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Topic: Composing = Wrestling Inner Demons ?

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  1. #1

    Composing = Wrestling Inner Demons ?

    I know I'm a bit odd - okay most call me kinda weird - but whenever I sit down and start to compose there's this struggle that starts going on in my head that is really odd. It's like my own psyche starts fighting me, it just starts pouring anxiety into my thoughts and I almost can't think straight, can't relax. That might be a little overstated - but not much! I've heard it said that to write you have to get out of your own way, and boy do I get in my own way, like, aggressively so. Don't know if it's some fear-of-failure psychological thing, or maybe fear-of-success? But the anxiety is really crippling at times. Sometimes I'll stop and just get overwhelmed at the possibilities, and I find myself just sitting there thinking about different ideas, instead of just playing, relaxing and letting the moment create itself. I think it might be partly because I was out of music for quite a few years, and had it in my head all that time and now that I'm finally back with a studio I feel all this pressure to do something with it. But I don't do this for a living, it's just a hobby! There's no reason to get all uptight like this. At this pace I'd go bankrupt if I tried doing this for a living! Like I say, very strange, but it really gets in the way of my productivity. Just wondering does anyone else go through anything like this? If so how do you deal with it? Meditation? Work though it? Beer?

    Maybe it's just because I really kinda suck! Or maybe I'm just a weirdo....

    buzz

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Composing = Wrestling Inner Demons ?

    I believe you're just experiencing the age-old existential struggle. Otherwise known as red light fever. Everybody deals with it. You're not alone.

  3. #3

    Re: Composing = Wrestling Inner Demons ?

    Quote Originally Posted by buzzripper
    I know I'm a bit odd - okay most call me kinda weird - but whenever I sit down and start to compose there's this struggle that starts going on in my head that is really odd. It's like my own psyche starts fighting me, it just starts pouring anxiety into my thoughts and I almost can't think straight, can't relax. That might be a little overstated - but not much! I've heard it said that to write you have to get out of your own way, and boy do I get in my own way, like, aggressively so. Don't know if it's some fear-of-failure psychological thing, or maybe fear-of-success? But the anxiety is really crippling at times. Sometimes I'll stop and just get overwhelmed at the possibilities, and I find myself just sitting there thinking about different ideas, instead of just playing, relaxing and letting the moment create itself. I think it might be partly because I was out of music for quite a few years, and had it in my head all that time and now that I'm finally back with a studio I feel all this pressure to do something with it. But I don't do this for a living, it's just a hobby! There's no reason to get all uptight like this. At this pace I'd go bankrupt if I tried doing this for a living! Like I say, very strange, but it really gets in the way of my productivity. Just wondering does anyone else go through anything like this? If so how do you deal with it? Meditation? Work though it? Beer?

    Maybe it's just because I really kinda suck! Or maybe I'm just a weirdo....

    buzz
    I can relate 100%. My struggle is always, do I make the music *I* want to make, even if noone wants to listen, or do I try and make something that people will say "hey, that sounds cool" to. (This is in a non-commercial sense).

    I'll also have issues with trusting my inner voice and getting bogged down in trying to be more brilliant then <insert artist here>.

  4. #4

    Re: Composing = Wrestling Inner Demons ?

    Focus your thoughts on what it is you're trying to say and make that as good as it can be. I think a lot of us compare ourselves to the past great artists and think we don't measure up. Perhaps we don't but it's a different time and what speaks to people and ourselves is different.

    Self criticism is just the mental accumilation of others criticizing our work. It sits in your mind a festers like a disease and then when you try to do something it all comes rushing back. I always just focus my attention on what it is I'm trying to accomplish and if I keep that firmly in view all doubt goes a way.

    Also, don't kill yourself off all at once. Don't sit down after years of not doing music to write the next great masterpiece. Try writing a good minute or even :30seconds first. Then come back the next day and add a little more or make what you have better.

    The only time I ever really was comfortable writing was when I was just learning how to do things. Then I was just worried about how to do it rather than what people thought about it. You're in a good position in that you really don't have to write for others just yet. So, take off a little bit at a time. Just do a little bit everyday until you're confident enough to do a little more.

    It's okay to take it step by step.

    ars

  5. #5

    Re: Composing = Wrestling Inner Demons ?

    Same here, but O.K....i know this will sound a little funny but there's a way to fight this, what you have to do is before you go to sleep, visualise yourself weaking up real happy to compose and, in time it will come naturaly, so again when you're in your bed, before you go to sleep, just relax and do this exercise, i'm shure you will have result.

    Visualisation is now a commun practice among top athlet, in fact, this is where the medals are being won, scientist are even begining to prove this.
    ''It's all in your head.''

    As for me, i will visualise myself not making spelling mistake,...mumm?.. i wonder if that will be enough? LOL

    Geronimo.

  6. #6

    Re: Composing = Wrestling Inner Demons ?

    I recommend turning off the "judge" for the first "phase" of composition. Forget about writing "great works" and just let your mind "sing".

    You need "raw material" to work with. Get a bunch of that out there into the sequencer or onto the paper first.

    Do that a while. See what your brain comes up with. Something will eventually come out that get's you excited. That will spark more. Let it happen, go with it and have fun.

    THEN it's time to bring in the judge to gently erase the mediocre stuff and polish the exciting stuff.

    I go back and forth like this, almost unconcious of it: improvise, improvise, noodle around...judge and refine....improvise...noodle...judge and refine.

    And I do this at different "levels" as well. Both the top level 10,000-foot view of the entire structure of the song, and well as an 8-bar snippet.

    --- Glenn in Minneapolis

  7. #7

    Re: Composing = Wrestling Inner Demons ?

    Glen, you're wise.

  8. #8

    Re: Composing = Wrestling Inner Demons ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernstinen
    If the listener "gets it," fine. If not, who cares? The bottom line is if YOU like it or not.
    I'd say, if you don't like it who will?
    sfiks

  9. #9

    Re: Composing = Wrestling Inner Demons ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernstinen
    --- Don't think. Follow your muse, your emotions, the force, whatever you want to call it.


    ...The bottom line is if YOU like it or not.

    Ern
    Ern,

    I agree. And it was 30 years before I figured out that my best and most creative music does not come from writing music like I'm solving a crossword puzzle.

    It comes from letting go and "feeling" something and just letting the musical ideas come out unrestrained.

    It's more like humming when you're happy, or something.

    --- Glenn

  10. #10

    Re: Composing = Wrestling Inner Demons ?

    I keep saying this, but this is an awesome forum. There's some good folk on here...

    Thanks for the suggestions. Yeah I think one of my problems is trying to bite off way more than I can chew. And my playing ability is so pathetic that there's like this major impedance mismatch between what my brain can concoct and what I'm capable of getting out onto the keyboard/computer. To some degree it's good to stretch yourself, but I find myself thinking through an entire orchestral arrangement for some section, like I think I'm John Williams or something, and then I put my hands on the keyboard, hear the feeble drivel that comes out, and that's when those nasty voices in my head start...! Add in the learning curve for the tools and it's all over. I bought most of stuff just within the past few months (Cubase SX3, EWQLSO Gold, FM7, Absynth 3), so I'm still overwhelmed just trying to get functional. So yeah I think that's great advice to keep it small and short. But it's that psychological response, it's almost physical, it's like a curiosity to me. I suppose I'll get past it in time. It didn't seem to be this bad years ago, maybe I'm just getting old...

    buzz

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