Composers Workshop Roundup

Posted by: Dave Douglas on February 12, 2014 @ 12:10 pm
Filed under: Workshop

Last Saturday and Sunday 25 people attended my Composers Workshop in Brooklyn. First of all, it is inspiring that so many folks made the sincere effort to come out and share, as one participant put it, “the agony of composition.”

Said one participant, "It was great to get outta my own little composing space (head) and have to work so fearlessly on something to share."

Said one participant, “It was great to get outta my own little composing space (head) and have to work so fearlessly on something to share.”

It takes a lot of guts to write and share one’s work. Especially in such a diverse group, with so many high level participants of widely differing backgrounds.

My job, and one of the reasons I love these workshops, is to guide a discussion about what it is we want to write, and how to go about finding it. I can’t tell anyone to work the way I work, and I can’t tell anyone how their lives have led them to their current work. What we work on is guiding ourselves to a place where we can honestly generate some basic musical material, and take steps to hone it, sharpen it, and turn it into a piece of music we can really call our own and be excited about.

Sometimes that means temporarily stepping out of our composer head. By that I mean that once you have written something, there are times that the best thing you can do is simply forget you are the composer and look at it like a disinterested performer. Like if you were an architect suddenly faced with brick and mortar. Make it real.

Everyone wrote and shared so intimately, everyone played, and we got well along the way with many new works. It was a true pleasure and privilege to witness this process up close. I look forward to more opportunities for these workshops in the future.

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