SCP #44: The Spine Of Time

I concluded yesterday's blog post by saying that I would let interest and enjoyment be my guide, and I think that's something that deserves a little exploration.  It's not quite as simple as just doing what you are enjoying, especially if you want to develop your skills at something.  What is good for you may not necessarily be enjoyable, and it is easy to become bored or to feel like your practice is stagnating if you don't work outside of your comfort zone every now and then.

There is a balance that must be struck between the fun stuff and the challenging stuff, and it is often difficult to find.  Studying music at a high level is largely about learning how to learn: being able to break a problem down into manageable parts, and finding for yourself the enjoyment in each small part of that problem until you have the whole thing solved.  

One key to finding that enjoyment, for me at least, is being able to see how each step is contributing to achieving your final goal.  One of my old guitar teachers pointed out in a lesson that if I hadn't practiced something he asked me to do it was probably because I couldn't see the point in it, and he was absolutely right.  It wasn't that the material was too difficult, or too boring, it was that I hadn't made the connection between the material and my end goal.  Sometimes you need to sit down and figure out the connection, but at other times there might not actually be one.  There have been many points in my musical development where my practice and goals have been mis-aligned, and at those times sitting down to do the work required has been incredibly difficult.  In contrast, at times when my practice and goals are very well aligned the work might be difficult, but it is still enjoyable and satisfying.

So on to yesterday's piece.  I continued with reading as a theme, and did most of my composition work lyrically rather than musically.  I made a mind map for the word READ, and then paired some of the words from that mind map to give me three prompts: "tea-stained newspaper", "spine of a book" and "lacy skin".  I wrote for two minutes on each of these ideas, and then worked them into lyrics.  Each of the three prompts ended up as its own verse, but quite abstracted from the initial idea.  The chords come directly from yesterday's melody, simply taking the notes and stacking them into two triads.