The obligatory new year post

The obligatory new year post

This year, I avoided writing a reflective post about 2012, or a forward looking one about 2013. Much happened in 2012, and lots will happen in 2013!

Instead I want to instead share a few quotes with you. None are specifically musical, but are all relevant to all creative people, and refer to both our mindset and practice – two elements that are relevant to our day to day work, but are often neglected.

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
Lao Tzu

This can be applied to composers and their music too. Let this be the year you stop worrying and comparing, and instead let your music – or art – flow free.

I think a key part of this is to stop labelling and stop judging in a negative way. This applies to our own art and that of others. Constructive criticism is important, but we have to remember that, although we will have artistic preferences, they don’t invalidate any other type of art. Being more accepting is a good aim to have throughout life, but one that is particularly relevant in art. Furthermore, whilst trying to be more accepting we should bear in mind that in every experience there is something for us to learn – and something that will feed back into our own subconscious, and therefore into our own artistic practices, whether consciously or not. This goes for pieces we hate as well as ones we love.

Everybody’s a work in progress.
Renee Fleming

The quote says it all! Every day we change a little, and the same can be said of our art. Although a completed piece may not be called a work in progress, it is still a snapshot of our development – our “work in progress”. If we tried to complete the same piece with the same aims, desires or brief in a year’s time, the result would not be the same as this version. Neither version would necessarily be better than the other, but they just reflect a different moment in our artistic lives.

This ties in very nicely with the final point I want to make, about perfection.

It is absurd to look for perfection.
Camille Pissarro

I don’t think there is such a thing as perfection in art. I think it is, however, an ideal people strive for which can end up stifling their creativity, rather than helping them achieve their aims. It’s definitely something I’ve been guilty of in the past, and something I know a lot of my peers are guilty of.

May the year ahead be happy, fun and creative for you all. I’m looking forward to sharing lots of music and research with you as it progresses!

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