priming the pump of composing



I did something a bit out character yesterday. I mounted a new towel rack in the kitchen. The old one was covered with plastic and was falling to pieces. This caused me to think that little bits of plastic were possibly falling into food as I prepared it near this stupid rack. We bought a new rack months ago. It’s been sitting in the kitchen in a box. I noticed it yesterday and decided to attack it. I love YouTube. I found some helpful ideas there and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of putting it up.


I have been writing a daily blog entry for many years.  It occurs to me that this is a good discipline and has probably helped me focus and clarify my own ideas for myself. I have been feeling the loss of doing any composing. I mentioned yesterday a couple of contests that I’m probably not going to enter. One reason is that the way they are set up is too incestuous for me. Instead of encouraging innovative thinking from a wider context, the judges want to get a look at the applicants resume and previous work. I’m probably just old and cranky but this seems to suggest that they want to make sure applicants are using musical language they approve of which to my way of thinking is the opposite of innovative creative thinking.

I’m probably wrong about this, but it’s colors the contest for me. But the most important reason I’m not entering is that my chops are rusty from disuse. The creative energy I need to write well is related to not being burned out and having some perspective. You know, all that stuff I’m not really doing well lately.

So,  I’m thinking of adding to my daily regime a daily musical sketch. I usually don’t talk about this sort of thing because it tends to sabotage my motivation and I end up not doing it. But I see this as a bit more mundane like daily practice, blogging or treadmilling.

Leonardo Ciampa

Leonard Ciampa interviews Peter Krasinski in the July issue of the AGO magazine. I can’t link you in since the AGO weirdly keeps its magazine behind firewalls.

Peter Krasinski

If you don’t recognize these names, don’t worry, neither do I. They are bigwigs in the organ world I guess. On his website, Ciampa has a quote from the Boston Globe about him being a “genius” so there you are.

Anyway, I like what Krasinski says about improvising. He says that he thinks many improvise either mostly using their head or their heart. If they use their head, the music is academically correct but dull, if they use their heart they may be making good music but it’s more intuitive than informed.

I think what I’m trying to do in my composition efforts right now is prime the pump of my heart since that’s where my ideas come from: inspiration.

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