Making Music for Assignments


Next week I will submit a short piece of music for one of my assignments. This will be the first assignment of this type this year.

I’ve actually found this assignment incredibly challenging, despite the fact that what the grading criteria is asking of me isn’t really that difficult.

The piece started really well. I had spent a few weeks developing some of the skills I knew I would be drawing upon and was full of ideas of what sounds I wanted to use and in what way. Very quickly I had the skeleton of a piece that had a good sound and was compositionally interesting.

I was satisfied that I had not only vastly improved upon my skills and approach from previous work, but that I had also made good use of the techniques we were being asked to focus on for this assignment.

However, much of the last 48 hours or so has been spent re-moulding and restructuring the piece to meet the exact details of the grading criteria. It’s been a challenging process and one that’s left me feeling slightly disheartened.

In reflection, part of me feeling this way may be due to the fact that the restructuring of my piece is happening as part of a much bigger ‘finishing’ process. The jamming of ideas and producing of sounds is now over and in its place is the purely technical process of tethering straying sounds and checking boxes.

This finishing process is generally difficult in itself but is made harder when it becomes apparent that core musical and compositional ideas within the piece still need altering for the piece to be finished.

The big lesson I have learnt here though is that when producing and creating to a brief, it is important to work within the constraints of the brief from the very beginning.

It was easy for me to get carried away, telling myself that I could easily adjust the piece to meet the brief at the end of the process but I now think this was a mistake.

Despite these difficulties, the piece is approaching being complete and I am still very pleased with what I have created. I will post a link to sometime next week when I have uploaded the finished piece.


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