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Be a Human.

Feb 17, 2024

About 8 years ago I was working on learning Mozart's Adagio and Allegro in F Minor for "organ."

Except, it wasn't REALLY for organ. Mozart wrote it for mechanical clock organ - a popular device in his day.

Because of this, the piece is notoriously difficult to play for a non-mechanical organist. ME).

I had worked on it for a couple months and got to a point where I was feeling pretty good about it.

One of my former organ teachers happened to be in town. I invited him to come listen and "make me nervous" as a test of just how ready to perform the piece was.

It went...fine. After I finished playing, I turned to him and said, "I feel like I'm always right on the edge of the whole thing falling apart."

He said something that stuck with me. "I could feel that in your playing. But in a piece like this I always think the audience wants to feel you struggle a little bit."

 

"They want to feel you struggle..."

 

Today, A.I. has captured everyone's attention and many composers have expressed concerns about its potential impact on our art form.

There are valid reasons for concern, but we often overlook one simple fact.

People who listen to music are humans. Humans appreciate the things that we all share - imperfections.

Since I started sharing my creative process, I've noticed that many people are more interested in seeing HOW I do things than the things I do.

This is a normal human connection. We like being able to identify with other people.

We come together for meals because it reminds us that whatever our differences, we all share many more commonalities.

We come together to learn about music and creativity because we all struggle with similar things.

As A.I. becomes more prevalent, people who are willing to share more of their humanity will not experience devaluation. The opposite will be true.

People will be more hungry for human connection than ever before. As artists, our jobs will be more important than ever.

 

Be Irreplaceable

 

This is why we try to focus on craft, improving our skills, and refinement of our own artistic voice.

These are deeply human things and, at least at this point, no machine can come close to replicating.

As A.I. improves, there are some composers who may have reason for concern. If one writes formulaic music for a stock music library or streaming playlist, the aim is not to stand out from the crowd. Instead, it is to replicate the things that have already worked.

I have no issue with composers who choose to make a living this way. However, I fear they're on the front lines in this struggle.

But we can still do things A.I. can't. We have taste. We can combine our influences in a unique way and filter that through our individual taste. Something can influence us, and we can choose to react against that influence.

What we choose NOT to do is equally as important as what we choose to do.

We're also imperfect imitators. So, even in an attempt to copy something, we will inevitably fail and discover a variation.

"In failing to imitate our heroes, we discover our own voice."

There may come a day when the machines do take over many of the middle class musician's jobs, but we aren't there yet.

The best defense we have is to embrace our humanity. And as long as humans are our listeners, they will appreciate our imperfections.

Whenever you're ready, here's how I can help you:

1. Composition Concepts for Artists - an in-depth look at the process of composition with step-by-step examples SHOWING how and WHY I make decisions. You'll learn to take an initial idea and DEVELOP it into a finished project.

2. Understanding Synthesis - learn to design your own sounds starting with the basics of subtractive synthesis and progressing to more advanced sound design  with semi-modular and various forms of digital synthesis.

3. YouTube Membership - monthly livestreams featuring music making and sound design in real time. Q&As and exclusive videos only available to channel members.

4. One to One Coaching (coming soon) - work with me on YOUR own music. I'll help you take your track from idea to finished product, so you'll come out with a polished track or EP and any knowledge gained from walking through the process with me.