Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: making great music personal



composer's corner

deadlines...

March 20, 2007

Dear readers,
just recently I delivered the score for my new composition Desert Wind to LACO. The deadline was March 1.

Deadlines are funny things. One thing seems for sure: a lot less music would be written without them, which possibly leads us to a paradox. Could it be that fear (the fear of missing a deadline) is ultimately responsible for the creation of so many positive things, like new pieces of music?

Speaking for myself, I’ve never been good about writing leisurely and have always needed deadlines to get my juices flowing. Even when I was writing just for the fun of it, without a concrete project involved, I knew that I needed a deadline to really get going – so I set one for myself.

Different composers deal with deadlines in different ways. I know colleagues who wait, and wait, and wait … until the hammer hanging over their head becomes truly monstrous and they finally start their piece with precious little time left. Me, I like to start as early as possible, write really fast and hopefully have a completed draft way before my deadline. Then ideally I’ll leave the piece alone for a while, letting it mature (like wine and cheese …) and then go back and edit it.

Some people say that fear is a great motivator. Is it fun to be afraid? Obviously not. But what’s behind this saying is that fear will do one thing for you: it will keep you from thinking, aka using the left part of your brain, aka public enemy no.1 to composers …

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Next time I’ll come back to one of my favorite subjects (oh no!) ... grooves!

Be well,
GW

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