Weekly Musings No. 6 Happy New Years. Death to the School Mentality

As a composer, I am often hit with this desire to neglect the idea of a steady pace but pursue with a rush last minute mentality.  I can’t speak for other disciplines and skills but I find myself thinking, “it won’t take that long. I can get it done in a couple of hours, or at most three days.” Most times this works, with varying degrees of success. But I find it to be a real challenge to be focused throughout the entire process of music creation, from idea to well-crafted masterpiece.  This is especially true when I start with a blank canvas.  So I guess if I were to make a New Year’s Plan, it would be to get out of what I call the school mentality.

The school mentality is the belief that any project has to be completed no later than four months. This project could be term papers, portfolios, and of course music composition.  Admittedly, four months is a long time however, the problem arises when you are placed in a non-school setting. In school, you are there to learn how to do things and hopefully learn to think critically, you’re time can be divested almost solely on your project, with other classes on top of those. This is a great thing, focusing on developing a skill or craft with goals and deadlines. When out of school, your perceived sense of time is altered in a way that drastically different from reality.  I don’t know if this is true in other disciplines, but in the Fine Arts, time can easily be distorted.

For example, In four months I have to have at least one well-thought composition definitive of my skills currently, on top of my other responsibilities. This is good for when you are learning about pacing and managing the time you have. After spending years learning how to manage a four-month deadline, it becomes difficult to think beyond four-month completion cycles. This makes it daunting to perceive a reality where after school there is not a hard deadline. Projects could take eight months or even up to three years. You have a life filled with deadlines that entrepreneurs, musicians, composers, and artists have to often time create for themselves. I find this disconcerting at times. It means that life does not have to be lived semesterly cycles. It means that my time management skills if I learned or developed any, has to make adjustments for a 100k marathon instead of the 5k or even 10k marathon.

I still have one and a half years to make this transition from the boxed in school mentality, but it makes it difficult to imagine how to conceive of a time where there are not the constraints of school. This is especially true if you been in a school since the age of five. My major goal for 2018 is to learn how to think outside of school and increase my compacity to be able to create my own deadlines and learn how to live a post-school life while still being in school.

TL : DR School Life and Real Life have two completely different time-worlds. When I think about writing music It is difficult to imagine a time where I am writing music outside of school. My goal for 2018 is to be able to conceive an idea of what life is like after school while still in school.