Common Problems Many Students Share

Posted By: ryan On:

Photo by Pleuntje

Over the years I have taught aspiring composers across every range of education and skill level. Even from the hobbyists to the professionals there are certain issues that come up remarkably often. Here is a list of some of the most common problems I’ve found composers face.

  • Good at coming up with ideas, but don’t know what to do with them.
  • Getting bored with their own ideas, and thus moving through them too quickly.
  • Too many different ideas in the same piece.
  • Introducing new ideas near the end of the piece, when they should be heading towards a conclusion.
  • Not enough cadences. This means not taking the time to complete a thought but just rambling on and on from one thought to the next. A cadence just means a punctuation mark, it doesn’t have to be a formal harmonic progression.
  • Throwing elements into the orchestration because they think they have to (drum loops, big thick whole not pads).
  • Following an orchestration pattern religiously (ie. always having melody, rythym and chords) without variety.
  • Not listening to their music to really appreciate the impact. Eg. Intending a drum hit to be big and loud without really considering if it really is! They imagine it being loud so they ignore the reality.
  • Impatience. Not letting certain ideas merely exist for a period of time before moving on.

Which of these problems resonates with you? What would you like me to explore further in depth in future posts?

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