I ended last year and started this year using every spare moment to write string quartets. I have had an idea for an album bouncing around in my head for a long time. String quartets are my favorite ensemble to compose for. This connects back to my performing days when larger ensembles were fine, but my time playing violin with quartets, trios and other chamber ensembles was when I had the most enjoyable performance experiences. The music we played brought me so much joy. When my family announced their visit at the beginning of this year from Tasmania with the purpose of seeing me work and meeting my people, I knew I wanted to start the year recording my music with them looking on.
When we spend our time writing music for client-directed projects it is hard to justify, find the time, or even THINK about spending time and money on our own projects. Investing in the creative idea which is brewing away in the backs of our minds. However, a composer on the Joy Music House team, Zoe Lustri, has had a mantra that she’s enthusiastically whipped out at a bunch of recent social events: YOU MUST INVEST IN YOUR ART. She followed that with a simple yet compelling argument: it feels good to do it and even better when you finish it.
The challenge of doing your own music, as opposed to writing for a client, is that you are the boss. You set the boundaries and parameters. You decide what is going to happen and when it is “done”. That’s hard! But so worthwhile.
Recording those quartets with my parents listening on was a precious experience. My mum has always been my musical mentor through all the ups and downs and changes in creative focus. We have made music together since the very beginning. So to have her be there while I explored a new personal musical venture was absolutely wonderful. To start the year hearing these ideas – MY ideas – come out of the instruments of the brilliant players in the room instead of out of my studio speakers with poorly programmed midi…..so great.
Hearing the music performed by real musicians not only confirmed my hopes about the project but also gave me crucial feedback, showed me what wasn’t working and offered plenty of additional ideas. It was like turning on a compositional faucet. I am still buzzing.
Working with the real thing is a masterclass, if you are paying attention.
It is definitely Worth The Money. So, listen to Zoe, and INVEST IN YOUR ART.
Additional information; this was a shared session by Joy Music House. Six composers (Edith Mudge, Zoe Lustri, Hope Thal, Joseph Carrillo and Becca Shack) shared the session, engineered by Brian Taylor of Mix&Track and recorded at Boulevard Recording in Hollywood. Musicians were Lisa Liu, Luanne Homzy, Alma Fernandez and Ro Rowan. JMH will be doing a shared session per quarter. If you are interested in buying in, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.