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Music and writing: motivations intrinsic and extrinsic

March 3, 2020

Over the past few weeks I have been thinking about the complicated relationship to my YouTube channel and my music. On the one hand, I chafe against the suggestions of YouTube advice coaches to craft with a value proposition for a target audience in mind — I want to cover the music that I want to cover, in the style I want to cover, without really thinking about what would be most palatable or what would appeal to the most people.

…on the other hand, I am not playing for myself. So, I struggle with the poor performance of covers that in all honesty I should have realized wouldn’t perform that well with “the algorithm,” or with a general audience.

So, there I am stuck, wondering if I actually enjoy music at all.

Obviously, that’s nonsense. Even though I get very mopey and discouraged about the performance of my music, I always go back to it eventually. Even though I dislike practicing, dislike music theory, dislike transcription, dislike like so much of the mechanical process, I like hearing the result of taking compositional ideas from my head and putting them in an aural space.

It’s much easier for me to write in a journal. Even though I haven’t written that much in this blog (or my group blogs) in a while, and to be honest, I haven’t kept very active with my journal, I note that I have much less anxiety about views. (Maybe that isn’t true. I do feel a sense of disappointment when my Wheat & Tares blog posts don’t hit a certain internal hurdle of traffic.)

But here at least….I know there are only a handful of people who are checking their emails and RSS feeds, and my lasting absence has probably been enough to end even that.

…and I am mostly ok with it.

Does this mean I am writing for myself whereas I am not covering music for myself?

I’m not sure if that is completely accurate. After all, there is a difference between a blog here that is published and a journal in my room that is not.

There is a difference between sharing blog posts on my facebook page and…not.

But still, there is a definite difference of attitude and I think that’s interesting.

Maybe it’s that writing is easier for me than transcribing, so the time commitment to jot one of these blog posts is that much less than that required of music? Maybe that means the stakes are accordingly that much lower?


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