This semester has been a mad rush from beginning to end, and now that I am almost done and have a few days to catch my breath before exams, I am able to begin to process everything that has happened.
It has sure been an amazing semester. Great classes and ensembles at UM. Commissions, performances, new friends...I couldn't ask for better opportunities. I wrote a 20-minute concerto for bass trombone, a brass quintet, and a concert band piece. I have done a lot of great work.
But I have also come to realize in a more vivid way over the last semester how much room I have to grow as a composer. (I know. Not something I should be saying on my website. But there it is.) As much as I am well grounded in what I do, I need to continue to better my means of expressing myself. I can never be content to remain on my current level. I will always have something deeper and more important to express, and each piece willl present new challenges, both practical and mental. In light of this, now that things are slowing down, I have a few goals for the summer.
1-Refine my method. I need to work towards more of a methodical approach to the assembling of whatever ideas I have. Not just in the concept of form, but also in regards to rhythm, dynamic contour, and actual melodic shaping.
2-Practice new techniques. This is a tough one for me. I don't want my music to be "experimetal", but I need to experiment to develop. Thus, I must write music that is not for the public, but just for me. Also, I must work at this musit as much as I would a commissioned composition, to find my voice in the new methods.
3-Scale back. I need to practice the little things...writing a solo paino work, or something easy to play, or something short. This is the only way I can gain confidence writing for larger ensembles, and doing it well.
So it looks like I have my work cut out for me this summer!