Music teachers are busy. I don’t need to go into all the reasons why… just take my word for it! So it is a shame that music teachers, who should be engaging with their creative sides as much as possible, are often so caught up with admin and managing a large number of classes and a whole co-curricular programme.
I have felt the pressure of the job, and have neglected my own creativity. While I regularly perform on my instruments with my students, I have found it very hard to spend anytime composing.
So, this year I’ve decided to do something about it and engaged in a Film Composition course through Berklee University.
This has been a 12-week course in which you analyse different genres of film music composition such as love themes, high intensity action, supernatural/grandeur, sad themes, etc
In addition to analysis, completion of short pre-tasks and quizzes on music theory you have to compose music for a 2-3 minute film clip each week.
In a busy work life at school this has been tough. But, it’s been awesome. I’ve found the following benefits:
- My students hugely respect that I take my own learning and growth seriously
- My students appreciate that I’m not asking them to do anything in a week that I’m not prepared to do myself
- I have been forced to put admin aside to focus on creativity
- I have gained confidence to share my own work
- I am better able to demonstrate to my students the creative process involved with composition
- I now have a bunch of great templates in Logic Pro which I can share with my students as they do their own film composition tasks
- I have massively improved my MIDI sequencing chops in Logic Pro
- I have finally got my head around some of the amazing possibilities of what you can do with my sample libraries
Composing a new piece of music that sounds great for 12 weeks in a row is tough. However, I’ve been fortunate to have the following tools and software at my disposal:
Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol
Native Instruments Komplete 11
Project Sam Symphobia 1 & 2 and Lumina Sample libraries
Spitfire Audio Orchestra collection
Roli controller and it’s Equator Synth
Well, I suppose you want to hear a bit of what I’ve done. Here is my demo reel from the course. I’ve included short excerpts from five of my 12 compositions in the following genres:
- Love theme – Sense & Sensibility ‘kiss’ scene
- Action – trailer for Troy
- Fantasy – from Once Upon A Time
- Suspense – Iron Man (when Tony Stark is captured)
- Action/suspense – 2012 deleted scene
The clips don’t make sense all the time with the dialogue and SFX removed (as well as being unable to see the pictures I was composing to) but it gives a good impression of what I’ve been up to.
2 thoughts on “The importance of being creative”
Nice reflection Duncan and awesome to see you truly modeling being a “life long learner” to your students. It’s something that’s is easier to talk about that than actually do!
Interesting to see your reflections on admin vs creativity. I blogged about this last week for senior leadership and the challenge between vision and strategy vs admin work:
Another HoD suggested the same challenges exist at middle management level too and your post seems to reinforce that observation.
Thanks for sharing your blog post.
Yes! Teachers do need to attend to their creative needs. I am happy this course has been so beneficial for you in so many ways. This will obviously impact your teaching, but more than that, your own sense of doing something for yourself as teachers are generally always giving out. Yay you! 🙂