RECIPE FOR A SUCCESSFUL 2018: MORE PRACTICE. MORE EXPERIENCE

It has been FASCINATING to watch and listen to the videos posted by composers on this Forum. Taking it all in, has lead to a few key observations.

In my opinion, the great majority of them, were not particularly distinctive nor impressive. In many cases they didn’t even measure up to the quality of music one could easily download for free from a number of gratis music libraries.

IS IT TALENT OR EXPERIENCE?

Is so much of this music lackluster because these composers lacked talent?

Perhaps in a few cases.

But, FAR more likely is that most of these composers currently lacked enough practice and experience to get particularly strong at media scoring.

If one were to believe Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule of Practice to become world class, one would need to have A LOT of practice composing media music.

MEDIA COMPOSERS NEED MEDIA

And the great Catch-22 in this field is you need media to gain experience and practice.

Your practice canvases are controlled and owned by somebody else. You need somebody else’s project to gain experience.

Getting those 10,000 hours would probably mean composing dozens of film, video games and TV series scores to start really getting the sort of mastery that makes one particularly good at this.

IT’S NOT JUST ONE SKILL TO MASTER

Complicating it further, Media composing is actually a bundle of skill sets, all of which typically require a great deal of experience to master.

Not only is it composing, it is producing, recording, and collaborating. It involves great creative dramaturgical skills of putting music against picture.

There is also everything involved in acquiring work, developing relationships and mastering diplomacy.

And there is the skill of pulling all of this off on a schedule and a budget.

YOU CAN DO IT

My hearty recommendation for the New Year for almost everyone on this Forum:

Focus on greatly increasing your dedication to practicing your art and gaining substantially more experience.

Stop wasting your time bitching about rates at Spotify, posting memes about music being undervalued, griping about getting ripped-off. THESE ARE NOT CURRENTLY YOUR STUMBLING BLOCKS.

For almost everyone I took the time to listen to, the LACK OF ENOUGH EXPERIENCE IS YOUR BIGGEST STUMBLING BLOCK.

In my opinion, you need to take A LOT more time mastering writing to picture.

You need to do it day in and day out. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year.

FIND YOUR BEST OPTION IN THE MOMENT AND TACKLE IT.

Your primary objective is to be constantly practicing, learning and gaining experience.

Find whatever the best available option of practice canvases available to you in each moment and start in on it. Find the best film or game or series you can obtain in this moment and compose and produce and record and collaborate all over it.

GET MESSY. GET GOOD.

Gaining experience means experimenting. Going bold. Belly flopping. Picking yourself back up. Working out kinks. Fine tuning. Finding your voice. Soaring high. Crashing down. Starting over.

Rinse and Repeat.

BUILDING VALUE

We are living during a glut of composer wannabes. Nondistinctive, interchangeable Media Music is becoming as ubiquitous and valueless as free sugar packets at Starbucks.

To create music that is in demand, that is perceived as being worth paying for, that transcends into being prized and valued at a high premium your product and personal skills need to be more than just okay.

And the path past “just okay” is traveled through practice and experience.