Thinking Out Loud – Working to Get Back to Where You Started

I wanted to share this story in continuation with the idea of “if you didn’t do it on purpose, does that mean it has less of the value?”

Now, this subject is: “if you didn’t have the education for it, does it mean it has less value?”

Anyways, where I was just out of high school and applying for colleges, I was beginning to composing some original pieces. I had two years of theory training, so I understood the basics. However, there was still a lot for me to learn and understand when it came to writing music.

During one of the college auditions, I got to sit down with a professor of composition and show him the stuff I have been writing. While impressed by the fact that I had a portfolio to show – he wasn’t too keen on how I started the first chord on measure 1 with in first inversion. He felt like this tarnished the piece and made the harmony weak… therefore making my compositional skills like inadequate.

Years later, I can now say that I am more educated than where I was back then in high school. However, it now seems that if I was to put my first chord in first inversion, people would look at that as a stroke of experimental genius.

What gives?!?

Do I really need an education, a degree, or some approval to justify my composition? Why was my portfolio any less “art” than what it is now? And why should it be for anyone else?

Simply, do we as a society judge and evaluate a person’s compositional skills based on their background? That if you weren’t trained, it’s luck; but if you had education, it is genius?

Just thinking out loud.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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