Computer-Music.com contains articles and product reviews related to making music using computers and creating 3D computer animation in sync with music. Computer-Music.com is also the home page of  Donald S. Griffin, an experienced professional composer, sound effects designer and audio consultant with an emphasis on computer games,  video games and internet music and sound effects. For pricing and contract availability send email to: DGriffin (@) Computer-Music (.) com

Computer-Music.com  contains articles and product reviews related to making music using computers and creating 3D computer animation in sync with music.
Computer-Music.com is also the home page of  Donald S. Griffin, an experienced professional composer, sound effects designer and audio consultant with an emphasis on computer games,  video games and internet music and sound effects. For pricing and contract availability send email to: DGriffin (@) Computer-Music (.) com



 

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Start By Taking "Baby Steps"

No matter how much you've prepared beforehand, there comes a moment when you face a blank screen and feel the pressure to compose some notes. I have a way of dealing with household chores that has proven so successful I use it to overcome these awkward creative moments. Twelve step programs call it "baby steps".

Hereís how the "baby steps" technique works. When I look at a sink full of dirty dishes, I decide that I will clean one of them. After that, if I feel inspired to clean a few more, then I do just that. Usually I end up doing quite a bit, but for this technique to work itís important to believe that you don't have to finish the job at that moment.

As it applies to composing, this means all you really have to do is place a few notes on the screen. If, after giving it the "good old college try", you donít feel inspired to add anything, then take a short break. Nothing kills creativity quicker than too much pressure. On the other hand, nothing drives productivity like a looming deadline. Your most difficult task will probably be striking a balance between the importance of reducing pressure and increasing productivity. I wish I could tell you an easy way to do this. It is precisely because this task is so difficult that I put so much effort into preparing myself mentally before I begin a project.

During all of the preceding steps you should be taking stabs at composing bits and pieces of the tunes in your mind and evaluating these ideas using the various types of research. You might want to have a music pad ready, but I usually avoid this as it tends to put too much pressure on me too early in the project. (I think itís better to face the pressure when you are more prepared.) When an idea comes that is so strong that it demands to be written down, pressure becomes a non-issue. Go with this flow for as long as you possibly can. Ride this wave as long as you possibly can then rest. Donít allow a moment of inspiration to turn into a bad experience. Better to let it bolster your confidence than to run it into the ground.

My sense of composing is that it comes in two stages. The first stage is the magical stage where phrases seem to come out of thin air. One moment there is nothing, and the next moment I hear a tune in my head. This is the part that is the hardest to teach, as well as the hardest to do. It requires you to have faith that the melody will come, even though you know that there is no way to force it to the surface. The second stage is where all of your education and experience comes into play. This is where you begin to make conscious decisions about what to do with the notes you have so far. Although inspiration may be necessary during this second stage, your knowledge and past experience will often give you the answers you need. If none of the steps Iíve described so far get you past that crucial first stage, there are still more techniques to try.

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