I was a theory/composition major in college, which means that I spent a lot of time holed up in my room studying scores and/or writing music. This post is going to focus on the latter.
I have written quite a few works for chamber groups of varying instrumentation. Some of them were piano solos, guitar ensembles, woodwind quintets, string quartets, a duo for flute & clarinet (which got published and put on a festival list), a brass quintet and some others. I started working on a piece for guitar with orchestra when I was close to graduation, but it kind of ran out of steam when I didn’t have a deadline.
Some of these compositions are better than others. Some of them are pretty embarrassing, but some of them are pretty dang cool, in my opinion. I occasionally find myself going back to a recording of my senior composition recital and thinking to myself “wow, I actually wrote that.”
Anyway, I’ve written songs and stuff since graduation, but I haven’t really written anything that I would consider to be serious “art music” or whatever. It’s been almost 8 years since I graduated and I haven’t really done anything with my specific education. Sure, I’m using the fact that I have a music degree to justify my teaching job, but it’s not like I really need to know how to spell a German augmented 6th chord on a daily basis. I have never told any of my students to emphasize the Neapolitan chord in a piece of music. So what did I get that degree for?
I planned to go on to graduate school and become Dr. Hintze, but you make choices in life. Some people get doctorates and some people get married and get jobs. A few people do both, but that wasn’t me. I don’t regret anything, of course. If I had done anything differently, then I would be missing out on more than I care to think about. If Jenny and I had waited a week, a day, an hour longer to start having a baby, then the specific DNA recipe that God put together to create Jackson wouldn’t have been completed and we would have some other kid instead. I know that we would have never known the difference, but it’s strange to think about.
Anyway, that was kind of a weird tangent. I started this post to mention that I started writing something today, but it veered off course a bit.
The new piece is a guitar trio. I’m writing it with students in mind, so I’m trying to give it some specific limitations so that it won’t be too difficult. I’m trying not to write anything too complicated rhythmically, no fast position shifts, etc, but that’s proving to be somewhat difficult to do and still be remotely interesting to listen to. I think that it’s going to be pretty challenging, and it will probably take a few efforts.
I want to get back into the rhythm that I fell into in college where I was always working. I spend too much time doing nothing – screwing around on internet forums or watching stupid TV. I need to get into the habit of making myself a better person.
This post is already much longer than I intended, so I’ll just wrap it up here. This discussion will probably continue.