(… just to place the context of the next bit – I’m referring to music composition – although I suppose it could be applied to life in general as well …)
I find that great things happen by planning them out first. Even if a plan is very thorough, things don’t always work out the way you though they would. Sometimes this is a really good thing (a good accident) and sometimes when things go south and off the rails it is a drag (a not-good accident).
From my experience I think the thing to do is to be adaptive and agile (and I know this word is over used but I need to use it here). Good accidents can open up opportunities and present possibilities that are were previously unseen due to self-imposed thinking limitation (i.e. – out of your regular mindset/though process bandwidth). Bad accidents can also do the same (although sometimes the lessons learned can a little aggressively “driven home”).
( … now I just talking about music composition …)
Here’s a summary of the latest happenings:
In trying to come up ideas for music to play live, I actually stumbled on a new way to write music for live performance. Back in the old days (20 years ago) I would go for walks with my little voice recorder and come up with melody ideas and hum them into my little voice recorder. Most of the time this method didn’t really work because even though I had a melody line, I didn’t have the thought process or the inspiration behind it (those were lost when I came back to my apartment and booted up my studio).
It seems that I am much more creatively unbound when I’m not staring down the barrel of a digital studio. I would have thought that it would have worked the other way around, but it doesn’t (at least not for me).
The reason for this I believe is that without technology and armed with just a pen a paper there are no limits. Also with a pen and paper I don’t need to think of programming a synth or what my bass track sounds, etc. All I need to think of is the overall picture. All the complicated esoteric, complicated crap can happen later down the line.
So what I’m writing on the paper when I’m writing music?
Well not notes … not any music theory at all. It’s actually reads like the scene descriptions of a play or movie script. I describe the textual landscape and tempo range and how things change and evolve and the guitar (the main character) is doing.
Again no music theory, it’s all descriptive language about flow and changes of the tune.
I take this written description home and it becomes a sort of road map describing how the tune should “go” and then I build the tune.
I’m starting to use this approach for writing music for live performance more and more.