Confession day

February 12, 2009

When I teach a music theory class for a year, that is about 60 lectures over an academic year, I figure that I can devote one lecture to whatever I wish, and usually it’s me. The Roger Bourland show.

Today we had The Roger Bourland show. I’m not sure what it is that makes me want to confess various failures, successes, and stories, about my musical life with bits of career advice, peppered in. I suppose that if there is one little helpful or amusing piece of information that moves, or is helpful to a student, then it’s worthwhile. Otherwise, it’s a day they get to listen to music by their nerdy professor.

I confessed my roots, what my musical influences were growing up, my earliest musical decisions, and the decision to become a music major in college; how I got along with other musicians while in college and a few amusing stories about my love life (seemingly off-topic, but pertinent to the music I later wrote).

I played some ugly music I had written. I played some gorgeous music I had written. I told them how music can indeed change lives. I told them about forming my music publishing company. I confessed to be terrible at promoting my own music. (“I love to compose it, and get it performed; and then I move on.”)

I encouraged young composers and performers to work together, but most importantly, learn from each other.

I told them if they were in love with a person who is jealous or intolerant of their obsession with music, DON’T MARRY THEM.

I warned them of prejudice: “People can find a million reasons to be prejudiced against you. Never be ashamed of who you are, or how you look, or how short you are, or…”

It is a vulnerable act — all that confessing — and I feel a bit raw going over it. My day didn’t stop there, after lunch, a graduate student filmed an interview with me, asking lots of probing composerly questions, largely issues brought up on this blog. We both enjoyed the volley of question and answer. And after a meeting and a lesson, I got to go home, play with the dogs, do a post to my blog [this], and now, back to work on my secret commission.

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