Two weeks ago, a wave of apprehension came over me as I packed my bags to head to the Composers’ Retreat of the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival. I shouldn’t have been nervous, because I’d had a great experience when I participated in the same program three years ago. But this time, I felt like everything was at stake. Continue reading “What Happened When I Spent 2 Weeks at a Composers’ Retreat…”
Over the last few weeks, I’ve found myself traveling all over the place to study at a couple of summer music festivals. I was at the Fresh Inc Festival in Wisconsin for two weeks in June, and it was so good that I haven’t been able to figure out how to sum up the experience in one post. Hopefully I’ll do that soon, though. At the moment, I’ve just finished my first week at the Atlantic Music Festival in Maine, and it’s been amazing.
When I say “music festival” to some people, they imagine that I’m talking about loud rock bands and lots of drugs and wild partying, but these classical festivals I attend could hardly be farther from that. In my world, the music festivals I speak of are the places you go as a young composer to sharpen your skills, make connections, and study music intensely without the burden of homework and day-to-day chores that I have during the school year.
After making it halfway through music school this semester and doing everything I came to Nashville to do, I’d worked myself into the ground. I’d run out of creativity, because I’d had to expend so much energy on trying to get through the semester. I could no longer write any music, no matter how much part of me still wanted to do it.
So I took a break from trying to compose.
Too many composers and songwriters just sit around and wait for creativity to happen. But the truth is that, most of the time, by making yourself write, you inherently have to be more creative to be able to put something on the paper in the first place.
I used to be the kind of composer that just waited around, and I often moved onto new pieces whenever I hit the “barrier.” I used to think that forcing yourself to be creative stifled creativity, but now I see otherwise. Continue reading “Composer’s Block: Pushing Past the Walls”