Sunday, January 8, 2012

One Foot In Front Of The Other

Lately, along with my own work on it,  I find I've been talking a lot about this piece of music. And thinking a lot about it, pretty much all the time. And while the music is coming into clearer and clearer focus everyday, I'm finding the story aspect continues to shift and change and is currently eluding me.

It seems like every time I know exactly what I want to say, another layer starts to come into focus and sends the whole thing in a new direction. As the narration becomes more and more conversational, the narrative keeps shifting as well (I'm now thinking part of the story is about growing up with the Terry Fox story).

I'm also having a hard time hearing the narration right now. I've always had different people vaguely in mind, and would hear them in my head while I worked on it, but then the other day at rehearsal someone asked "Does it have to be man?" and I (mentally) stopped dead in my tracks.

It's a question I hadn't even thought to ask myself, which bugs me. Obviously the narrator doesn't have to be a man at all. It makes me wonder what other aspects of the piece I should re-examine.

Work has begun in earnest on the actual writing of the music, although it's still mainly sketches, experiments, ideas and concepts. The great thing about having a number fixation as a composer is the moment where you hear a concept for the first time, and it rules. Nothing feels better.

The flip side is spending hours fiddling with an idea that isn't working, isn't going to work and wasn't that good to begin with. Sometimes my brain just wants an intricate bit of musical mathery to work so badly that I can lose sight of the big picture pretty quickly.

Sometimes I think my most important job is being my own editor. I find it can be hard to know when to stop chasing something down the rabbit's hole; identifying the point where too much time has been spent for a diminishing payoff is crucial to any creative project.

I'm also struggling a bit with time management...still trying to find a groove for working on this one. I've found the easiest way to ensure I spend some time with it everyday is to get up early and spend the first few hours of the day working (or writing a blog post because my brain is too tired to deal with much more).
Sunday morning, 6am

The mornings are pretty cool, I gotta say. The city is pretty quiet from 5:30-7:30 in the morning. It's easy to be productive because there isn't much else to do.

Of course the danger of this routine is that sometimes you need that time for sleep. Spending December playing The Sound of Music every night, and now spending January rehearsing and soon to be performing in The Idiot (Jan 20-29 at the PuSh Festival) has taken a bit of a toll on my morning routine.

With the concert set for May 11 at The Cultch and workshop date set for early March I'm enjoying the comfortable pressure of approaching deadlines, as well as finding a steady rhythm to the work.