Onward and Upward

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2012 was full of changes and excitement, challenges and fun. I am looking forward to what 2013 will bring! And of course, a new year brings a lot of talk about new resolutions! I’ve already had friends coming to me with new diets and exercise routines, trying to convince me to join them. I’m almost convinced, slowly swapping my crisps for crackers and cakebars for satsumas. However, having just started university and making huge steps towards achieving my career goals, I thought I’d write those resolutions here.

After the first few months of university many people start to re-evaluate what they are trying to achieve. I also have new interests and am less enthusiastic about old ones. However, I’m still really interested in soundtracks and film music. I still love animations (Wreck It Ralph was such a good movie) and this year I have become even more engrossed in the world of online media, youtube and webseries than I was before. So I still want to enter this field.

I’ve always felt a little nervous about admitting this goal for many reasons. Firstly, I know many people who think that music is an unworthy field to enter into and that I should be aiming to become a doctor, lawyer, engineer or business person. Secondly, sometimes I feel that saying I want to work in film sounds ridiculous. Thirdly, this is a really hard field to enter and telling people my dream will make it even harder when I fail. But I shouldn’t be so ashamed of my dream, so hopefully this year I will become more comfortable with what I want to do.

At university I am learning about many varied subjects in a broad sort of way. Each subject will be useful in achieving my goal. However, it will not be useful if all I do is go to classes, complete assignments and do exams. Sure, I’ll earn my degree, but I don’t think I will have the skills to achieve my goal unless I practice using the skills in my own projects, and not just school projects.

Therefore, this year my new year’s resolution is to write 13 not-for-an-assignment compositions in 2013. It’s a small step, but I think it will be great practice and help me to learn more on my own. So look out for more from me on my youtube channel!

I think that the best way to plan my resolutions is to have a specific goal. So I’ve said I want to complete a specific number of non-assignment compositions by the end of the year, rather than “write more compositions”. I think this makes it easier to follow-through than a vague plan.

What do you think? Do you prefer specific resolutions to vague ones? Or do you find it more liberating to have a broader goal? What are your resolutions for 2013?

Paying for Music

And so the ongoing debate continues. Does piracy matter? Should we pay for music when it is so easily available for free? I’m not sure.

I’ve heard many arguments, and am particularly interested in what Alex Day has to say. He is proud about not having a label, but yet being able to sell his music. As a freelance musician, you’d think he would prefer that people BUY his music. However, in this article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-varrati/independent-musician-join_b_1699475.html) he says something quite different. He says that there are three types of people:

  1. People who will pay for your music because they want to support you.
  2. People who like your music, but are unsure if they want it permanently. They won’t pay for your music; instead they’ll listen to it online for free. If there were no free options for your music, they STILL wouldn’t pay for it. However, allowing them to listen to the music for free lets them ‘test’ the song and if they still like it in a few months they may buy it.
  3. People who can’t afford to, or don’t care enough to buy your music. They will never buy your music. Without free access to your music, they still won’t buy it.

Additionally, by allowing people to listen to your music for free, you create a wider audience. This allows more people of type 1 and 2 to come in contact with your music, which ensures more sales.

HOWEVER – today it was cold outside and I decided to treat myself to a warm brownie from the coffee shop. This brownie was about 7cm x 5cm x 2cm and was cold and hard. It cost me £1.75. While eating, it struck me that this was a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a brownie (compared to its cost to make), particularly since it was cold and I really wanted to warm me up from the weather outside. Then I remembered something I read that said, ‘you’re willing to spend money on a cup of coffee, but not music?’ Why was I willing to spend so much money on a brownie, but not on music? The brownie only lasts 10 minutes, but music can be listened to many times. What was I saying? That the music I love is worth less than a cold, hard brownie? And I am a musician?

It’s really something to think about.