When I quit my job in May 2016, I had reached critical mass. I was playing so many gigs on top of my day job that I was actually able to pay my bills off of music money. I was so busy I didn’t have any time to take on more projects. This is the situation you want to be in when you make the decision to quit your job for music, right?
Well, several months after I quit I began to have a very inconvenient realization. All the different aspects of gigging began to wear on me: traveling, hauling gear, setting up, breaking down, playing for apathetic audiences, dealing with drunks, dealing with bandmates, fronting the band on stage. I was fucking exhausted, and it led me to realize that gigging wasn’t for me—an unsettling realization for someone who quit their day job to do music full-time.
So I had to adjust and figure out what is was I wanted to do with music.
After a lot of contemplation, I figured out that what I loved, as I’ve mentioned in my blog before, was writing music. The moments when I write a pretty melody or an interesting chord progression give me a wonderful, visceral emotion like nothing I’ve ever experienced. When I’m composing, hours go by in the blink of an eye. It gives my life a sense of purpose, it gives me a sense of contributing to something greater than myself.
With this newfound realization, I had to adjust my plan accordingly. I tried to find paying gigs for composing music, but it was difficult as I had virtually zero experience in audio production. In other words, I couldn’t bring my compositions to life, which meant I couldn’t convince anyone to hire me. And why would they?
Even now that I have experience, I’ve yet to win a well-paying gig. There always seems to be someone out there who gives the client the exact style they’re looking for, and I’m left searching for another project.
That’s when I decided that if writing music was going to be my thing, I needed to go learn from professionals who do it for a living. Thus my decision to return to school.
This finally brings us to 2017, which was when I started my first semester back at school in January 2017. After a lot of class and hard work, my career looks brighter than ever before, and, perhaps most importantly, it feels like I’m on the right path. That’s something I could never say about my hardcore gigging days.
As of the end of 2017, I’m only two semesters away from getting my second bachelor’s degree, a B.A. in Music from the College of Charleston; I’ve finished my first classical instrumental piece and I’ve had 3 performances of concert works and two of them were world premieres.
My only disappointment is that I set a goal of finishing 16 pieces at the beginning of 2017 and I only managed to finish 12, the latest being my arrangement of Deck the Halls pinned to the top of the post (based on the SATB version by James McKelvy). I can live with coming up 4 pieces short, though, because I’m going to school full-time and working part-time. Next year, I’ll shoot for 16 and see what happens.
To an even better 2018,