The sad truth about being a composer. (BIG RANT!)

2008-03-30 03:58:48 by NickPerrin
Updated

[NOTE: THIS RANT HAS BEEN EDITED FROM ITS ORIGINAL FORM]

Okay, music composers of Newgrounds and others from around the world. Want me to lay the truth on you right away?

-You suck.-

That's right. You read that correctly. You suck, and chances are good that not only do you suck, but you probably suck a lot. You especially suck a lot more than you think you do.

But hey, don't feel bad - or at least, don't feel singled out. I suck too. Even every day I get better, I suck more. Every time I think I'm good, the facts hit me like a brick wall and it's clear that I still suck.

Sucking is an epidemic, but it's not new, nor is it obvious. But it has a cure.

I think a lot of people suck at composition but the person I most focus on in that department is myself. Every time I, or you, think you're good, someone younger or who has invested less time will kick the shit out of us and we won't understand how it happened. Every time we want to believe we've achieved something in our composition, we've gotten somewhere, face it - you and I probably still suck.
(There are a few guys on here who I think don't suck, but if you asked them, I'm sure they'd feel they do, even if only at times. There are people who think I don't suck, but I'd tell them they're wrong.)

Now - by telling you that you suck, I don't mean that you should go cry and cut your wrists. In fact I don't mean it as something to get you down AT ALL. What I'm saying is that with the internet, you're going to discover another truth:

-You are not special for being able to compose music.-

Ouch, right? Two painful truths in one blog entry. But allow me to explain.

If you want to start a band, be a film composer, be a studio musician or concert performer, you're probably doing something about it. People around you are noticing, and your friends and other people you know might even be impressed. Maybe even really impressed. If you want to GET somewhere, if you want to achieve a certain skill level in your craft, you have to start knowing and believing that you are not cool or amazing just for being able to put together a song here and there.

What you should know and believe is that you are cool and amazing for composing COOL and AMAZING music. Especially in the commercial sphere where there are too many musicians vying for commercial success for you to simply be able to compose "nicely".

The more and more that I do this, the more I hear composers that are just like you, out there with hopes for perfection of their craft but without direction. Film composition - an elitist compositional career, right? Very little competition? You could NOT be more wrong. Modern technology has turned every little Jimmy with a piano keyboard into an orchestrator.

And speaking of the general public - I was talking to a guy last night who didn't know what a "key" was in a musical sense. You must realize that the general public is so musically unaware that almost no matter what you compose, if it has a tune and can be listened to on an iPod, then someone somewhere is going to be impressed with your stack of aural shit.

The next person we'll find is musically unaware is ourselves. Maybe you were one of those Mozarts, those Beethovens, who started Music early and continued with it baffling everyone in your grade 5 classes at school playing Grade 10 piano pieces. But chances are, especially if you're here on NG, that you weren't. Thus, our understanding of music - wait for it - sucks. (And I'm jealous of you young-starters.)

To be honest, even being an amazing performer with massive theory knowledge says nothing about your ability to compose - I personally know people whose theory and technical knowledge as well as their performance ability greatly outstrips my own, yet these people have never written a single song, and some can't even IMAGINE doing so. Moving on...

If we want to become truly good at composing music, it's not enough to just keep composing. Among many other things, the first step is to IGNORE praise that doesn't come from someone who is blatantly and obviously better than you.

Unless you're just doing music as a casual activity or hobby, I want you to ignore all those rave reviews your shitty new song is getting and pay attention to the critical ones, and the ones that come from composers who can and have already musically shit on you. Hell, I'm sorry to say but apart from replying to reviews that warranted replying, I've tried to ignore virtually every review on my pieces that hasn't come from someone like Winterwind, for example, who is obviously more skilled than me. If I release a song, then it's because I personally think it's good enough, so the reviews telling me it's good aren't going to do anything more than further that thought until it becomes delusion.

Okay, so maybe you shouldn't totally ignore it all. But if we pay too much attention to it, we're going to feed our egos until they're too fat to get out the front door in the morning.

Before I start getting even more ridiculously prescriptive, let's get back to the main topic.

All that you need to remember from this unnecessarily long rant is this:

Our ability to compose music is a common talent shared by many, and our skill in composition pales in comparison to many of those who share that talent. While your friends or your girlfriends may call us things like "Genius" (which is absolutely fucking ludicrous), and it might make us feel all good and cool and skilled as a composer, we still have MILES AND MILES AND MILES TO GO before we're actually legitimately good.

And there are many who are good. Very many.

Here's where the hopefulness kicks in, though - if we "Suck", we don't have to forever. But we're going to have to do something about it, and make a conscious effort.

Nowhere here in this rant do I mean to imply futility towards ANY of our musical goals - in fact, I encourage quite the opposite, no matter how little a chance we think we have of accomplishing those goals, they can be pursued and completed.

We've all fallen victim to this self-appreciation that often comes as a composer, it's called ego and everyone gets it. Ego isn't always the problem though, it's often the general music awareness.

If the worth of a thing can be established by comparing it against others, then it's no wonder we all continue to compose shit and think it doesn't suck. People tell you how good you are, yet they are comparing your music to their own horribly childish perceptions of it.

You DO NOT have an ego problem. You hear me? Well, most of you, anyway, don't have ego problems. The real problem, as stated above, stems from the average non-composing public who FEEDS our egos because they actually think our music is good. Opinions from the musically unaware, the sonically uneducated, are nothing more than impressions.

There is hope, of course - there are those in the professional realm who should be able to sit down and say "I finally don't suck." And for a great deal of them, they'd be right (there are those who have had commercial success but are musically worse than even a select few here on Newgrounds, who are the ones who should really be raking in that cash). But we're not them, not yet anyway.

So face it, Newgrounds Audio Portal composers - you probably all suck. And so do I. Welcome to the club. Let's do something about it, eh? We can't suck forever. I know we can't suck forever because we are going to actually do something about it, not just because our "parents tell me I'm going to be famous, and my girlfriend calls me a real genius and says I'm going to go far in music!"

I don't mean this rant to be negative, despite the ridiculous negativity that permeates it. :D We do and always will, have space to improve. So work on it and make ourselves amazing as composers. This is the best thing - it's NEVER too late to become amazing. Dedicate ourselves to being better through whatever we can, and we will most definitely reach a point where problems with our work are hard to find, or rather, no one really cares to try and find them because they enjoy the music so much.

When I say "you suck" or "I suck," it's not really a personal thing. Even if you are very good, the problem is that there are so many people out there who are just as good as you. If the same quality of product was available in 50 different brands at your grocery store, would it really matter which one you chose?

So go be amazing, just know that we're probably not there yet and we probably won't be for a long time. Not the end of the world, and hey, anytime we're feeling down we can let our egos have just a LITTLE snack from people you know who hear your music. And once we stop sucking, well, we can still be improving even from there. And at least we'll probably be getting paid. :D

---NickPerrin

The sad truth about being a composer. (BIG RANT!)


Comments

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JurianJurian

2008-03-30 04:22:26

EMO???

NickPerrin responds:

Haha yeah I messed up with the rant and failed to show the positivity underneath it all. So it will be fixed.


BuoyBuoy

2008-03-30 05:08:51

meh.

no fun.


Suspended-3rd-ChordSuspended-3rd-Chord

2008-03-30 05:26:48

wow, your music is extremely good tho! I had to check it out. well i guess that means nothing coming from me anyway right :P that is mostly sad but true advice. Well, I just make music for fun as I would think most people do here without having any true ambitions of making it big, like you explained. I dont think of myself as a "horrible musician" yet at the same time I don't think I'm good.

I have a question on your criteria on what classifies as not sucking tho- I'm guessing if you don't make it big then you suck? and you have to a good theoretical knowledge as well so you dont end up in the souljaboy cluster?

(Updated ) NickPerrin responds:

Well, the rant is a bit excessive and is me at my most intense. But as of the time of this reply here, I've edited the rant to be closer to my originally intended message.

I don't actually ignore everything, however good comments that don't have much to support them are usually not constructive, they are just very tempting, make you want to rest on your laurels a little bit sometimes. But I don't want to downplay the value of feedback at all, no matter who it comes from! So, thank you!

As fo what classifies not sucking - It's actually pretty ambiguous. Making it big does not mean anything about your music, as I'm sure you'll agree there has been a lot of garbage that sells a lot, and also, great music like Debussy's works were frowned upon back in his time because of their experimental nature, but today they are hailed as masterful composition.

Good theoretical knowledge is nice but it also isn't a defining factor - Ever heard of Danny Elfman, film composer? He's done movies like Spiderman, the original Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and a whole bunch of others and is continuing to do so. Apparently, he never had any formal music training, and he still rocks.

So yeah... not sucking is just having music that you, for some reason or another, absolutely love, whether for technical reasons or intangible reasons! It's impossible to describe, for me at least. Nostalgia doesn't count, of course, because it's possible to love a crappy song just because it was played at some event in your past you want to remember. That's just a function of memory, and it doesn't make the song good. It's the same thing as if a great memory were tied to a specific smell - would you call that smell "art"? (Probably not, but hey, who knows, haha)

For this totally ambiguous reason, I love songs from certain metal bands, songs from classical composers, songs from soul and funk bands, and atmospheric music. Even ambient sound can have similar effects that some music achieves.

Anyway, the rant has been updated to show that while we probably all suck now, we are constantly improving and if we make a conscious effort, we can become truly amazing!

Keep up the composing, and good luck to you!


jnry3jnry3

2008-03-30 05:58:18

I like your essay. Yes, we all suck, true.

That's why we keep on trying. We keep on striving to improve ourselves. Music is an art and science, both of which require talent and skill.

As far as talent goes, well, there are really the incredibly talented people. Geniuses, in simple terms. They just learn faster, write faster, and evolve faster than the rest of us.

The question "is this meant for me?" is a killer question. In fact, that question made me stop writing songs for 4 years. It just occurred to me a year ago that the naturally talented bunch just keeps on writing. The difference is that we fuck up more than they do.

I've written more than a hundred songs, of which 70% go to the trash bin anyway, or the recycling bin. I keep on trying, though. I'm still writing. I still desire to make it to mainstream radio. I keep on going EVEN IF SOME PEOPLE TELL ME THAT I SUCK ANYWAY.

As in anything, praise and condemnation is subjective. In both ways, these keep me going. Praise gives me a moral boost, and every "you suck" comment (which hopefully have comments as what to improve) is a challenge to make myself better.

A composition is a composition as a painting is a painting. I find Picasso weird, and I think the Beatles and Led Zeppelin are still cool. Sometimes, I wrote stuff that I think sucked, but people found them to be great.

Good is subjective, and is quantified by the effect it has on another person. I personally find Kanye West good. Some think he shouldn't be writing music at all. I have condemned so many songs on the radio, but some people actually find it cool. It's called target audience.

It's funny seeing people praise themselves despite the fact that we think they suck. It's equally funny having other people think we suck, too. Ego actually counts... it's what keeps us going. Everytime we write something new, it gives a feeling of "eureka" or "cool!", and it's fuel to a fire. We become proud.

Here's where humility kicks in. A day after, we should think that what we did the day before sucked. From here, we analyze: what would make it better? It should never end in one, two, a hundred takes. We just need to get getting better and better. Hear every praise and rant; they all count.

I wouldn't do that to my girl. She rarely praises me, by the way. When she does, I'd say "thank you" and be happy that she appreciated what I did. I have at least one fan in the world. Don't throw her away; she just wants you to know that she's behind you. She may be ignorant to the things (or songs) that you deem greater, but if you look closer into it, she just doesn't want you to give up.

To the proud and egotistic, let them be. They will learn the hard way if they close their minds into being their own personal genius.

As to you, my good sir, I think you still have a long way to go. Same road as where I am.

Thank you for your rant, by the way. And yeah, I know I suck. I'm just stubborn enough to keep on going.

I've had praises from local songwriting legends (they spent time without my consent in improving the mixing of my songs a few years back), and had discounts from studios because I was on a budget. These felt great -- they told me indirectly to keep on going. It would kill my growth, though, if I just hung that in my head as my pinnacle.

Here's an ending thought: the talented have it easy. It's just like a history quiz (I suck at memorizing, but I'm good at math, hehe), we just have to work harder to get a better score.

NickPerrin responds:

Hey man, thanks for the response. You communicated a lot of my own thoughts better than I could have, so THANKS for that!


KatanamanKatanaman

2008-03-30 09:57:27

First of all, don't bother to check out my music as a sign of credibility. I've recently begun uploading things I did when I was starting out. I have no use for it so I dump it all on the internet. If you think it sucks worse than your music, yes it does. Recent, more accomplished works, I'm keeping them off the internet.

On to my opinions:

Impressions from the ignorant masses matter a lot. They only like what's familiar. If they like your music, that means you know music, but you're more of a craftsman than an artist. If they don't like it, you're either a horrible craftsman or a real artist.
Praise from craftsmen in training is the kind that matters less. They praise work that's more accomplished than theirs, but only to a certain extent. If you're miles ahead of them, they won't get it. There's nothing they can point to and say "hey, I know what he's doing here, and he does it better than me" so they don't get impressed. They are physically incapable of identifying the strengths of such a song and can only identify flaws (which are often not flaws at all).
Praise from accomplished composers has a lot of worth. They are people who dedicate themselves to music and they are able to give well informed input. But there are many kinds of composers/producers(I refuse to call most of the people in NG composers). A classically educated composer, with a superior understanding of music theory, will tend to pay too much attention to little details that really don't matter. The kind of people who will freak out if you write a baritone role with a high C in it. Hey, if there's a baritone out there who can sing a high C, why not? A less rigid, more open minded composer will probably give you the best input, but he will try to push his personal preference on you. A good producer will listen to sound design and production values and ignore the musical content, unless the musical content sucks, in which case he'll point it out gladly.

So in your case, there's no way to win when it comes to input.
There are only two ways to approach musical composition, the way I see it. One, it's forgetting integrity entirely and surrender yourself to the input of the ignorant masses. They know best. If they perceive that it's good, and are too ignorant to understand why, then it's good. It's ultimately the best kind of input if you're input oriented. The other way to go is to disregard input entirely and make music for yourself. In that case, you write music that you feel is great, and if the others don't agree, well they're wrong. Music is the art of sound, not the art of music theory. There's no right and wrong way to do it. As long as you know what you're doing and you know it's good.

In your case, you're fucked. You feel you suck. And you disregard input, especially that which matters most (the ignorant masses). So what are you doing writing music?

I listened to a song of yours. Orion Belt. You know music theory. You have considerable talent. You don't suck.
Your views, however, seem messed up to me. Your music is very conventional. If you don't care what ignorant people tell you, if you disregard their praise, you're being an asshole. Your music is specifically geared towards them.
Maybe you're transitioning from craftsman to artist. If that's the case, good luck, but do know you won't go far with that "I suck" attitude.
Scott Walker composed beautiful, conventional music in the 60s. Now, he's gone into another direction and everybody hates his work. But he doesn't care. He knows what he's doing. He's transcended conventions.
If you are indeed transitioning from craftsman to artist, you still need to mature. You sound too hung up on the technicalities of your craft to really think beyond music theory.

For now, while you're not yet an artistic composer, be thankful for the praise of the ignorant. They're the ones who keep you on the right track.

(Updated ) NickPerrin responds:

Hey man, excellent response.

Yeah I seem to have failed in this rant to show what I really meant, that is, we must keep on improving and improving. I don't mean to be a downer.
I also don't put myself down that hard, the rant is just a little excessive. In fact I'm constantly, every day, reaffirming my belief that I will be excellent and go far with my music. But I'm also doing specific things to make sure that happens. So I actually mean to be positive in this rant, but I failed to communicate it, so I gotta go fix the rant now.

I also don't want anyone to take the last few lines seriously haha..... Which is why I have deleted them. I think I wrote the rant at like 3AM, which can make for some retarded writing!

I'm going to go fix that rant.

But you do have a strong point with what you said here: "You sound too hung up on the technicalities of your craft to really think beyond music theory."

Indeed, you'd probably be right. This is probably because I actually don't really know any music theory. In fact I know barely anything. I know what a lot of things are named and where they come from but when it comes to the applicable parts of theory in composition, I'm pretty unaware. I'm going to be studying music theory and composition next year, but that will basically be my first year actually doing so.

But yeah, you're still right, I think, maybe I am too hung up on those technicalities...


Bad-Man-IncorporatedBad-Man-Incorporated

2008-03-30 22:09:50

"Opinions from the uneducated are nothing more than impressions."

Isn't that why you make music? To entertain those "uneducated" ones, who could never do what you do ...or close to it...?

Thats where I find the gratification, is getting the "wow" from people who merely listen to music, for what it is worth. I also, just like to sit back and hear the music, rather than listening for what could be improved etc etc.. It makes enjoying music, more work. And I'm a lazy ass motherfucker. hahaha.

Don't get me wrong, its always in the back of my mind, to also impress the musicians I look up to...and do take their reviews and critiques, and work on them...but If it isn't fun, I see no more reason to do it.

In fact, I came close to just gettin rid of everything, and giving up on it...just because...there was always a problem with this, that or the other thing...made composing, recording, very stressfull.....which leads to creativiy blocks.

Anyways, very good rant, enjoyed it much. Hope you find a little more joy in it...

I prefer to just let my mood determine what I play. The "uneducated" ones (myself included) don't really care about the structure, technical stuff etc...if it made them feel what you did...when you made it, then mission accomplished..

Also, this all comes from someone, who doesn't pretend that I will ever be a rockstar or anything...I make it, cause I can..its fun...and if 1 person enjoys it too...great. haha. I guess it depends all on what your plans are, for your music.

Anyways, keep kickin ass, dude. I thoroughly enjoyed your music. :D

(Updated ) NickPerrin responds:

Thanks for the comment. I'm going to edit the rant again, as by "educated" in the sense of the sentence you mentioned from the rant, I didn't necessarily mean "academically educated," I meant "musically educated" which doesn't mean you have to know any theory or anything at all, as long as you're skilled and good etc. After all, hasn't a lot of the best stuff come out of those who never learn the conventions?
Oh and I'll be sure to check out your music to return the favour. Cheers!
EDIT: Forgot to say - for the most part, I don't make music entirely for other people, unless it's a commercial thing. I just want to make excellent music and get it out there. The process of creating such a thing is hugely enjoyable in and of itself, and one can never be satisfied with what they've made!


TheBellmakerTheBellmaker

2008-03-30 22:46:04

I suck...for now...

Dam ur music is really good. Hope I can get as good as u someday and not suck as much as I do now. My problem now is I know what I want to express in my music but I don't now how to fully express it. That is why I suck.

But there is a 5-year gap between us, so I have plently of time to stop sucking.

That was a truly inspirational rant.

(Updated ) NickPerrin responds:

Hey man. Glad you found it inspirational - that was the original intent, but before I edited the rant, it was taken very differently. So yeah good to know.

And to hit you off with some further inspiration - 5 years is time for a lot of growth. As little as 2 or 3 years ago, I never would have IMAGINED writing the pieces I am now, and I still believe that I am nowhere near good enough so will continue to be improving. So with 5 years, who knows what you'll pull off!! Keep it up, and good luck! As you become more versed in the language of music, you'll figure out more and more how to express what you want to express through it. We're all still figuring out how to do it perfectly... And the truth is, I still have miles to go, and often I find that in the face of real composers I really do suck.

Also, audio production is a big new focus of mine as well. It seems that your preferred genre is Techno so I would very highly recommend getting into learning audio production stuff early, it is a hugely complex and nuanced topic, and to have pro-sounding tracks is often a bigger factor in selling your music than the music actually being good! But that's another story. I've started reading magazines that deal with music production, it's a great way to get all the latest info and tips etc. that is all applicable right away.


SolusLunesSolusLunes

2008-03-30 23:49:23

Great rant there- definitely a "kick your ass, get up, and DO something" kind of thing.

You ever thought of being a motivational speaker? Because "You Suck" is a great opening line.

I suck, and this I have known.

But the only answer to that is to get better.

If only to go to the person who said "You Suck", in this case, you, and then point out that "You No Longer Suck."

To which it will often be replied with "Sure, you suck a little less, but You Still Suck."

And so we continue on the cycle with the first person either getting tired of the pestering questions, or genuine non-Suck, and are graced with "You Actually Don't Suck."

And this is why reviews tearing apart songs that You Thought Were Good is the best kind. :D

What a brilliant rant. It Doesn't Entirely Suck.

NickPerrin responds:

Haha thanks man, great response.
Before I edited it, people didn't think it was so brilliant, I got a good deal of criticism actually haha...
Cheers


MJTTOMBMJTTOMB

2008-03-31 06:25:40

I'm surprised to say I agree with you.

BUT, I don't doubt that after another 3 years of h.s. music composition classes and then a graduate degree in music, I might have the chops to bring in a paycheck every month.

I'm not the kind of person who has a musical ego. I acknowledge in less harsh terms that you that my music is not anywhere near the level of a professional. I mean, from having been introduced to music just over one year ago, and teaching myself theory, and then having theory classes to take afterwards, i don't think I'm too bad, but mean, a local high school's orchestra has asked me to compose a few pieces for them, in case they want to use them in concert, so I guess I'm ok for my age.

And I do believe that you have it completely wrong, about people sucking. Some people will be better at some things than others. You can't pit two pieces of music against each other and objectively say which is better. It's all subjective.

My final note is that anyone can become a great musician. If you have a passion for music, no matter how little fame and fortune you see from it, you and your music will always have something that worthless shitballs like souldja boy have.


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2008-04-02 19:50:57

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NickPerrin responds:

Quite an overwhelming response. Um, thanks!


Kid2WillKid2Will

2008-04-05 21:27:10

I agree that anyone who picks up FL Studio or some other music program 'can' within a year, or shorter depending on the person. Make music that competes with some of the most popular songs on NG.

But popularity is usually not based on skill, or how good the song actully is.
but more on how that person was able to advertise his/her music, and or how good the flash submission was that caught everyones attention.

But yeah, everyone does pretty much suck, and those who "don't" are no long posting to NG.

I create music because its a hobby and I constantly listen to my own, whenever I'm bored or playing video games.

(Updated ) NickPerrin responds:

What I'm saying with this rant is that even if you think you don't suck, or you think there are some who don't suck - they still do, in a way. What I mean is that you can always be constantly improving, and just because you're very good does not mean you should think that way all the time. All it takes to put myself in place is a good listen to the artists (not just NG ones) who I consider the masters of the genres I'm currently composing, and I realize how much farther I still have to go.

I don't mean this rant as an insult to the NG users.
That would be a whole 'nother rant, haha.
I mean it to EVERYONE of ALL skill levels, and I'm not talking about popularity! As you said, popularity is meaningless with regards to musical integrity.


joliet-janejoliet-jane

2008-04-14 19:35:44

I never realized how musically dumb I was until I saw clips of Howard Goodall's TV programs "Music Works," "20th century Greats," and "Big Bangs" (which I read the accompanying book of).

In these, he explains some really important and complicated musical concepts in ways that laypeople can understand. Look for his name on youtube.

NickPerrin responds:

Hey, big thanks for the reference! I'm checking out the videos now.

And you make a great point. Most people are REALLY musically dumb, moreso than you can even imagine, and the current mainstream music culture doesn't help this at all, this is a big part of what my rant was trying to get across.
Thanks again, keep the music flowing...


EsnEsn

2008-05-11 04:14:01

You're absolutely right! (and there was no need for those three paragraphs of trying to avoid hurting people's feelings at the end of that)

Whenever I finish a piece, I always think it's the best I can do, and that feeling persists for quite a while after. Yet sometimes (and this just happened recently), I "surface through the mud" for a little while and suddenly I can't believe how bad my compositions are. As I said, this just happened recently, yet I don't know WHY they're bad (just as a typical listener can't explain why something is bad, because he doesn't know).

I've had precious few helpful reviews here on Newgrounds, and nearly none from anyone who's much better than me. And my classes at university aren't much better; all I get (all everyone gets) are a few succinct notes per composition. I get the feeling that the prof sees so much suckage that he just doesn't know where to start, and resorts to giving a "good" grade and a few not-very-helpful comments.

So I'd like to ask you - seeing as you're definitely much better than me - to please review my compositions and TELL ME HOW MUCH THEY SUCK. I mean that seriously. Mince no words, but tell me WHY too. Pretty please? :)

NickPerrin responds:

Hey man. Thanks for understanding this rant fully! It's so true what you said. We make a piece, think it's good, upload it, then later realize how much farther we have to go. No matter what skill level we're at.

I'll check out your compositions and do my best to be honest! Soon enough, anyway, I am very busy right now but will definitely get around to it.


ReachgroundReachground

2008-05-18 16:15:00

The highest reward from making music is the time when everything dissapears and it's just me and the creation. If you're anything like me you know what I mean. At that point, suck or don't suck doesn't matter. The reward is right there, when you're creating it. Then comes the time when you're supposed to show your piece to the world, that's when the stomache kicks in. Will people like this? Am I good enough?

I tried to fight my low self-esteem, but I've stopped. I've come to realise that that's who I am...and it makes me a better musician. I suck, most of the time, but the time when I don't, I shine so bright that it makes it all worth it.

(Updated ) NickPerrin responds:

I totally understand. Whether it's the process of creating at 3 AM ( "I can't sleep until this song is done!" ) or the process of listening to it and just falling into it... Best part of music right there.

But I've decided that I want to no longer have doubts, or moments where I "suck", and that I want to be the best possible musician I can be, so I've been training myself all across the board to accomplish this. Realistically, I can never eliminate these doubts about my own pieces that appear from time to time, but even in attempting the futile, I am improving myself and my craft, and that is the best thing I could be doing. I am also switching my education/career path into music. As such I also have been learning about the technical/production side of things, and the business side.

As a side-note, I'm not sure your "low self-esteem makes [you] a better musician." But in grappling with personal issues I have found lots of creativity, so maybe it works for you too. They say that depression and other similar stresses increase right brain activity, so who knows? Maybe there is scientific basis after all for the phrase "All great art comes from suffering"....

Keep improving! Sucking is only there to push you forward! Never stop the music!
-- N.P.


Suspended-3rd-ChordSuspended-3rd-Chord

2008-05-25 04:25:25

Hey Nick, I'm just wondering. You've said it personally that you suck, and in the post above me you say that there are times when you have doubts. I'm just curious, what about your music do you possibly see wrong? For instance, I can pick out plenty of flaws in my work- some are that I can't mix at all, I have trouble finishing songs, I have a writers block every other week, and I was making music for a flash game, but I just couldn't do it because I have trouble thinking of a theme and really carrying it out the way it was intended too. Now I don't claim to be a big music buff and I know I suck, but I've listend to A LOT (way more than I should) of the music on the AP, and generally write more in-depth reviews than the average newgrounder (don't mean to say this in a cocky way), so I have a little bit of credibility I assume, and I know there really is no quantitative way of measuring- but you are THE MOST TALENTED composer here, (maybe second to Edgen, but he's an actual professional film scorer) or atleast damn close. music shouldn't be treated as a competition but I'm sure a significant number of people would agree. Sure, you can find a flaw in everything, but with what you have accomplished, wouldnt the pros outweigh the cons to an extreme? I'd assume one of the reasons why professionals can sit down and realize they don't suck is because of their accomplishments, they can look back and see that their projects are succesful. Sorry about this long rambling message, but from an amateur composer I'm curious to know what flaws you find in your music?

(Updated ) NickPerrin responds:

I can already relate to you in terms of finishing songs, having writer's block, and similar issues! I must have ten times as many unfinished songs as I do finished ones!

Issues I find with my music tend to be about the audio production, lack of musical maturity, little niggling problems here and there, having trouble writing songs long enough (I never like to repeat things in a track if I can avoid it!), lack of direction & cohesion, complexity, dynamics.... I could keep writing, but basically the main thing is just that it isn't good enough .... yet. I just go and listen to masterful classical composers or the best film composers, and at a core, foundational level, my composition is still not up to that level, and where that issue comes from is impossible to pinpoint or name, but is why I'm continually working to improve my ability.

You might say it doesn't matter because I'm only really starting out and I'm not there yet, or that old yet etc... but the only way to get there is to work insanely hard on your own skills. And I just feel so unsatisfied when I've made a song, think it's pretty great, then go back a week later to listen to it after a week of listening to true masters and amazing music, and realize how much I *could* be accomplishing with my music, but am not yet. So even if I don't "suck" per se, it's impossible for me to be satisfied like this when I KNOW that I could be doing SO MUCH BETTER!

Yes, there's a possibility I'm insane. XD

Oh and thanks for the MASSIVE compliment in this comment. I think you are an obviously important member of this NG community and I take your comments seriously, so thank you... but I still don't consider myself the best, nor half as good as I hope to be. But your encouragement is great to have. And no need to call yourself "amateur"... I am a fellow amateur as well!

Thanks for the comments!


PhoogPhoog

2008-05-29 16:06:28

Dude haha, My thoughts exactly.
I've been doing this for a year and a half, maybe even 2 years now, and I'm terrible :)

NickPerrin responds:

Hey keep it up! You'll be better before you know it.
What's important though, is not just experience itself, but also experiencing the RIGHT things. Like training yourself in your weak areas, listening to music more critically, constantly composing etc. If you work on it with passion, there are no limits to where you'll go!
Thanks for the comment!


JebbalJebbal

2008-05-31 00:25:10

So true man. When I first looked at how long your post was I thought "Wow I'm not reading all this", but when I started reading it, I couldn't bring myself to stop. Very well written, and I didn't see the original post, but what I just read really gets your point across. You're a very good writer, and composer as well. (No matter how much you think you may 'suck') lol

I love your music, been listening to a bunch of your songs for the last hour or so. :)

NickPerrin responds:

Haha I'm glad you managed to get through it. I wasn't sure if many people would take the time to read it.
Thanks for the comment and compliments on the music! Cheers


LancekatreLancekatre

2008-05-31 08:25:15

That was...um...a rant of EPIC proportions. And it was unbelievably well written.

Considering that I just stumbled upon your work tonight (through one of the submissions on the front page...it's a long story) I'm quite suprised with what I've found. I think you qualify as one of my favorite internet people thus far. Don't worry, it's an exclusive club. Not that you'd care.

On a complete side note, and instead of complimenting your works (because that would be missing the point entirely), where might someone such as myself purchase your 8-bit Philharmonic Album, if it is indeed avaliable for consumer purchase? I googled it. Google ain't got shit.

(Updated ) NickPerrin responds:

I'm glad to be part of that club anyway, haha. Thanks for the thoughts on the rant.

As for the 8-bit Philharmonic album, it is as of yet unfinished.
HOWEVER,
It is being finished up with a release date slated for the end of the summer. So, two/three months down the road, it should be ready, and I will be advertising the album shamelessly everywhere I can including here, so simply stay tuned! The hard part will be getting the photography done for the album covers! I'm also not sure how many copies of the album I should get printed off... 100? 200? 500? Choices choices...

Thanks for the support!