This January I had set a goal to compose 8 bars per work day. In February I missed that mark — but I got closer. More importantly, my projects are moving ahead on schedule.
Here are the numbers for February:
- Active projects: 3
- Bars composed: 147
- Bars revised: 129
- Bars arranged: 28
- Additional sketch pages written: 15
- Hours spent composing: 22
- Days I composed vs. potential work days: 16/21
- Potential bars composed (@8 bars/day): 168
In addition to the septet, I started work on a children’s song and a hymn arrangement. That last project inspired me to add a new stat — bars arranged, to distinguish it from my creative work (bars written) and my editorial work (bars revised).
A few highlights in these numbers:
- The biggest change in February was a tenfold leap in my revision numbers (up from 17 in January), as my work on the septet has moved from generating material to selecting and refining.
- I went from working on two-thirds of my potential days in January to three-quarters of them this month. It’s progress.
- Perhaps influenced by my writing more days, my average hours composing went up by about 20 minutes a day (1 hour and 23 minutes in February versus 1 hour and 5 minutes in January).
Behind the Numbers
In the 19 hours I spent on the septet in February, it went from being a bunch of disconnected sketches to a piece with a narrative.
Earlier in the month I cataloged the material I liked from January and found I had about 7-minutes worth if played end to end. Still, I wasn’t sure what to do with it.
While riding the bus one evening, it occurred to me that two of my sketches would work really well if I superimposed them. So the next day I did, and the result brought the whole piece into focus.
Working consistently seems to invite such inspiration. There was another day, for instance, when I didn’t feel like working. I nonetheless sat down and just let myself goof off — just to get something done. I soon ended up producing 7 Bartók-esque bars. Though not yet useable, I enjoyed listening to them, and that joy took a slump day and made it encouraging.
I need to finish the septet by April 7 in advance of its premiere on May 8. Essentially, that means I need to complete the score in March so I have time in April to make any last revisions and produce the parts.
Stay tuned for March’s installment to see the showdown of “composing goals vs. looming deadline.”
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