28 October 2006

Finding the Energy to Make Music

I'm not talking about inspiration or motivation; I'm talking about electricity! A cursory glance around my study reveals that of all the tools I rely on as a musician, only the tuba is exclusively human-powered. The rest? A stereo for listening; a desktop computer and printer for music notation, typing and slow internet access; a laptop computer for recording and fast internet access; and an audio interface, microphone and headphones for recording onto the laptop. I use most if not all of these gadgets for multiple hours each day. When I use them all at once, the room is a sea of blinking lights. It looks like the aliens have finally landed. Add to this the fact that I work in this room almost exclusively at night (meaning that there is always a light on), that I waste untold amounts of paper trying to print out my compositions and running into various printer malfunctions and driver conflicts, and that I log more miles in my car than I'd like to admit (about 400-500 each month; you can't carry a tuba on a bike...or at least you shouldn't). The realities of our collective energy usage should be enough to make a conservationist out of anyone, even musicians. We do tend to be left leaning in general. My mom raised me to be environmentally conscious, so much so that even some of my left leaning friends think I'm a little bit obsessive about this. But we also seem to think that what we do is sooooo very important (yes, I'm especially talking to my fellow composers here) that we can suspend our principles for the sake of our work. Or, perhaps we simply have no choice. I wish I had some reliable statistics and a background in electrical engineering. Anyone with such knowledge care to venture a guess as to how I stack up to the average American in terms of energy use?

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