This semester, I’m conducting an independent study called “An Ethnography of the Creative Habits of Music Majors”. In non-academic talk, I’m looking into why “classical” musicians don’t write and record their own material. There are some awesome exceptions to this rule for sure (Time for Three, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, etc.), but, for the most part, none of my friends in music school write music unless they are composition majors, or they’re being forced to for theory or aural skills. I’m off on an adventure to find out why this might be.
The most successful musicians today write their own material. Ed Sheeran, Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift, and Adele all do. If you take a look back at history, the Springsteens and Sheerans of the day were called Beethoven, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, and Paganini. These guys all were masters at their instruments. All of their music that they wrote for their instruments were for them to play. We remember them now as great composers, but we sometimes forget that they were performers first.
So while I do this study, I’m going to not be a hypocrite and challenge myself to write a short piece every week. Here’s the first one!