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[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?
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