Tips and Advice #2 Finding the Play

#2 Finding the Play.

One of the things I’ve learnt over my studies is the importance of play and fun in what ever you are doing. This is not to say that the more mundane, and dry tasks aren’t important too, just that enjoyment of what you are doing should  be one of your top priorities.

I don’t mean you should quit your job and go galavanting around the world (unless, of course that is what you really want to do). This is more about finding the fun in what you do already. “Well that’s easy for you to say; you’re in the arts and get to play all day!” Oh contraire! I have just as many task I have to do that I would really rather I didn’t. Bibliographies are my nightmare. Not the research side. Not the listing of sources. But the formatting it exactly as required by the guide. Now I’m not going to give you some rubbish about ‘finding the fun’ in a task such as formatting the bibliography, but not to let it diminish the enjoyment of the work you are doing. Instead, let us focus upon the elements of the work that are enjoyable.

If we were to look at any one of my pieces that require me to roll dice to generate the music or material, I can easily say, and with much emphasis, that I love writing rules, and rolling the dice. Nevertheless, rolling them again and again, sometimes over 3000 times! (see LionHeart1189). Over time this can become  quite a laborious task. Therefore, I turn it into a game with the dice. For example: if you get a string of numbers (say, ‘333’ or even ‘1234’) you can then say that you will eat a jelly bean, or even hop for 5 seconds. This extremely silly, (and let’s not pretend, something that can make people look at you strangely), could give you a little giggle and all without affecting your work.

It doesn’t have to dice related, this is just one example of something I have to contend with in my composition routine (well, as much of a routine as is possible for us creatives).

Another way is to pick something you will enjoy from the get-go. In 2017 as part of my Masters I took an Analysis module. I love analysis, but can find the anything tonality related challenging. As part of my Atychiphobia (fear of failure) I can avoid anything that I believe I would fail at. Instead of letting my fears get the better of me, I chose to utilise the tonal forms of analysis on music I enjoy. The first was an analysis of One Summer’s Day by Joe Hisaishi from Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away; a favourite film of mine. The second assignment was a presentation in which I analysed the thematic content of Murray Gold’s I Am The Doctor from BBC’s Doctor Who; for those that know me well, or even those that have met me in passing, it should come to no surprise that I am a massive Whovian.

Adding these elements did not diminish my enjoyment of the show* or film, but rather enhanced something I was apprehensive of.

My task for you now, is to find or add that element of fun to a task you are not looking forward to. In fact I have already thought of a way to find some fun in the bibliography task… adapting the ‘dice’ challenge, I could count every time a letter appears, (‘y’ for example), then eat that many sweets (small ones) after I’ve submitted or emailed the document.

– Jason Hodgson (17th September 2018)

*I am currently typing this while watching the final stages of my Doctor Who Marathon ready for the 11th Series (or 37th Season).

Don’t forget to share this blog.

You can find me on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JasonHComposer
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JasonHComposer
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/jason-hodgson
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/JasonMusicallyMe (I’m working on changing this URL, but to do so I need at least 100 subscriber. Which is where you lovely readers can help by pressing the subscribe button).

Tips and Advice #1 Learn How to Fail

#1 Learn How to Fail.

In addition to Aspergers Syndrome, I have a clinical diagnosis of Atychiphobia or, to put it another way, a fear of failure. Therefore failing is not just an uncomfortable thing for me to endure, it is something I will avoid at all costs. The irony is that by avoiding the potential success, I fail anyway.

So instead of hiding away from failure, complete the task anyway.

Of course, if it’s going to bankrupt you or potentially kill you; Stop doing it immediately! On the other hand, if the worst that is going to happen is that you are going to fail at the task; Continue and complete. Once completed, you can either sulk about it not succeeding, or look for a way to use it for future success.

Before I composed A Mummer’s Farce, I attempted another percussion piece called ‘this is a joke’ to submit for the COMA Summer School in 2014. It was terrible. There was no rhythm. The ‘joke’ was far too hidden to even be funny. There was many a problem with the piece itself.

The success on the other hand, was how I presented it. Ok, so it was no masterpiece, but it gave me an opportunity to build a connection with the percussionist who was workshopping the submitted scores. If I had sulked after I discovered that the piece did not translate from paper into the real world, I would not have made a good impression on someone who has given me guidance since. Instead, I talked to him about my process, and tried to figure out how and where it went wrong (turns out that it was because I took the Binary code I used too literally).

Because I didn’t sulk and let it get me down, I now have two pieces performed  by Chris Brannick (the second being LionHeart1189).

It’s not an easy thing to do, but since I started learning how to fail I have never been so relaxed with my studies. Sure, there may be a chance that I could fail my Masters. But I could either aim for failure, or aim for success. Which one sounds better to you? In addition, along the way I could use it as a way to learn new compositional techniques, that way even if I do fail the course, I won’t be failing overall.

If I had not learnt how to fail, I would not have succeeded in my Creative Project, which required me to break toys to create an instrument. Failure was inherently built into that project.

– Jason Hodgson (24th August 2017)

P.S. Based on my marks from the first year, I am fairly confident that I’m not going to fail.

Don’t forget to share this blog.

You can find me on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JasonHComposer
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JasonHComposer
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/jason-hodgson
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/JasonMusicallyMe (I’m working on changing this URL, but to do so I need at least 100 subscriber. Which is where you lovely readers can help by pressing the subscribe button).

Read More