Opus 1

My first piece, ‘Onwards‘, is finally complete. Two days ago, I spent hours rushing to get it finished before my self-imposed deadline. The end result is a long way off from perfect, but for a first attempt, it’s close enough to what I wanted to express.

If I learnt something in the last few hours of working on ‘Onwards’, it’s that you should always listen to your music with every device you own before you declare it finished. I wasted about 2 hours nitpicking my mix on my computer. Once I rendered it and sent it to my phone, I realised that it sounded terrible.

I panicked. Since I have no way of running Reaper on my phone, I had to go back and forth between devices; I’d listen to a rendered file on my phone, go back to my computer and make changes, then render it and move the new file to my phone. It was a time-consuming, tedious process.

But there are still plenty of changes I need to make to the mix, as Crystal commented. I think I’ll work on those sporadically. I really want to start working on my second composition—not just because I want to immerse myself in a fresh project, but also because I suspect that I can learn most about composing by writing lots of different pieces.

My music may not be objectively good right now, but I’m still glad I decided to compose when I did. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can progress and succeed (or so I hope).

2 thoughts on “Opus 1

  1. Exactly! I prefer the leave one project alone when it’s done, move on to another to learn new things method, but that’s just me. I’ve never been one to bounce from one device to another to check the final mix, but I’ve seen a lot of people say that’s a good method to use. I usually just listen with headphones on my computer, then listen on my computer through speakers and that works well enough, but I may try listening on a portable device as well to see how that sounds.

    I feel your pain with having to render a ton of different files to check levels. I always wind up with like, six files with minor volume fixes before the seventh one is at a level I like.

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    • Sorry for the late reply, Crystal. Rendering my own music has made me realise how important headphones are. I always knew they mattered, but now I really want more headphones. Apparently, the more listening devices you test your music with, the better the final product will be.

      I’m moving on to another project partly to shun perfectionism. I like the idea of leaving a flawed mix on SoundCloud—it’s my way of reminding myself that this is a hobby for me. It’s not that I don’t care about music. It’s just that I know that I tend to be self-critical, and I want to stay focused on the big picture, like composing experience, rather than the imperfections in my first composition. Thank you for your encouragement and feedback!

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