Whatever you Think Matters.

Day 306 Week 45 Q4  Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Another partially overcast November morning on the tail end of recovery from Covid brings to mind something a wise person much younger than myself once told me a long time ago. He said if you think something matters, you had better attend to it every single day for at least some time. For example, if you thought you were a musician, then you had better play music every day. Or whatever you thought you were, unless you were doing it every day, you were not really that person.

Whenever our routines are interrupted by crisis, sickness or even laziness, re-entry always raises the question so what do I do now? Is the routine the same or modified? Recommit or edit out? Interruptions to your routines usually permit time for some internal review, and that internal audit hopefully is worthwhile to examine our routines and habits (which are automated behaviors more so than routines that may still require conscious effort). 

For me getting back to the gym is the hardest, for I am the least vested in it as part of my identity.  On the other hand, as I am now coming to think of myself as a composer and the means I should be composing every day. Or at least, according to my friend, that is called for. Now, this very notion calls into question, What is a composer? And whether I am one or not. What do composers do every day, and does anyone else have to agree you are a composer or is this an internal thing?

For me, it should be simple, and there is nothing else I would rather be doing, so why don’t I do it all of the time? Well, there is the matter of does it pay anything. That can always be a factor. Or are you good at it? Not as much of a factor, although you usually have to be bad before you are good but I think I crossed that threshold a while ago.

Did you ever set out to be a composer? Not really. Then how did you find yourself composing? Oh, that is easier. I really liked playing and could not think of a reason to play what already existed. And by the way, I never wanted to do hardly anything that previously existed, which is why I liked designing new products or programs or fonduing companies or creating new departments. I guess I liked and still like clean slates.

But back to what matters. I am assuming I think composing matters because I like to play and need things to play that I ate not played before, and it takes less effort for me to create something new than to learn something old. Seriously are you saying your creativity is driven by laziness?

Originally no doubt, there has always seemed like there were better ways to do things than the way they were being done, and this still seems to be the case. So are you saying necessity is the mother of invention? Well, not really. I am saying many people are involuntarily curious and creative, and being a composer provides such rapid gratification that it suits me.

I mean, if you are a scientist, it can take years or decades to find out if your ideas work or not, and if you are an engineer, it can take months or years, but if you are a musician and composer, it can take minutes or even seconds to find out if you are going in the right direction. Iteration can be so rapid.

So does it matter? Well, to me, it does. What does? Being a composer! And I guess that means I had better do some every day. And by the way, does improvising every day count as composing in real time? No, not really.

For me, until there is a score, there is no composition. There may be a performance or even an arrangement but not a composition until there are some dots on a page. And why is this? Because I perform pieces differently every single time and am constantly trying different arrangements and combinations of notes and chords as well as sometimes adding lyrics. 

I have given up trying to define what a piece of music is by myself and now use a US Copyright office definition. If I send them a score, I get a copyright. Hmm, you can also send an audio file and get one out. That does not work for me because it is only a single manifestation of the composition.

So for me, I need to have scores to keep score!     Ah, that is what matters!