TIPS

What does it take to be a composer? I think you would get different feedback from each composer you talk to. I once heard Jon Schmidt mention that to be a performer requires an obsessive personality. He said that you'd never make it in his world if you're not playing 4-6 hours a day in practice.

Is composing the same? I'm not sure, but I will tell you this. To compose music - for me - requires thinking differently than the average Joe. You have to feel life, breathe life differently than the accountant, school teacher, or newspaper reporter. For you, life needs to be about color, about timbre, about emotion.

To compose well, music needs to live; it needs to breathe emotion. At least this is how it is for me. I'll sit down at the piano and close my eyes. I notice things beyond the rhythmic beating of my heart or the sound of air passing through my mouth. I'm sensing emotions that most people don't want to tap into.

And it is from there I begin the music. My heart speaks to me through my fingers. They move slowly to the keys and I wait to hear the first notes, coming as 'words.' From there, music begins to layer itself into pieces. It's a soulful tapping into the fleshy parts of life that sometimes aches, sometimes relishes living.

There are books that can help with the craft of writing music. I'll include those here. I really like these resources. They're a helpful start. But remember: real music needs heart. And it needs the touch that only you can give your music.