Working with a composer is simple. Bottom line, we want to make people happy. We create because we must. It’s a desire that burns deep within us. And we love it when people like our music; especially the ones who are paying us!
Here are 3 things to consider when working with a composer.
1. Be Open
You may know what you want exactly.
You want the melody to sound reminiscent of Frodo’s theme from The Lord of the Rings, strings to enter exactly at the 2-minute mark, and horns to follow shortly after that. It’s great that you have you’ve put so much thought into the music before reaching out to a composer, but remember that you’re reaching out to him.
Many things will inspire him, such as the intent of the commission – is it a gift for a loved one, is it commemorating a special event, etc. Don’t stifle his creativity and personal touch by offering too many compositional details. The final product will breathe with more genuine artist expression if he’s allowed freedom to do what he does best. Composers love adjectives. Words like joyful, sad, moody, melancholy, bright, and dark, help point us in the right direction.
2. Be Honest
Be honest about what you like or don’t like early (and I emphasize early) in the process. I invite clients to listen to the main themes and ideas once the first minute is composed. Some give me absolute freedom and choose not to hear anything until the music is complete. The latter approach often gives way to a more genuine artistic expression, but both work. Just go with what makes you feel comfortable.
Bottom line – be honest. As they say, honesty is the best policy (or something like that).
3. Be Considerate
Some composers do not allow clients to hear a piece of music until it’s finished. Others invite them in on the compositional process. I tend to like feedback early in the process. I don’t like changing too many things once I’ve finished a composition.
Asking me to switch the main theme from violin to flute in the middle of the piece doesn’t affect the music too much since these instruments occupy the same range (they’re both high). But switching the main theme from violin to cello may throw the entire section off kilter since these instruments occupy different ranges. The latter request is unreasonable once a piece is near completion.
Composers love collaboration. They’re some of the kindest people on the planet and love making people happy! These three things will help ensure the collaborative process is smooth and gives way to a well-crafted, meaningful piece of music that honors the client, composer, and intended recipient(s).
Thanks for taking the time to read this post!