Brian John is a Student Advisor at berkleemusic.com. He has a Bachelors in Piano Performance from Miami University of Ohio, and a Masters in Composition from Longy School of Music. Brian’s background is primarily in Classical music, but a 4 year stint in a home-grown jam band gives him a unique perspective on both genres. He continues to compose and perform for people across the US.
Structure – the one word that musicians across the world shudder to think about when it comes to their daily schedule. Whether you are working 9-5 and gigging whenever you can, or you are a full-time musician and wearing all the hats you can possibly imagine, establishing a consistent structure to your day seems nigh on impossible.
Recently, I find myself completely absent of any time to write and create music. This is not to say that I don’t have any down time – we all have down time that we use to surf the web, catch up on TV, or have a drink with friends. It has taken a while, but the realization is dawning that the reason I don’t feel like I have time to write is because I have not carved out a consistent time to write.
My schedule is like everyone else’s – I’m over-committed to after-work activities, and I always take on more collaborative projects than I can comfortably handle. Currently I’m singing in a choir, working 4-6 hours a week on a collaboration with an artist, and trying to rehearse for a gig in June where I’m sitting in as a keyboard player. O yah, and I’m planning a wedding as well. Congratulations aside (assuming you’d congratulate me right? anyone? Bueller?) my weekly schedule is anything but predictable.
What finally drove the point home was this simple image at the end of a Kickstarter video:
I realized that I don’t do that – it is not that I CAN’T do that, I simply don’t. I imagine that I am also not alone in this. Carving out a time when you can turn off the internet, turn off the phone, turn off all other obligations and simply focus on the creative process is crucial. This is not something you can just sit down and spend 15 minutes on here and there. This is something that takes time to get into the creative mind-set, to get in touch with all those ideas bouncing around, and to get them down in some tangible form. It is unreasonable to think that you will do your best work when you are more focused on a) you haven’t written in a while and b) you only have ‘x’ amount of time RIGHT NOW to get something done before you have to go do that other thing.
Certainly this is not going to be easy – I would have to wake up early, and my sign would say ‘Do not disturb – writing until 7AM’. Still, what is waking up early versus pursuing what is important? Take a long hard look at your own schedule – when would your ‘Do not disturb’ time be? What is preventing you from taking this time? We always blame outside factors – the job, the tour, the many hats we all wear. However, the blame always falls on us, and our inability to turn off the outside world and focus. This is important – I should do it. You should do it. So go write something already.
New Berkleemusic’s next term begins on June 25th, 2012.
Find out more at berkleemusic.com or contact a Student Advisor:
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