Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Maxims for Young Musicians; Music Software

In addition to being a fabulous composer, Robert Schumann was quite the writer. His journal, 'Neue Zeitschrift der Musik,' played advocate to many of the great composers of his day including Chopin and Brahms. A growing mental instability throughout his life finally turned into insanity, and Schumann had to be institutionalized. He died in 1856 at the age of 46. What follows are a couple of the many thoughts he had for the aspiring young musician.

"Play in time! the playing of some virtuosos resembles the walk of a drunken man. Do not make these your models."
"Always play as though a master were present."
"You must reach the point where you can hear the music from the printed page."
"Try to play easy pieces well; it is better than to play difficult ones poorly."
"To play overmuch in society is more injurious than advantageous. Study your audience; yet never play anything of which in your own heart you feel ashamed."

For more of Schumann's thoughts check out his book, 'On Music and Musicians,' by Robert Schumann. Edited by Konrad Wolff. Translated by Paul Rosenfeld. Published by McGraw-Hill Book Company.

As a modern-day composer, I have the advantage of the computer to help me turn out music very quickly that is quite legible. There are several computer software programs that allow you to do this: Encore, Finale, and Notion. One of the programs that I've found really useful is Sibelius. Created by twin brothers that live in Europe, Sibelius has been used by composers everywhere to make our lives less traumatic. I used this program to write 'Reason to Rhyme' and I've taught all-day classes on it at the Community School of Music and Arts. For more information on this piece of software go to: http://www.sibelius.com.

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