“Everyday I Write the Book”

Reader’s Digest has a feature, Only In America, which highlights “Ideas, trends and interesting bits from all over” – all over America, I presume. October’s edition of this feature included two very interesting storiettes. The first of these mentioned David Allen and GTD, clutter busting, and feng shui.

The fruit of the meme, however, was a brief about Jacob Berendes, who runs a small record label in Worcester, Mass. A friend of his had recorded one blues song a day for an entire year and it inspiried him to find an everyday activity. The Macguffin here is that he went for the “original stuffed toy a day” idea. His toys are quite interesting but the true fruit is, oddly enough, in the root of this idea.

Since the progress of my goals is evident but slow, I am inspired to squeeze this idea into my schedule. I don’t think that ‘writing a song a day’ is an achievable goal, so it doesn’t pass the SMART test. It’d be much more realistic for me to come up with a progression a day, or a melody line a day. For now, I’m going to brew on this and leave the loop open for now.

A Productive Tuesday Afternoon

Today, I put in some massive effort towards 2 of my ‘passion intersections.’ A group of the teenagers I lead at church are volunteering to help repair the home of an elderly woman and there’s a good amount of organization and paperwork that need to be done in the next few days to make this all happen. I made some headway on that and then began planning some other activities we’ll be doing in the next few weeks.

In the midst of this organizational work, I got to do some composition. It’s my responsibility to put the music together for October 16th’s liturgy, and in true Bryan style I’ve already written the Psalm Antiphon with a good start on the verses and plan on writing a song for the entrance. *

I also mentioned to one of my neighbors that had expressed prior interest in music lessons that I’d be teaching. I may have found my first student, but all is yet to be seen.

*I had an idea to put up sort of an open-source liturgical music planning guide to allow musicians to provide ideas and advice for song selections based on the theme of the liturgy for a specific day. This could also probably bleed over into other worship settings that aren’t based on specific cyclical liturgies but on a theme or set of scripture readings. I think a wikipedia-like implementation of this could really work if enough musicians shared their experiences. I know of several resources that provide this information on a subscription basis, but none are free, and none are as accessible as this would be.

Opportunities Answer Commitment

There seems to be a phenomenal law of nature that if you commit to something properly, opportunity will find you. Maybe it’s God rewarding faith. Maybe it’s a result of increased vigilance for these opportunities. I’ll call it a combination of the two.

I have goals. That’s an awesome thing to say. When I didn’t have goals, where was I going? It’s been a while since I’ve had no goals, but the new meaning that my goals carry will hopefully lead me to success.*

Friday I announced two steps I was taking to stop lying to myself and move towards a career in music (sending a song in for publication consideration and recording a new take on an old song to prepare a stage act). Yesterday I was given a chance to lead the group at church for a second time, which will give me an excellent opportunity to compose a new piece for further publication.

I’m also telling as many people about the new plan as possible without getting fired. I’ll need people at shows, students in classes, my stuff rocking ear buds and a network of support. Having the backing of my friends is crucial.

I’ll take support any way I can get it. Thanks to everyone who has shown me a tremendous amount of that support and feedback!

* I had it out a discussion between two reasonable adults today about whether or not Microsoft was a success. I won’t explain my side here because it’s not important, but my counterpart was explaining that they were a success purely based on their net worth. Sure, money is a crucial resource for business and civilization but I don’t think we can even begin to describe success via money. If I believed otherwise, I certainly wouldn’t be praying that a career in music would come my way.

2 First Steps to Music

Though putting my entire energy, heart and soul into my passion from the beginning, at this stage in my life it would be a poor choice. I am intent, however, on achieving my goals through persistence and passionate work. Today, I’ve put two things into motion to start making things move for my new vocation.

  1. I started packaging a kit to have a liturgical piece of mine published. I have several of these that are worthy of publication, but most of them aren’t in publisher-ready form. I’ve got one based on Psalm 67 that just needs a rough recording and it will be sent to WLP for review. This is just the first of many.
  2. I started recording a song this afternoon. Its composition and arrangement were completely finished for my last band, but we never got to perform it. This is an unfortunate situation because it’s a really catchy song. I’m proud to announce that it will debut here on Space-age Wasteland. This, however, will develop into a solo performance project for me to carry around town.

The plan is to spend my spare time working on this sort of thing. I’ll keep you updated each step of the way. I’m excited.

Dropkick those Obstacles (My First 5 to 1)

…and the meme multiplies: Curt writes this yesterday. He’s obviously sneaking into my brain and doing his best to talk me into doing what I know I should. I’ll try his exercise even (think of 5 possibilities to get around each obstacle): First Obstacle: No one is going to pay me to play, write, teach, or record music.
Five Possibilities to overcome (This ought to be a real treat):

  • I could spread my time capital among all aspects to diversify my investment, capitalizing on playing out in venues that pay well, writing lots of quality music for publication and reuse, teaching lessons and making commissioned recordings
  • I could look for an institution that would provide a salary for me to provide their musical needs (school, church… and those are the only two I can think of right now).
  • I could seek employment at a music store. This strays from my passion and puts me into sales a bit, but I have sales experience.
  • I can focus on a business idea I have which is almost to form a sort of ‘school of rock’ which (in short) will be a zen-and-the-art-of-modern-ensemble to apply what I’ve learned from many years in large organized ensembles to my experience with small modern ensembles. Think of it as band class for rock.
  • I can work freelance for a more flexible schedule that gives me more time to pursue the music. This is sort of the middle ground.

That was easier than I thought, thanks Curt. I think I’ll do this for every obstacle I can think of. That’s all for now.

For Now… It’s Music

If you haven’t already concluded this from the last two weeks of posting, my day job is draining the life out of me. From comments here, discussions outside of the blogosphere and my own personal reflections I have decided that a music career is what will fulfill me on every level. It’s my passion.

I think, commercially, it will have to be a combination of teaching, performing, composing, and recording but nothing about any of those four facets scares me. I also can’t promise when I’ll have completed enough research and work to move enough “Bryan Stock” into this project to call it a career. I am committing to take steps, however, and substantial steps. It’s time to do more than write about it. It’s an official goal now.