21 November 2009


One thing I plan to do more of on this blog as time goes on is share recordings and scores of my compositions. It seems to be de rigeur on blogs such as this one, whether that's because bloggers think people need to be entertained to remain engaged, or whether they think it legitimizes them as commentators to be able to demonstrate that they can do more than merely blow smoke. I have a few things "in the can" so to speak at this very moment, but I'm holding on to them until Blog Month in concluded. They're things that I want people to notice, which means that burying them in the middle of this uncharacteristic flurry of activity isn't the smartest thing to do.

I remember how exciting it was when advances in technology converged with advances in my own financial capabilities to the point where I was able to purchase a serviceable computer and some high end notation software for the first time. I stumbled on sibeliusmusic.com (then called something else), which was at that time brand spankin' new, and silly as it sounds to say it now, it was one of the most exciting times I've had as a composer. Because the site (and the very concept, I think) were so new, there were very few users, and yet, those who did use it knew what they'd stumbled on. That small community of strangers thoughtfully listened to and reviewed each other's works in a way that seldom happens in person, and it was tremendously exciting to see what people came up with next, as well as to post your latest opus and see if anyone liked it. What made all of this possible was that the total quantity of material on the site was of an eminently manageable size, and while one could certainly argue that the value in that was limited because the diversity of perspectives was limited, the truth is that in short order, the quantity became unmanageable, the community fell apart, no one knew which way was up, and pretty soon, I came to miss the days when the world seemed smaller. It simply became impossible to keep up with everything that went up on that site, which I now realize, of course, was just a microcosm for the entire internet in that same regard. I still have my page, but I haven't sold a score or had a review in several years, nor have I done either of those things for another user for the same length of time.

I also remember how anguished my mom was at the time (I was 18 and still living at home). She was convinced that someone was going to steal my compositions and take credit for them. I tried to tell her that it was not worth doing that because there was nothing to be accomplished in the way of selling them or using them to promote oneself, since I was already doing those things and failing miserably. That did not alleviate her worries, for whatever reason. To this day, I'm not aware of anyone plagiarizing any of the work that I've made available on the internet, nor have I read any stories about this happening to others. Many many musicians, composers and performers alike, make work available for free through a variety of outlets, and the prevailing wisdom seems to be that this is not only safe, but downright necessary in the current climate. Sure, I'd like to catch a career break somewhere along the line, but my primary reason for putting things out there in this way is simply to see if anyone cares to notice, and hopefully to reach someone (even just one person) who gets a kick out of the music. Considering the amount of smoke blown 'round these parts, it also can't hurt to remind readers that I'm a musician, too, not just an idle observer.

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