Sunday, April 1, 2012

Moving Forward to Go Backward

Last evening I revisited an idea for a piece that began in January.  Somewhere along the line, this idea had slipped from my radar.  But because I had notated what I had, I was able to resume working with it again.  The piece is for a friend who departed this life in December and if I can follow my muse, I would like to remember him in this way.

After a light breakfast, I read through my notes from Steven Pressfield's Manifesto Do the Work. He states "One rule for first full drafts get them done ASAP ... momentum is everything.  Get to the end as if the devil himself were breathing down your neck and poking you in the butt with a pitchfork."   I decided to test his rule.  Playing around with the musical material I had, I found a direction for the piece to move to next.  Then after playing around with a few other ideas I was stumped.  Usually I might continue by going back to the beginning and working on my playing technique, but today I said no to this; I must get to the END.

I also needed a shower as I had a date with my family later in the morning.  While in the shower, the piece was playing in my head, when suddenly I heard how this might progress.  Back to the guitar, I found that yes, this new idea was working.  With forty minutes to go before I had to leave, I stayed ahead of the "devil" snipping at my back and found an ending.  Everything was notated in time to leave our home and enjoy a great brunch and lots of laughs.

After dinner I then decided to work with learning this piece from the end. I've read a few different musicians thoughts on learning a piece this way, but since I am also 'composing' the works I play, I usually can not do this.  Looking at the score, I began to work backwards. Working in this way I trimmed some notes and tightened up the ending.  I had enough time to investigate a few more bars to see how the transition to the end worked.  I'm not happy with the transition, but now armed with an understanding of the energy of the ending of the piece, I have a better idea of what is needed in the transition.  Perhaps this will be revealed tomorrow.

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