The wake-up call which we perhaps all need, from Frank Griffith . Frank turns his attention to the inadequacy of just having good intentions, to failures in communication, and the clear and ever-present danger of displacement activity.
Don’t get it right. Get it written!
I believe that due to todays’ multitude of ways of communication- talking, phoning, texting, email, surfing, etc, in many cases communication is less effective overall. This is because many of these mediums are flawed and lead to miscommunication or lack of it. For instance, many younger people of the cyber-age have little or any experience on posting an item via snail mail. They will insist on sending the same item via email or IPhone or whatever and in many cases that might be fine. There are an equal amount of times though when an MP3 or attachment won’t take and this will invariably be followed by a lengthy phone call explaining how it should have worked. All a complete waste of time of course, as this often digresses into fruitless arguments or explanations that DO NOT solve the problem- but reveal more about exposing people’s irrationalities and/or egos (“When did you send it? What kind of computer? I told you I was right”). Huge waste of time.
Post the damn thing to me- strike or no strike!
Another bit of compositional clownery I often get from students and colleagues is “well, I haven’t had a chance to write anything out yet but I have the whole thing in my head”. Well guess what, Sunshine- I’m not in your head! And am quite happy not to be, either. Give me two pages of inscrutable scribblings on A4 paper and call me in the morning. I often quote novelist E M Forster’s line “I don’t know what I am thinking until I’ve seen what I written” By actually writing something down (even a loose sketch of what the different sections of a piece might include) one has gone just far out enough on a limb to begin making some kind of sense and headway. If this information just stays cooped up in one’s head then the risk of it actually taking shape or becoming a reality has yet to happen.
A former teacher of mine, the late arranger/composer Bill Finegan, had a particular student who would often verbally froth on to him about this great epic piece he was going to write and after a few of these regalings Bill asked him to shut up and please produce the noted parchment. His reason being that the longer one talks about something- regardless of what it is- their piece, novel, wedding or divorce plans, or sorting the garden- the lower the chance of anything actually getting done. Part of the reason being that if you talk too much about your piece, that replaces you having to write it. Simple as that- one or the other. He also believed that the reason writers arranged things (popular songs of the day,etc) was because they wanted to hear things “their way”. If you have those skills and a decent band to play them then what a great way to achieve a fantasy. Now get writing!