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Write It Down

If you don't want to forget it, write it down.

How many times have we heard that statement?

It's good advice for a lot of things. For buying groceries, for example -- so you don't go to the store to get one important item, get distracted by those other things you see that you really should pick up, then make your purchases, get home, and find . . . you forgot that one thing you meant to get.

I have also found, as a musician/teacher who loves to compose, that it's a great idea to write down the tunes, all your own, that spring from your imagination.

One night several months ago I dreamed that I was composing a solo piano piece. A melody, along with some harmony and a rhythmic framework, formed as the dream went on.

When I awoke, the tune lingered somewhat in my mind, but new thoughts -- everything (non-musical) I needed to accomplish that day -- flooded my consciousness. Instead of immediately heading to the piano to write down the music in my head, I chose the practical over the creative, and launched into my usual routine, deciding to save the composing for later.

Except when I did get to the piano, hours later, the memory of my composition had regrettably faded to little more than a few vague fragments.

Do you ever get music in your head, music that's never been written or played by another living soul?

Write it down.

Without delay.

This is why I teach composition. To foster creativity is such an important part of piano study because it allows the player to work from the inside out. Instead of always interpreting what's on the outside -- someone else's creation.

Both have value, of course: composing, as well as playing others' works. Each assists the other, in ways I'll explore more in future posts.

For now, remember to let the music flow from your imagination. It's a good thing.

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