Wait! Before you flip out, no- I am not throwing in the towel for Tone Deaf comics. That is here to stay. But I am retiring from something, and that is music arranging. Going into this last writing season (marching band writing seasons, for me, lasted January until June of each year) I knew that this was going to be my last. However, I did not realize how badly I wanted it to be over, unfortunately. Kind of harsh, but there is no other way to put it. I dreaded the days when I knew I had to write. It took me longer to finish shows than any other year prior to this, and that is because I procrastinated. I procrastinated because I was done, mentally.
Through the last few years I have felt some degrees of this, and I only assumed that it would happen one year when I knew I wouldn’t write music anymore. It seems like this would have been a touch choice for me, considering I have been writing shows since 2000, and doing it professionally since 2002, but it wasn’t- it is so easy (at least at the moment). Mentally I am exhausted with writing music. Perhaps there is no thrill in it for me anymore (not to say that I have mastered it, just that I don’t have a desire to master it anymore).
A couple of years ago I saw the movie Megamind. It wasn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen, nor would I probably watch it again. But there was a certain part in it that made me sit up. It’s when they discovered that the hero had faked his own death because he was done. He still had the ability to save people, but he just doesn’t want to. That’s how I feel. I feel like I can still write good shows, but I just don’t fell like it.
I equate a lot of this to my new passion- Tone Deaf Comics. I have so much fun doing this and I can’t imagine trading what I do now for writing music. I love music, but I think I want to be on the other end of it now. I want to sit back and enjoy it instead of thinking how that piece might fit into a certain show, etc.
As I’ve mentioned before, this isn’t the first time I’ve felt my waining from arranging (although not to this degree). I’ve had my moments from time to time and especially back in 2005 I felt that a lot of the shows in the drum corps activity just weren’t exciting me. Fortunately, Carolina Crown came out with their Triple Crown show in 2007 and revived my passion and hope for drum corps. That is how a drum corps show should be designed and it really helped motivate me to push myself in my writing for the next few years.
My wife thinks that I’ll miss it. Honestly, I don’t think I will. However, I think by not writing marching band shows, it may open up some time for me to start composing concert band works again (something that I used to love to do- I actually have three published concert band works, for those of you who don’t know). I’m not saying that I’m going to pursue this a profession, but as a side hobby it might be kind of nice to do. I definitely have ideas, but I think I need to let some time go before I bring those to fruition, for fear of burning out on the music thing, again.
Anyway, if you have performed my marching music at any time in the past I thank you for putting your heart in performing it (or putting up with it). If you had contacted me at any point these past 6 months about writing for your band, I am sorry I turned you down (and there were a lot of you…so sorry, again). I just wouldn’t have felt right taking your money knowing that I wasn’t in it for the right reasons.
I’d like to end by pointing this out- my number of clients had started to take a downward turn about 3 years ago and at first I couldn’t tell why. I felt like I was doing my best work. I blamed it on the economy at first (and perhaps a lack of advertising on my part), but then I was honest with myself. Even though I was writing my best stuff I just didn’t have a passion for it as much as I used to, and I think directors were recognizing that. Whatever you do have a passion for it, especially when it comes to kids. They deserve the best you can offer them, and they can see right through you when you aren’t giving it your all. They are skilled in that manner, somehow. Be passionate about what you do and do it for the right reasons. Only then will you get the best results.