As they tend to, the weeks have flown by since the last-minute push for the project launch on the Fourth of July. They've been fun weeks, and even involved some musical progress on a few fronts. That said, some of the challenges ahead -- and some ideas for addressing them -- are coming into focus.
For most independent musicians, i think the real trick of the art is fitting it into "real life". In addition to the ubiquitously looming demands of the day job, there are often family and household priorities to juggle. When we do the subtraction, most of us find perhaps a few precious hours a week -- if that -- to devote to creative endeavors. With the launch behind me, making new music is all about working around this shortage.
Fortunately, looking at some past experience may be of service on this front.
For most of North's earlier years, band activity was largely scheduled on an "as-needed" basis. At the time, our busy life schedules suggested that ensemble time was best justified by an upcoming show or recording effort. However, as i became a parent, the new demands on my time provided a different perspective. I realized that if i didn't make music a priority, it would likely disappear entirely. I proposed to my bandmates that we purposefully book a regular weekly rehearsal to ensure that -- by default -- there was time set aside for music.
Thankfully, they were supportive, and the results were pleasantly surprising. Despite larger outside time demands, North actually ended up doing more than we did before. In addition to tightening the ensemble, the regular practices inspired greater individual musicianship and creativity. Coupled with a well-timed series of small, self-produced performances (much love and credit to Oz's), they led us down a slow but steady path through some of our best years.
When i look at music in my life now, i see familiar concerns about time. Applying what North taught me suggests that some kind of regular dedicated time might be a big key to keeping this new project healthy. Of course, there's no longer a band of partners counting on me to stick to it, nor a string of performances to serve as milestones. To offset these missing factors, i flash back to the simple tools cited in my first blog entry: goals and deadlines.
I know what you're thinking, because i'm thinking it, too. These are the most obvious, no-brainer ideas in the world! Anyone trying to accomplish anything knows to use scheduling, goals, and deadlines to stay on track. ... right?
Well, yes, of course. ... and no. While these basic organizational elements are clear within contexts like work, school, or parenting, they're all too easy to forget when we finally get a moment to ourselves with a guitar or a song idea. In fact, after a typical long day, they might be the last thing on our minds. I, for one, need to be reminded of how important these elements can be to creative endeavors. For me, applying them to my current typical-long-day schedule is the next step.
After that, we get into the next challenge: deciding what types of productions to work toward first. ... which is where all of you come in.