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News, Thoughts, Soapboxes, and/or Essays

Earmarks named finalist in The American Prize

Earmarks has moved from the semifinalist stage of the Chamber Music division of The American Prize to the finalist stage: Read more here: http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2020/04/finalist-composers-instrumental-chamber.html

Inertia

I spent the beginning of the year planning to write a small blog post every day. Well, at least every weekday. I had a backlog of blog ideas, and I posted one every day. Trying to channel my inner Seth Godin. And then I got to January 29.

What happened on January 29 was that I had a grant application due on February 1, and I desperately needed to finish it, having never written a grant application before. So the 29th of January came and went with no post.

And then January 30.

And January 31

And the weekend of February 1st and 2nd.

And so on.

I did post on February 5 about booking travel, written more for my music entrepreneurship than for anyone else, but since then: crickets.

I attribute all of this to inertia: we do the things we’ve been doing. Despite a month of writing short posts, it took one day to derail, because I’ve not been writing a blog for far longer than I have been.

I could connect this to my students, and how they practice.

Or I could look at my own composing.

I took a break during spring break to make sure I could get all my classes online. And that break, combined with several of the projects I mentioned earlier being put on the back burner, my output the past couple of weeks has been slim, and the only thing that has kept me from transitioning from “composer” to “guy who checks his email” has been that the first three hours of my day, every day, are cordoned off as Dedicated Creative Time. Scheduling inertia.

Thinking about my own inertia, paired with teaching fully online for the rest of the semester, has led me to think about the inertia in our music curriculum: What sorts of things are we doing because we’ve always done them that way? Music doesn’t change quickly, but the technology with which we can teach does.

There’s a semi-rant in here about the number of schools wanting to something Eric-Whitacre’s-virtual-choir based, despite the fact that the idea itself is a decade old. A more useful question is “what can I do to escape inertia in how I teach composition in North Dakota and promote new music.”

That’s a separate blog post, which by this rate, I’ll post around July.