly from start to finish. One small section inspires the next and gets stitched into the composition. I do this until I feel I’ve explored all the themes and completed the piece. It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t refine my process further, but the first step is identifying that I have one.
So if you’re struggling with identifying your process, look back at your compositions and see if there’s something you do the same each time; if there is, take the time to define it. Once you’ve determined how you approach each composition, take the next step to determine if there are places you waste time and where you can speed things up.
This post was mostly rambling and thinking out loud, so I may revisit it later. Still, for now, the idea was to think about your process and how you may develop it further. Thanks for reading; I’m just a music teacher having fun; catch ya on the next one.