If I could, I would spend every day making music. It comes naturally to me. I’m not really much for practicing, but I love being a part of something new. Once I start composing, I can be lost in a new piece of music for hours or even days on end. Ah, if only that was the whole of a composer’s life.
I want my music to reach people and make them happy. That means I have to find those people.
They say it’s easy for a composer to reach the right audience these days. I’m guessing some tech expert said that, but it’s true. I can write an SAB choral piece just right for middle school, then head to the internet to connect directly with the directors who are struggling to find enough men to round out their school choir, and voila! I’ve found my audience. There are websites and internet services out there that even take care of the copyright issues; I just pick a tune from the list, and get busy writing. I can upload original pieces there, or self-publish on my own site.
I find that my struggle with the tech issues boils down to this: I keep hearing the voice in my head that says, “stop wasting your time; write music!” I am amazed at the amount of time I spend setting up my website, building a composer profile on publishing sites, emailing questions to ASCAP/BMI, etc., etc. It’s part of the package, and all successful composers do it. In fact, they always have.
“Papa” Haydn had a lot of mouths to feed when the patronage he’d enjoyed from the Esterhazy family came to a rather abrupt end. That job change freed him from the confining nature of the composer/patron relationship, and allowed him to plot his own course as a composer. He was successful because he worked on his own to strengthen connections in London and across Europe, so that he could continue writing for a wider range of clients. Haydn did not die penniless, and he had a long and happy career composing music his way.
If he had been alive today, Haydn would be a technical whiz, making connections through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, directing all that traffic to his fabulous website. He would be posting photos of his children and grandchildren on Instagram, so folks could get to know him better. He would be blogging about his latest projects, and engaging with people who were anxious to hear his next work.
I wonder: If he was a man of today, working in this environment, would he have been equally prolific? Would he still have written 104 symphonies, or less? or more?
I’m told that I’ll settle into a rhythm, so that I blog awhile, spend a few “quick” minutes catching up on emails, and the rest of my day can be devoted to my craft. How is that working for you? Please feel free to share your ideas here.