composition tip

Composition Tip #26: Conduct!

Learn to conduct. At some point you will be called upon to conduct your music. Be ready for that day. For composers, conducting is like playing piano – a very useful skill to have to support what you do as a composer.

A conductor silhouette

You can also hasten the day by writing for groups that might be glad to perform your music and have you conduct it: Bands. Orchestra. Choirs. Brass choirs. Horn choirs.

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Composition Tip #17: Improvise!

Improv Games Book CoverImprovisation is where music is born, and it behooves us as composers to do a lot of it.

Learn to improvise on both a melodic and a percussion instrument. Piano is an ideal place to start for any composer, since you can do melody, bass, harmony, and rhythm. But any instrument is good, and the more, the merrier.

Jazz is great, but remember, improv doesn’t have to be jazz; you can improvise music in all kinds of styles (march, dirge, lullabye, fanfare, children’s song, etc.).

Improvise with other people! You will harvest great inspiration (and get to steal a lot of ideas) if you improvise with others.

(Blatant plug alert). If you don’t improvise much but would like to, you might check out 1) my improv web site (Improv Insights) and 2) one or more of my classical improv books:

Improvisation Games for Classical Musicians (354 p.)

Improvised Chamber Music

Improv Duets

Improv Games for One Player

(all published by GIA)

Composition Tip #13: New Composers: Chum!

Boy fishing from pier

If you get a piece that works, send it to everyone you know who might possibly be interested.

Give your stuff away by the boatload at first.

Get known, build up some demand before you start charging huge amounts for your stuff.

Fishermen call this “chum”.

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